Thursday, July 31, 2008

Will the Spiritual Leader Please Stand Up

Well, "I can truly say that I've been blessed, I have a testimony." God really blessed the study/teaching on last evening. I appreciate the fervent effectual prayers of the righteous, they did and do avail much. The Lord allowed us to enter into the first of four "parts" of our study on "Spiritual Leadership." This particular study is based on last nights Introduction from the first chapter and three examinations of chapter three. On last night we considered the fact that everybody is a leader. This is attributed to the fact that we ALL have a sphere of influence with someone. That influence renders us all "leaders." So the question is not will you lead but rather how will you lead. Paul, in approximately 61AD writes to the church at Philippi (in Philippians 2:19-22) that he desires to send Timothy to them in order to provide leadership to the church there. The interesting thing is that he comments "Timothy is the only one that I can send." By approximate estimations, Paul was converted in around 33AD. Additionally, it can be argued that Paul had trained at least 30 to 35 leaders in these 28 years of ministry accounted for. Yet, after 28 years and 30+ disciples, Paul says that Timothy is the "only one" with the right spiritual countenance and attribute to lead this church. Wow... That sets high the spiritual standard for those of us who assume the role of spiritual leader. it also helps to answer the "challenge" of my Pastoral ministry when asked "after 8 years, you don't think anybody has been ready to be appointed as a deacon?" Well, after 28 years, Paul could only find one that he was confident enough to appoint to spiritual leadership. Granted, Timothy would have held the position of "episcopos" or "overseer." But, the principle of Paul to "not lay your hands on a man to quickly" firmly applies. So, there is the responsibility of the Body of Christ to discern those who "make full proof of the ministry" and "stir up the gift" which is within them. So, the game show question is rudimentarily resounded for the rest of my religious ritual "Will the Real Spiritual Leader Please Stand Up?!?!?" Well... I am looking forward to the spiritual fallout and fruit that will be made manifest as a result of this series. I continue to solicit your prayers.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spiritual Leadership

Wait... Wait... Wait... I don't plan to be as LLLOOONNNGGG as on yesterday. Just wanted to seek your prayers for a "season" that I currently find myself in. About two weeks ago, we (The Ship) were meeting about a prospective "vision plan" for the church. It was at such time that I was challenged, so to speak, on the leadership structure. More specifically, why I had not yet appointed Deacons during my tenure as Pastor. In an attempt to not get so thoroughly sidetracked, even though we still did, I gave what I earnestly believe was a transparent, sprit-led, biblically sound response. We then managed to make our way to the REAL issue at hand. (It still took a while)

Now... Tonight I plan to begin a four-part teaching series on "Spiritual Leadership in the Body of Christ." The central bible focus will be Paul's first letter to Timothy. So, I ask your prayers as I try to spiritually discern what the Lord would have us to learn/gleen from this instructional time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inoculation Theory

Today, once again, I was introduced to one of psychology's "theories" in which I was able to find some ecclesiastical significance. The theory was constructed by William McGuire in the 1960's. He penned the phrase "Inoculation Theory" or "Attitude Inoculation." When we hear the term "inoculation" we think of a shot given to us in order to "protect" us. If, for instance, the shot is given to protect us from the flu, you do realize what is in the shot? The flu!!! It's a basic and fundamental idea that most of us understand. When exposed to a pathogen, etc. in a very small and minute dose, the body is able to develop an immunity to it. Therefore, when the pathogen is introduced in it's ill-seeking form, the body has antigens to counter the attack. Well, McGuire believed that in life there are people who are more vulnerable to attitude adjustments because they have never been "inoculated" and are "empty" as relates to those beliefs. For instance, if parents teach a child "no drugs" and are emphatic about such. However, when the child ask "why no drugs," the parents respond by saying simple "just because, drugs are bad." Well, what has happened is that the child has not been given the opportunity to and equipment to defend the premise at a later time. So, when the child gets to middle or high school and Bad News Billy approaches the child and says "here try drugs," naturally the child will respond by saying "no, drugs are bad." Problem is, aside from the initial response, the child is "empty" on his position. The result is a low resistance to the attack of Bad News Billy, thus leaving him more vulnerable to trying drugs.

I believe this applies to Christians and our convictions. We need to be about "equipping the saints" in a way that they are able to Apologetically defend their beliefs. If we fill our preaching with a perpetual list of "just becauses" we threaten to leave a parish of people who are "empty" and therefore not "inoculated" against the attack of sin, satin, and antagonists.

A note here on P.K.'s (Pastor/Preacher Kids)- I saw a picture of the average P.K. in this theory. It has often been said that "Pastor's kids are the worse ones." Well, if McGuire's theory is valid, this could be quite possible. We as believers need to do more than ban hip hop, saggin pants, ear rings, and other cultural trends by dismissing them as bad "just because." We have to equip them with a biblical worldview and a true cognitive map and conscience as to WHY we choose to do/not do things the way that we do. If not we leave them "empty" and vulnerable to an attitude change once the world invades their position.

So, I am further challenged as a Pastor/Preacher that we are not just trying to "shout'em" but to "inoculate" the attitude of the listener.

Kevin L. Pullam