Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This is the final part of our mini series. We have been exploring gospel centered training of pastors built around the Acts 20 interaction between Paul and the Ephesians elders who came to meet with him. It is a great moment of partnership, passion, intimacy, challenge, warning and tears.

I have loved exploring this text through the lenses of the gospel. So often it has been taught as leadership principles. That it is not. It is an encounter between an apostle and the elders he loved. It is loaded with God life, spinning around the power, freedom, healing courage and boldness that the cross brings. Hope you enjoy reading it, better still studying the text for yourself. It has been written as a teaching text rather than in article form. You are most welcome to use the material to teach your emerging elders / pastors...

  1. Now I commit you to God: Paul has set a most outstanding example. In fact he says that believers should “follow him as he followed Christ”. I would like to use Paul’s closing comments as concluding comments to these elders. May I reiterate, when the gospel is rediscovered as the hub around which all of Christianity spins, we can no longer teach principles as a checklist for performance. That will always lead to legalism and the subtle [or not so] pressure to conformity.
    1. “Word of his grace…”

i. Colossians speaks of ‘grace in all its truth’. The elder is surely to have a growing revelation of grace and teach, love, lead with that in his eyes, heart, mouth,

ii. The elder must ensure that leadership and believer responsibilities placed on folks are all clearly biblical, soaked and stroked in Christlike grace,

iii. I am not sure we can preach any text without landing in the gospel and massaging the subject in grace,

iv. A sense of praise continues to grow in the community because it is all so undeserving,

    1. “Build you up…”

i. The gospel is loaded with kindness, forgiveness, cleansing, restoration, healing, so when it is presented, the people will not need shallow motivational talks, as they will be grounded in the true measure of our soul. That will inspire like no other,

ii. Gospel centered leadership will prophecy. I am Reformed in my theology but also certainly Charismatic. Whilst these words can ensnare because of stereotypes, I am so passionate about sound theology building up but also around the role of the Holy Spirit gifts. They are for today. They are available to the church today. They empower the priesthood today. They undermine the celebrity culture that always weakens the church ultimately and keeps all in immaturity and with dependence on the ‘superstar stud’,

iii. True effective eldership show how the gospel when fully presented has all the ingredients necessary for us to handle all situations – Jesus is still the answer - not as a cheap slogan but as a true truth born out of his full incarnation, execution, resurrection and consummation,

    1. “Give you an inheritance…”

i. Paul’s great foundations for every believer, is what he speaks about in Colossians 1, is that every believer has “the knowledge of his will…” our inheritance is found in the will of God for our lives,

ii. Eph 1 tells us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of this inheritance,

iii. Ps 2 tells us that if we “ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance…” again the wonder of the gospel appears again… “ all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing” Col1. Inheritance is always people… friendships, partnerships, allies, disciples, the lost, the nations…

    1. “I have not coveted… it is more blessed to give than to receive”:

i. The ‘shalom’ of God is our portion – both peace and prosperity come with the atonement. This is not the ‘prosperity message’ [that is definitley not a gospel at all].

ii. It is born out of our gospel theology that God “gave his only begotten son…”- God is the giver, he is extravagant and generous. In turn as his seed takes root in our lives through the gospel, it will “bear fruit and grow” as Paul says in Colossians 1,

iii. We accept that through the redemption work, God paying our ransom, we have been bought with a price, we are not our own – that is especially true of leaders-

iv. We live for the benefit of others, daily we lay our lives down,

v. The well being of the sheep is our highest calling,

vi. ‘I should you that by this kind of hard work…’

vii. We must help the weak…

    1. “He knelt down with them all and prayed…”

i. The first and greatest gift a pastor can give his community, is his prayers,

ii. Kneeling is an act of enormous humility,

iii. Acts 6 tells us, this is what we give most of our time, effort and energy to,

iv. These were passion prayers about life and death, weighty indeed.

v. These prayers were not disimiliar to Matt 28 when the apo mantle was handed on p this time not to 11 men but to a community to continue to be faithful to their origins in Acts 19, and their mandate as they are reminded in Revelation 2. These prayers continuously remind the community of their apo and prophetic responsibilities.

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