Spiritual leadership in a local church will be functional when the spiritual head is an up-to-the task and he is well connected to the true source of life.
When a spiritual leader carries the life of God in him, he influences the sheep and ignites them without manipulating them. He is functional when he is a known so Christian, a model leader in every respect. Let us look at the word of God to see.
To do this we will closely examine Acts 2: 41-46 and a few other references from the Bible to establish the effect of functional spiritual leadership over a dying church.
Text: Acts 2: 41-47.
1. A Great Commitment to Genuine Salvation vs. 41,47b
This is the basic trait of a true church. The leadership must give attention to the teaching of the true word of God. He must see to the true conversion of the members as a result of genuine repentance.
Note the word “received” it is what they received gladly that showcases the transformation of the heart. The same faith was followed up with baptism. This is very necessary to affirm their boldness to live for Christ in the public.
This is the first stage of revival in a dying church, calling for repentance and leading men to the real joy of salvation. Dear leaders, make sure you follow it up with water Baptism.
2. A Great Commitment to the Teaching of God’s Word vs. 42b,46
Leaders must continually be led to continue in the word. In the early church, the Apostles took the teaching ministry very seriously. I mean the deep teachings of the word of God. This is God’s provision to awaken revival and dramatic growth in the life of the people.
People should be taught precept by precept, line by line. This is one of the reasons why dynamism must be employed in our church discipleship not just going through a course or programme.
This also must not just be left in the land of unbroken or unconquered vessels but someone who is also a disciple. “These were more noblemen than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Dear spiritual leader, may I remind you of the word of Jesus to the Jews that believed in Him “If you continue in my word, you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Paul also affirmed in Acts 20:20, 26-27 – Teaching them the word of God from house to house.
3. A Passionate Commitment to Scriptural Prayers vs.42c Acts 1:14
For a dying church to be revitalized and for a living church to be sustained, there is the need for total commitment to praying according to the Bible. This same truth was followed by the early Apostles when the work of ministry became so elaborate.
There was an evolvement; they major in the word of God and prayer. Dear spiritual leaders, your attention must not be shifted from scriptural praying and you must disciple the church with the same grace.
This brings lasting results and enables the members to continue with the same approach even when the leader is not around. A leader must ask God to raise men like Epaphras and James, the men of prayers.
4. Wholehearted Reverence for God in All Manners vs. 43a&47a
The Apostles led people in the atmosphere of reverence to God and the congregations were not cumbered with what they needed but they continued in the true heart of praise to God. God is honoured when the leader leads with a total heart of simplicity and reverence for God.
Spiritual leader, check the atmosphere of worship with your congregation. Is your worship content and experience dynamic, dialogical and dramatic? Check the atmosphere, and the content and regularly make reviews of your worship sessions.
5. A Great Commitment to Love and Fellowship vs. 44-45
This unique achievement was gained by the early church. Leaders must on a matter of necessity model love and do everything possible to attain togetherness in the church. The early church was in fellowship and strong in love.
Sharing and caring for the less privileged was taken with utmost priority. This could be done through some empowerment programmes, charity pulse and possibly through organizing cooperative society.
The dear leader let us go back to the Bible to bring back the true spirit of fellowship where we genuinely relate as brothers. Leaders, let this begin among you. There could be a day or week called exhibition week for an individual to showcase their professions and skills.
6. A Great Commitment to Oneness of Membership in Christ vs. 46
Leaders, one of the major provisions of Christ for his church is one flock, one shepherd. Frantic efforts must be made to see that the church of God is united and that we relate so closely.
Functional spiritual leaders must be careful of any method, programme and means that divide God’s people rather than uniting them. We must do everything possible to see that the body of Christ is one.
When an assembly is united in the things of the spirit, it is sure that vitality and progress will come upon the body and nothing good shall be impossible to do.
7. A Great Commitment to Evangelism and Follow-up One
The effective way of revitalizing a dying church is patternless evangelism and witness programmes. This must be regular at different dates depending on the ages, environment and group to be reached.
There could also be in reached evangelism for the member within by organizing in-door revival preaching programmes.
All these must be properly followed up through personal and team visitation by the leader. When a new member is added to the church through whatever means, there must be corresponding calls and follow-ups by the leaders.
It will equally be good if the church can organize a new member orientation class. This is to safeguard the loss of members through the back door.
The testimony we see in Acts 2:47 gives us a clear understanding that when functional spiritual leadership coordinates the affairs of the church, it will engender ever-growing grace among God’s people.
Day by day the Lord will continue to add to them not just infidels but those being saved. Dear leader, you are encouraged to go back and put these principles and models into practice. Get set for an abundance of the harvest of souls as it was in the early church. Acts 5:14: And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, NKJV
This lecture was delivered by Rev. Dr Oyekola Bamidele at Ibadan Baptist Conference Workers’ Retreat 2022
Rev. Dr. Oyekola Bamidele