10 May 2018

In my Minister’s Letters last year, I was unpacking the “Values” in St Michael’s “Vision 2020” statement. We got up to #8. So here’s the ninth on that list of things we try to value:

Initiative in leadership and use of gifts by members.

This value flows from passages of Scripture that speak of the church being the body of Christ. Many different parts, but all needed!

A whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 12 is devoted to this topic. Or you might just consider Romans 12:4-8, which begins…

4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

It then goes on to mention various gifts people might have – by no means an exhaustive list – including diligent leadership.  Here are some results regarding initiative in leadership and use of gifts by our members, from the 2016 NCLS (National Church Life Survey):

  • 73% of us agree that our church is always ready to try something new.
  • 68% agree that, “leaders here encourage innovation and creative thinking”.
  • 85% support the development of new initiatives in ministry and mission at church.
  • 77% say leaders take into account ideas of people here, at least to some extent.
  • 83% agree that our church has good and clear systems for how it operates.
  • 51% of attenders say they perform a leadership or ministry role here.
  • 52% of attenders agree that their gifts, skills and talents are being used well at church.
  • 62% say our “leaders encouraged them to find and use their gifts and skills here” at least to some extent (up from just 49% in 2011), with hospitality, education and interpersonal skills being some of the most highly self-identified skills.
  • While 61% are happy with current involvement, 30% would like to be more involved.

I find that encouraging, because it shows progress but room for more.

Here’s a couple of extra thoughts… Firstly, character is more important than capability. Capability gets you into the room. Character keeps you there.

I always remember the time a Pentecostal leader, who really valued spiritual gifts and creative arts, said he’d pick an average but godly musician over a proud professional for their church band every time!

Leadership is also about how you conduct yourself, more than recognition in a formal role. You can always notice a need and meet it before you’re ever put on a roster.

I was coaching a young bloke as a potential church leader. He asked how to assess himself against the requirement that a leader manage his own household well (1 Tim 3:4-5) since he was a single guy in a share house. Now he’d been having a whinge about his flatmates never being home and not sharing the chores. He said, “I can’t just appoint myself head of the house!” I suggested he could still display initiative“Hey guys, it’s been a while since we talked. Can I buy you pizza this week? Let’s catch up and see how we all are…”

I love it when I hear of people having a go. No church can do everything. But there are so many things you can do as a Christian, in your church, as well as beyond, without needing to get permission.

But keep measuring yourself by God’s Word above all else.

Warmly in Christ,

Sandy Grant
Senior Minister