Intro: Our 2017 Prayer Cards are a resource we use to unify the prayers of our congregation as we seek the Lord over the course of this next year. This year we have made a shift in how we are praying for these things: last year we listed our requests and included a verse or two that correlated to that request; this year we have made the power and authority of Scripture the focus of our petitions. We are praying 7 specific passages of Scripture and then have summarized them into single sentence supplications to God. I am blogging about each of the 7 requests for 2017 to give insight into the passage and why we are praying it for our congregation.
Passage: 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Prayer: That God would raise up leaders from within our congregation to fulfill the responsibilities of elders and deacons.
There are 2 areas of my life that I believe God has been growing and maturing in me since we started this church planting endeavor: prayer and leadership. There are a few instances when both of those things collide and really try to pay attention to what God is doing. Praying for leadership is one such moment.
I don’t believe that lone-ranger leadership is modeled for us in the Bible. Certainly not when it comes to leadership within the Church. Sure, Christ is the Head of the Church, so we can see that He alone is the ultimate authority of the Church. But when it comes to local churches we see a plurality of leadership. Yes, there is a senior pastor or lead pastor or lead elder…whatever title you choose to give it is fine. But they don’t sit atop all by themselves. They are to have elders working with them in spiritual leadership and guidance over their local congregation. They are to have deacons who share in the ministry and serve the congregation as well. (Acts 6:1-7, Acts 14:21-23, Acts 20:28-32, Titus 1:5-9, Hebrews 13:7 & 13:17-19, 1 Peter 5:1-11)
Now I’m an entrepreneur. I love to get things jump started and I love to see them take off and become successful. I’ve even been told that most/all church planters need to have some level of entrepreneurialism within them. My natural default as an entrepreneur is to do things myself – alone. But that doesn’t mix well with God’s design for His church. And while what I’m about to say may not have been true of my thinking several years ago, it is definitely true now as a pastor: I long for other leaders to share and shoulder the responsibility of leading Rising Church with me. I desperately want elders and deacons on this journey with me. I’ve wanted that from day 1.
But we weren’t ready. We weren’t there yet. Maybe that’s not the right way to look at the way things were as an infant church but God had to bring us along and grow and build His church within our congregation to bring us to that place. Just over two-and-a-half years into our journey I strongly feel that we are now at that place which is why praying this passage of Scripture over our congregation is so important to me. I would go so far as to say that praying in godly leadership to lead with me is second only to us praying God’s power and presence into our congregation (our John 15:5-11 prayer).
I believe we are just about there. The need is certainly there. But I also believe that God’s answer to this prayer is within our congregation. As we prepare to establish our constitution, by-laws, and articles of incorporation over the next few months I am praying that God would install elders and deacons to lead with me as God leads Rising Church into the future He has prepared for us. Amen!