“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” – Hebrews 13:17
Every Sunday we join together to unify in worship, to build relationship, and to be encouraged in the Word of God by those the Father has set into place as a spiritual authority over His Church. Though each of us, as believers in Christ, have the ability to know and communicate with the Lord directly, and to function in our own personal relationship with the Lord, scripture clearly teaches us the importance, and responsibility, of living in community (Psalm 133:1, Acts 4:32, 1 John 4:11) and, thus, submitting to appropriate human authority (Romans 13:1, Eph. 4:11-13).
One of the most influential and corporately unifying elements of a Pastor’s role is that of preaching and teaching from the pulpit. From behind the pulpit, our leaders share what the Lord has placed in their hearts; passing along the anointing that has been placed upon them. Our leaders spend hours each week praying and studying – seeking God for the basic purpose of obediently displaying through verbal communication, that which the Lord is wanting to communicate to His people.
However, as members and leaders of the Church ourselves, how often do we reflect upon these pulpit-spoken words, considering their meaning, and practicing their practical encouragements? Moreover, how often do we repeat them to those whom God has placed under our authority? Are we helping our followers understand the corporate Word of the Lord?
As we journey through the New Life Small Group calendar, I want to encourage you, as leaders of your small groups, to regularly reference, share, and even directly teach the details of Sunday sermons. This is not to place an inappropriate emphasis upon our leaders, placing human beings upon a pedestal reserved only for One perfect in love and justice, but to simply trust them as God’s elected leaders (Eph. 4:11-13). As followers, we must test the words of man to ensure they are biblically sound (1 John 4:1). We should never follow blindly any human being, and certainly not those who are adding to or subtracting from the Word of God (Duet. 4:2, Rev. 22:18-19).
Once tested, however, scripture tells us to “Have confidence” in our leaders, and to then “submit to their authority” (Heb. 13:17). At this point we must trust their ability to fulfill the calling that they carry, and to which we have agreed with. They are God ordained leaders whom we should respect, honor, support, follow, and pray for (1 Tim 5:17-18, 1 Thess. 5:12-13, Rom. 13:1). They are the ones God has placed over us for our care; a calling of great responsibility to which they “must give an account.”
God has provided New Life Church with wonderful pastoral leaders who are genuine in faith, and who understand the Word of God. They are leaders who share in truth, and who seek to be obedient to the Lord in all they say and do. So, are we in tune with what the Lord is saying through them? Are we paying attention to what is being said from behind our own pulpit? Are we repeating these words to those who are under our own care? I pray you are, and encourage you, if you are not, to begin doing so.
God has a word for us all. Again, we each have individual abilities to hear from the Lord, but as a community, God has a word that is being spoken to us through our leaders. We need to pay attention to, and even echo these words.
As a ministry functioning under these leaders, the Community team at New Life Church makes available a tool that you can utilize toward this end. This tool is called “Sermon Discussion Guides.” They are prepared and made available each Monday so that individuals and groups can tap into what was spoken from the pulpit on Sunday morning, and to help ensure that we are able to tune into what the Lord is corporately speaking. These tools can be found and accessed by visiting nlccommunity.com and then by clicking the “Sermon Discussion Guides” button. You can even signup to receive them by email.
Our pastors and leaders are given to us, by God, as biblical influencers and encouragers. They carry a great responsibility that requires our respect and honor. The words they share we must test, and ultimately trust as uniquely given to them for our community. As leaders ourselves, and under their spiritual oversight, we must pay close attention to what they are saying, and to help others – specifically those within our own spheres of influence – do the same.
In doing so we will…
Go Deeper and Grow Stronger