By Dermot Cottuli
There seems to be a lot of teaching about leadership, management, service structure and event management around today in the church world and very little teaching on what it is that we’re actually trying to achieve. Is that because it’s assumed that we all know what it is that we’re supposed to be doing? Our task as church leaders is to go and make disciples. To turn non-believers into believers who demonstrate their belief in God by their commitment to obey Jesus’ commands. A disciple is someone who loves God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and loves others as they have been loved. Turning people into God and people lovers, is the task of every church and every Christian ministry.
John was called the disciple whom Jesus loved and in his letters to the churches he had one very simple message that comes through loud and clear. We are to obey the commands of Christ and they are all about loving others. John is quite clear in his thinking and teaching that if we don’t love others then our declarations for God are in vain. They’re empty. How can we love God who we can’t see if we don’t love people who we can see?
How do we turn a person into a disciple?
It all starts with a revelation that we are loved by God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son . . . This is the primary revelation of the church to the world. It should be the motivator for why we do what we do – that others would know that they are loved by God. This is the revelation that draws men and women to Jesus. Before they loved Him, He loved them.
God wants us to know that He loves us. He wants His love for all of mankind known by all of mankind. Everything that God wants us to learn and experience here on earth starts and is completed in His love for us.
We need to continually teach about the love of God. In our words and actions we need to convey to people that they are loved by God and provide them opportunities to experience God’s love for themselves personally – corporate worship, prayer, teaching, connection and fellowship that points them to Jesus.
Our aim is to bring them closer to God – when a person commits their life to Christ they are born again on the inside. Their spirit which was dead to God, cut off from Him, is brought back to life and God’s Spirit takes up residence within that person. This marks the start of a wonderful transformation. The seed of God’s life germinates in their heart and starts to change them from the inside out. Love begins to grow.
The closer a person moves towards God the more they will find their heart moved towards others. It’s the test and proof of the depth of our devotion. It’s as we start to love as we have been loved that the image of God in us starts to be restored.
“Do you love me? Then love others.” “If you won’t love others, you don’t really love me.”
The enemy of love is self. Jesus said we were to die to self daily. We die to self by loving others. It’s a daily challenge, a daily discipline, a daily death, a daily price which produces a daily victory, a daily change, a daily resurrection, a daily reward.
The task of church leadership is to equip their members to do the work of the ministry. What is “the work of the ministry?” Ministry is service, service is love in action. Therefore the task of church leadership is to teach their members how to love others.
Ephesians 4:13 (AMP)
That it might develop until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God, that we might arrive at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ”s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.