What’s Next for Oak Hills? (Part 6)
August 2, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Part of thriving as a church is to be reminded of and united around the mission God calls us to. It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to get distracted. Oak Hills longs to know and make known the astonishing grace of God. I’ve been seeking to refresh our minds and energy around this mission God has called us to.
This mission means, first and foremost, that we will treasure Christ. We constantly need to recalibrate our hearts toward this mission through repentance, prayer, and availing ourselves of the ordinary means of grace.
In addition to the unchanging longing to treasure Christ, we have identified four other areas in which we can grow in order to be more faithful to our mission. I’m highlighting these four areas over these few weeks. I have already touched on cultivating a culture of invitation, improving our web presence, and expecting gospel growth. The fourth area draws attention to the area of leadership.
Number 4: Develop Leadership.
The legacy of the apostle Paul’s ministry is seen in the leadership he developed and “passed the baton” onto. On his first missionary journey he “appointed elders for them in every church” (Acts 14:23). He commended the ministry and leadership of numerous saints (Romans 16:1-16). At least four young men are highlighted in his letters as apprentices to his gospel ministry: Timothy (Phil. 2:19-24); Titus (2 Cor. 7:5-7); Epaphras (Col. 1:3-8); and Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-30). Others are mentioned during his travels in Acts (Luke, Silas, and Mark) and others are commended in his various greetings in the letters.
Paul practiced what he preached to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” He was a model for younger ministers, just as he called Titus to do, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech…” (Titus 2:7-8). His parting words before execution were a charge to Timothy to carry on the ministry of the Word (2 Tim. 4:1-8).
The health of a church is intertwined with the health of her leadership. Leadership development, as Paul modeled and commanded, is integral to healthy leadership. The multiplying and growth of the gospel go hand in hand with the multiplying and growth of leadership. This is more than a pastor mentoring an assistant pastor. Men ought to aspire to the office of elder (1 Tim. 3:1). Older women ought to mentor younger women (Titus 2:3-4). Older men ought to mentor younger men (Titus 2:1-2). The mature in faith ought to care for the young in faith (Rom. 14:1-4). The call to “make disciples” is a call to teach and model and pass on the Christian faith. All of this is leadership development. Passing on the faith to the next generation and equipping them to be able to pass on the faith to the next generation and so on.
What does this mean for Oak Hills? Let me highlight just two areas.
- Be Mentored for Further Effectiveness in the Body of Christ. Paul is very clear that every member of the church is to be equipped for “the work of ministry” and to help “make the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:11-16). In what ways are you engaging in the “work of ministry”? How are you making “the body grow”? We all need further equipping and training to be more effective in our ministry to and for the church. Where are you being equipped? Who mentors you in your ministry?
- Look for Opportunities to Mentor the “Next Generation.” This is the heart behind Paul’s instructions in Titus 2. Those “older” (not necessarily in age) in the faith are to care for, train, and equip those younger in the faith. And not only our own children, but in the church family. Part of mentoring is sharing life together so that modeling can happen. You do not have to be a Bible expert or seminary grad to be used by God to build up his church. Grow in treasuring Christ in the gospel and share with others how the gospel makes a difference in every area of your life.