Leaders: Three things that really matter
We know many of you will be getting ready to lead on one of our series as the new term looms. We'll be posting a number of blogs over the coming weeks to help you prepare.
2 Timothy, a letter from Paul to Timothy (a young evangelist), suggests the way Paul might speak to us as we prepare to lead on an Explored series.
Paul wrote the letter around AD 67, shackled in a Roman prison and aware that he was going to die soon. Many followers of Christ had deserted him (2 Timothy 1:15), so his urgent appeal to Timothy was to guard, protect, and pass on the truth about Jesus Christ.
As Paul does so, he warns Timothy that doing this won’t be easy. He likens it to the life of a soldier, for whom risk and suffering are a matter of course (2 Timothy 2:1-4).
Commenting on verse 4, the early Christian writer Tertullian says, “No soldier goes to war equipped with luxuries, nor does he go forth to the battle-line from his bed-chamber, but from light and narrow tents wherein every hardship and roughness and uncomfortableness is to be found.”
Being a table leader doesn’t mean you have to live in a tent for the duration of the series – but it will mean the soldier’s life: discipline, responsibility, and commitment.
In particular, we’ll need to be committed in three ways:
1. Committed to prayer
Paul opens his letter to Timothy by saying, “Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers” (2 Timothy 1:3).
Because we realise that no spiritual growth can happen without God’s enabling, we too need to be constantly remembering our guests and fellow leaders in prayer.
2. Committed to Scripture
We must be convinced, with Paul, that God’s word is where the power is.
Whatever his personal circumstances, Paul knew that if the word were preached, it would do its work: “I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9).
As a result, Paul exhorts Timothy – and every Christian teacher – to devote himself to the study of God’s word: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
In getting ready for leading, it’s vital that you immerse yourself in the Bible.
3. Committed to people
The way we love our guests will be one of the most lasting and persuasive things we’ll say about the Lord Jesus during the series. We are not the gospel (Jesus is), but our lives should make the teaching about our Saviour attractive.
We must be willing to open up our own lives for inspection, and talk about our own weaknesses and failures, as well as the ways that Christ has changed us. Such genuine love and honesty are the marks of a true disciple of Christ, and in and of themselves they can be a compelling answer to many of the doubts people may have.
Being committed in these three ways will require us to be single-minded. As 2 Timothy 2:4 says, “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
Often, as we seek to make time to pray, study God's word and meet with group members, the good will be the enemy of the best, and the urgent will be the enemy of the important.
We may find temptations or feelings of inadequacy creeping in. Sometimes, leading will be a real struggle: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After all, our enemy, Satan, hates the work we are doing.
But we keep going, for the joy of pleasing our “commanding officer,” the Lord Jesus Christ. And we “endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).
Leading can be daunting, whether you've been doing it for years or for the first time. As well as the printed leader's guides, our Leader's Area is full of handy explanatory videos and resources to help you feel equipped.
You just need to register your series or sign up as a table leader to get access if you don't have a log in already.
EXPLORE THE LEADER'S AREA
Let us know by commenting below if there are other questions you have about leading that you'd like to see us blog about.