Updated: Nov 24
Grace Meditation #8
Serving One Another in Grace/ Grace Based Servant Leadership
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
I Peter 4:8-11
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
This Sunday, we will be voting on and ordaining and installing four new officers at NPPC; two new elders and two new deacons. These men have been trained and are being examined by the elders as to their sense of calling and qualifications for leadership, with regards to the doctrinal and character qualifications laid out for the church in I Timothy and Titus.
Those doctrinal and character qualifications are extremely important as we determine who the Lord has called to serve as leaders in our church. In most ministry settings that I have been a part of, a great emphasis is placed on doctrinal qualifications-how well a candidate knows the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession, and our Book of Church Order which set forth our distinctives as a presbyterian and reformed church. Such an emphasis is indeed very important.
But in our training here at NPPC we have placed a very high priority on “grace-based servant leadership,” as we studied “The Gospel Centered Elder” published by Serge. Our feeling is that sadly, one can have a great “head-knowledge-grasp” of our doctrine and system of church government, and still not “get” the gospel. The most important qualification for leadership in our church is “How are you personally living out of the truths of the gospel?” Is your identity in Christ? Are you a “chief-repenter?” Has the gospel worked in you a transparent, vulnerable, humility, that sees service as an overflow of grace in your life? Do you already have a personal grace-based ministry in our church? How are you mentoring your family and others in the gospel? Do you desire to see Jesus glorified by your service and leadership in our church or are you simply seeking a position of authority and notoriety. We are not looking for politicians!
Really, the type of heart we are looking for resides in the instructions we find in scripture for the way ALL of us are to serve one another. Do we consider other’s needs more important than our own? Are we “out-honoring” one another? Are our homes lighthouses for the gospel? Have we been gentled by a recognition of our own sin and desperate need for grace? Do we see the gifts and talents we posses as being gifts of God’s grace given for the “gracing” of others? Are we good stewards of the gifts of grace given us? Are we serving in the strength of the Lord, or out of our own strength? Do we bathe everything we do in prayer? Are we seeking to make much of Jesus, or much of ourselves? Is the Holy Spirit bearing His fruit in our lives? Are we seeing an increase of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Are we washing one another’s feet?
These are questions we ALL should be asking ourselves as we seek to serve our community of faith and the community around us at NPPC. But these are especially pertinent to anyone seeking to be a leader in our midst. I would challenge the men who are seeking ordained office in our church to a rigorous self-examination to answer such questions. And as a congregation, as we proceed to vote on our officers, these are the questions to be asked of those who seek to serve in our midst. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace!