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Category Archives: Leadership

Don’t Be a Striking Failure

A woman once came to evangelist Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper,” she said. “I blow up, and then it’s all over.” “So does a shotgun,” Sunday replied, “and look at the damage it leaves behind!”

When you read through the books of Exodus and Numbers, you discover that Moses had a lifetime problem with anger. At the age of 40, he killed a man (Exodus 2:11-12; Acts 7:22-24). At the age of 80, he stormed out of Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger (Exodus 11:8). A few months later, he got fed up with the people of Israel and broke the tablets of the law in an act of uncontrolled fury (Exodus 32:15-19). At the age of 120, he lashed out at the nation of Israel and struck a rock in anger. This last event reveals that unresolved anger erodes character, dishonors God, and leaves lasting and painful consequences (Numbers 20:2-13).

After 40 years of leading the nation of Israel, the constant quarrels and complaints wore Moses down (Numbers 20:1-5). The people complained about the food (too boring), the water (not enough), the travels (too long), and the hardships (too many funerals). Someone once said that listening to complaints is like being stung to death by a mosquito.

Somewhere along the line, Moses stopped listening to God. He sought God’s counsel (5). God’s glory appears (6) and the Lord gives Moses three specific instructions: take your staff, gather the people, and speak to the rock (7-8). Initially, it appears that Moses is going to obey (9). However, after being in God’s presence, seeing his glory, and hearing God’s instructions, Moses deliberately disobeys God’s commands.

Moses becomes resentful and judgmental (10a). He lashes out verbally at the people—“You rebels!” He sets himself up as judge and condemns them.

Moses becomes proud (10b). “Shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” He acts and speaks like he will perform the miracle all by himself.

Moses disobeyed God’s command (11). Instead of speaking to the rock as God instructed, Moses lashes out at the rock and strikes it twice. Even though Moses lost control, God in his grace provides water for the people.

Moses’ disobedience revealed a lack of trust (12a). When you know God’s will and instructions and deliberately move in another direction, you are telling God, “I do not believe your plan is best.” It is unbelief and a lack of faith.

Moses’ actions dishonored God (12b). Through his actions, Moses stole the glory from God and took it for himself. He elevated himself rather than treating God as holy.

Though anger can be forgiven, it may leave lasting and painful consequences (12c). Because of his actions, God tells Moses he will no longer lead the people into the Promised Land. While it sounds like a harsh punishment for one act, it is really the culmination of a lifetime of uncontrolled anger. It also demonstrates that leaders are held to a higher standard.

It is not enough to merely control your anger. You must strengthen your character by committing yourself to obey God at every stage.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on October 8, 2017. It is part of a series of sermons on the life of Moses. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Leadership challenges

When even the lemmings won’t follow, the leader is in big trouble. 😉

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2017 in Fun, Leadership, Non-Sequitur

 

The Character & Habits of a Leader

Further proving the adage that there is nothing new under the sun and the maxim that I get my best ideas from other people … I will be starting Veritas: Church-Based Leadership Development at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, this fall.

Veritas was first developed in 2001 by Tim Jack and myself while we were both serving as associate pastors at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. When I became senior pastor of United Evangelical Free Church in Seattle, I took it with me and implemented it there. It will begin its third generation this fall at FCBC.

Rather than simply being one more program of discipleship, Veritas is a philosophy that seeks to train and equip men and women for leadership in the local church. Veritas aims to help people grow in six broad categories—knowledge of Scripture, understanding of theology, ministry foundations, ministry skills, character development, and life skills development. The purpose statement, “Bringing All to Maturity and Many into Leadership” comes from Colossians 1:28 and Ephesians 4:11-16.

Colossians 1:28 – Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Ephesians 4:11–16 – 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

To understand more about the philosophy, purpose, and goals of Veritas, click on the link to download a copy of the philosophy of leadership development.

The first course we will offer will be The Character & Habits of a Leader. This course is not about management, although the principles discussed will certainly affect how you manage.  It is not about discovering the latest trend, technique, or methodology in leadership, even though it will undoubtedly affect your methods and style of leading.

Instead, this course is about becoming the kind of leader whom others will want to follow. It’s about discovering how God shapes spiritual leaders and then letting him work in your life. It’s about finding God’s plan for your life and following it, as well as learning how to lead others where they need to go.

Whether you are a veteran leader or just beginning your trek, a leadership expert or a novice just beginning to study the subject, this course is your invitation to climb higher and grow deeper.

In this course, we will study the lives of five biblical leaders—Joseph, Moses, David, Nehemiah, and Paul. Our goal will be to discover what character traits are required of mature Christian leaders and how they relate to the task of being a leader in the local church. The course will also help you develop a plan for personal evaluation and the strengthening of character.

Format: Seminar/Independent Study

Meetings: 6 seminar sessions designed to guide and deepen your own research. The class will meet every other week on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30PM, September 11, 25, October 9, 23, November 6, 20.

Instructor: Pastor Mark Wheeler

Assignments: During the course, we will read one book and work together to develop an expanded profile of a biblical leader.

Cost: $20 for the course materials and textbook.

To register, contact Pastor Mark Wheeler at the church (413-592-5353) or send a note to markwheeler@firstcentral.church. Please register by September 4.

Click on the link to download a copy of the course brochure.

 
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Invest in training leaders

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Leadership, Quotes

 

The pressures of leadership

peanuts-head-beagle-decisions

I remember days like this …

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Fun, Leadership, Peanuts

 

Commissioning of Elders, Deacons, & Deaconesses – 2017

During First Central Bible Church‘s annual meeting on January 29, 2017, the congregation affirmed those who would serve as elders, deacons, and deaconesses in the coming year. On Sunday, February 19, we commissioned these leaders. The following was an insert in the bulletin to guide each group and their response during the commissioning. The ceremony served a twofold purpose–(1) It affirmed and commissioned those who serve in these positions of leadership and service; and (2) It reminded the participants and the congregation as to the high calling and the task of each position.

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ELDERS

Doug Dolbow, Stan Kulig, Joe Martin, Doug McVeigh, Pastor Mark Wheeler

The elders serve as shepherds and overseers of the church. They work together to feed, lead, guard, care, and model Christlike character for the flock.

Pastor Elders
Will you strive to meet the character qualities specified for elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1? We will.
Will you willingly shepherd the flock God has entrusted to your care? We will.
Will you teach biblical truth and sound doctrine? We will.
Will you help equip people for service? We will.
Will you lead the church as overseers, supervising and managing the church well, ensuring that all things are done with integrity? We will.
Will you guard the flock against false teachers? We will.
Will you pray for the sick? We will.
Will you serve as examples of Christlike character for the church? We will.
Will you serve together as a team, sharing responsibility for leadership and oversight? We will.
Will you work together to keep the church focused on achieving the purpose God has called us to? We will.
DEACONS

Dan Darcy, Sid Floyd, Dave Johnson (new), Cliff Moran, J Noyes, Joe Trevathan

While the elders have a fixed job description, the deacons have a flexible one. They follow the direction of the elders and serve alongside the deaconesses wherever needed to help meet the practical needs of the church. This allows the elders to focus on the ministries of teaching and prayer.

Pastor Deacons
Will you strive to meet the character qualities specified for deacons in 1 Timothy 3? We will.
Will you follow the direction of the elders and assist them wherever needed? We will.
Will you help the elders in caring for the practical needs of the congregation? We will.
Will you work with the deaconesses to help care for the needs of the congregation? We will.
Will you work with the deaconesses to manage the benevolence fund with integrity and compassion? We will.
DEACONESSES

Lynn Anderson (new), Lois Darcy, Rose Eldridge, Janet Laroche, Karen Martin, Marion Moran, Connie Noyes, Carol Sumler

While the elders have a fixed job description, the deaconesses have a flexible one. They follow the direction of the elders and serve alongside the deacons wherever needed to help meet the practical needs of the church. This allows the elders to focus on the ministries of teaching and prayer.

Pastor Deaconesses
Will you strive to meet the character qualities specified for deaconesses in 1 Timothy 3? We will.
Will you follow the direction of the elders and assist them wherever needed? We will.
Will you help the elders in caring for the practical needs of the congregation? We will.
Will you work with the deacons to help care for the needs of the congregation? We will.
Will you work with the deacons to manage the benevolence fund with integrity and compassion? We will.
CONGREGATION

The congregation is responsible to respect their leaders and submit to their authority. They are to honor those who serve well.

Pastor Congregation
Will you honor the deacons & deaconesses for their service and grant them good standing among you? We will.
Will you obey the elders and joyfully submit to their leadership? We will.
Will you treat the elders with honor and respect since they watch over your souls? We will.
Will you pray that God grants your elders, deacons, & deaconesses a sense of joy as they serve Christ? We will.
 

Elders, Deacons, Deaconesses, & the task of Shepherding First Central Bible Church

The information below was presented to the congregation of First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on February 5. It was designed to better communicate the roles and responsibilities of the elders, deacons, and deaconesses and how we work together to accomplish the task.

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Elders—Doug Dolbow, Stan Kulig, Joe Martin, Doug McVeigh, Pastor Mark Wheeler

The Elders serve as the servant leaders of the church. They share the responsibility of shepherding the flock of God at First Central. The task of the elder includes:

  • Feeding the Flock—Teach biblical truth (Acts 6:1-7); Equip people for service (Ephesians 4:11-16)
  • Leading the Flock—Overseers supervise and manage the church (1 Peter 5:1-2); Manage the finances of the church (Acts 11:29-30; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)
  • Protecting the Flock—Guard against false teachers (Acts 20:28-31)
  • Caring for the Flock—Practical care of the flock’s many diverse needs (Acts 6:1-7); Prayer for the ill (James 5:14)
  • Example for the Flock—Model Christlikeness (1 Timothy 4:12-13; 1 Peter 5:3)
  • Shared leadership—Plurality of elders—collective, shared, or team leadership

Deacons—Dan Darcy, Sid Floyd, Jack Gilbert, Dave Johnson, Cliff Moran, J Noyes, Joe Trevathan

Deaconesses—Lynn Anderson, Lois Darcy, Rose Eldridge, Janet Laroche, Karen Martin, Marion Moran, Connie Noyes, Carol Sumler

While the Elders have a fixed job description, the Deacons and Deaconesses have a flexible job description. They assist the elders in the ministry of the church, serving wherever is needed. Acts 6 shows them caring for practical matters such as ministering to widows.

Shepherding the flock at First Central Bible Church. As a church, our purpose statement is Building a Community to Change the World. We want to take people from where they are to greater maturity in Christ (Colossians 1:28). We want to equip them to use their gifts in service (Ephesians 4:11-16) and to share their faith in a clear, confident manner (Acts 1:8). We want to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) who make disciples (2 Timothy 2:2).

God does not ask one person (pastor, elder, deacon, deaconess) to shoulder this responsibility by themselves. He has asked the body to share the load along with the leaders. Scripture calls us to a “one another” ministry.

At FCBC, we employ a team approach in shepherding the congregation. Our Sunday School classes and small groups play a vital role in our shepherding strategy. In addition to good teaching, you can build relationships where sharing, prayer, and accountability take place. When prayer requests are submitted, a variety of people pray for those needs.

Since not everyone is involved in one of our SS classes or small groups, our deacons and deaconesses then serve as a safety net to ensure no one slips through the cracks.

As you seek to grow in 2017, don’t just attend one of our worship services. Join one of our Sunday School classes and/or small groups. Let people know how to encourage and pray for you. Do the same for them.

Make yourself accountable to those in authority. Allow the leaders and teachers to speak truth into your life. Allow them to help you grow in your knowledge, character, and skills so you can serve and share your faith effectively.

Pray for the staff, elders, deacons, deaconesses, and servants of our church.

Let’s work together to build a community to change the world.