Friday, October 9, 2009

Four marks of spiritual leaders - 4



“As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” 2 Chronicles 15:8-9

Spiritual leaders gather others in. There is no nuance to this Hebrew verb. "Gather" means gather. Like Asa, spiritual leaders joyfully pull more and more people in, getting them involved in the new work the Lord is doing at their church.

A church does not grow by some wonderful luck. It grows by intentionality. Spiritual leaders take responsibility for gathering, so that their church becomes a focal point, a density of concentration, where the renewing work of the gospel is shared by more and more people.

Jesus said, "Whoever does not gather with me scatters" (Matthew 12:30). Jesus is gathering. Our risen, joyous, athletic Savior is running through the world today saving people right and left for the sheer grace of it all. He is gathering, he is recruiting. He is planting and building his churches. And he is calling us to gather with him. Whoever does not gather with him scatters. There is no neutrality. We show our love for him by our gathering with him.

Let's search ourselves with two questions. One, Whom have we actively gathered in for his sake? Two, Whom have we scattered? How many aren't in our churches, how many empty seats are we looking at, because we have neglected the ministry of gathering?

This is my own greatest failure at present. Day by day I feel covered over with "church stuff." I must change, and without delay.

When a church is blessed with leaders who, for the sake of Jesus, lift his standard high and call others to rally around, that church's success is inevitable.

"Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23).