In preparation for entering a season of officer training, I took a few minutes last week to unfold our vision for taking care of the flock at Cornerstone. Leaning heavily on 1 Peter 5:1-4, I outlined five key aspects:
· First, we shepherd under the chief shepherd. That is, we believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and the source for all pastoral care.
· Second, we shepherd unto the chief shepherd. That is, in our pastoral care, we are careful to lead God’s flock to increased trust in, dependence on, love for, and obedience to Jesus Christ.
· Third, we shepherd for the chief shepherd. That is, we believe that our love for Jesus Christ must both drive and direct our love for His sheep.
· Fourth, we shepherd like the chief shepherd. That is, we take all our shepherding cues from the chief shepherd Himself.
· Fifth, we shepherd until we see the chief shepherd. That is, we persevere in care for the church till the end, keeping our eyes set on Jesus,
Today I want to go one step further. At Cornerstone, not only do officers care for the needs of God’s people, they also equip God’s people to care for the needs of God’s people. Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
If we take Paul’s words seriously, we shouldn’t rely on pastors, teachers, and the like to do the entire ministry, but to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Said another way, built into the work of a shepherd is a commitment to train the saints in how to minister and care for the flock, so that more and more the congregation is equipped to minister to itself. As under-shepherds embrace the call to equip the saints for ministry, a culture of care is created among all the members and the flock becomes healthier
This commitment to equip the saints for the work of ministry means several things:
· Delegate – Church officers are thinking about building a team of coworkers in ministry by asking and answering the question, “Who has God gifted and equipped to do ______ in our church?”
· Develop – Church officers are thinking about training a team of co-workers by asking and answering the question, “How do we need grow in order to take the next step in ministry?”
· Deploy – Church officers are thinking about releasing a trained team of coworkers into various fields of ministry by asking and answering the question, “How can ______ be best used in work of ministry?”
· Duplicate – Church officers are looking to the trained team of coworkers and asking and answering the question, “Who among this team of trained coworkers is ready to become the next equipper for ministry?”
I hope these two weeks outlining our vision for leadership has helped you better understand the vision for leadership at Cornerstone. As always, we’re a work in progress. But thanks be to God, there’s progress! As we enter into another round of officer training, pray that God would be pleased to raise up more shepherd leaders, so that we might continue to become the church that God is calling us to be.