Developing Leaders in the Small Church - Lesson 6
Prayer- Our First Responsibility
Prayer- Our First Responsibility
PC108-06: Lesson 6 - Prayer: Our First Responsibility
I. Common denominator among biblical leaders
A. Various backgrounds and personalities
B. Importance of prayer
II. Moses and the power of prayer
A. Facing impossible tasks
B. Examples of Moses relying on prayer
III. Samson and prayer amidst failures
A. Weaknesses and shortcomings
B. Final prayer and victory
IV. Samuel as a transition figure
A. Leader of Israel
B. Rejection of his leadership
C. Samuel's commitment to prayer
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you gain insights into the challenges of serving on a church board and learn about the concept of servant leadership in the Bible, as well as the differences between secular and biblical leadership, with a focus on the role of a shepherd in leadership positions.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you'll gain an understanding of the church as the body of Christ and a spiritual community, focusing on love and interconnectedness, and explore the differences between secular organizations and spiritual bodies, ultimately shaping your approach to spiritual leadership.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis lesson teaches the importance of organization in the church, exploring elements found in the Book of Acts and the significance of leadership, emphasizing the church's mission based on the Great Commission and the goal to make disciples.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you will understand the crucial importance of character in Christian leadership, as it demonstrates God's work in our lives, allows for influential leadership, and fosters spiritual growth in others. By learning from biblical examples, you will discover the necessity of relying on God's strength and guidance in your leadership journey.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you will gain insight into the importance of the church board's role, focusing on spiritual care and guiding the congregation towards a healthy church, which includes unity, obedience, growth in understanding God's word, active evangelism, and authentic worship, while being motivated by service and eagerness to lead, and understanding the accountability of leadership.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteDiscover the significance of prayer in leadership through the lives of biblical figures like Moses, Samson, and Samuel, and understand how prayer enables leaders to face challenges, find victory despite failures, and maintain spiritual strength.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn Lesson 7, you learn about the watchman's role in protecting the church from external and internal threats, the importance of church discipline, and its scriptural basis in Hebrews 12. The lesson emphasizes holiness as the primary goal and discusses the role of discipline in promoting spiritual growth and purity for individuals and the congregation.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis lesson teaches you the essential role of shepherding in the church and how to make spiritual decisions that benefit both the congregation as a whole and the individuals within it, emphasizing the importance of prayer, seeking guidance from Scripture, and reflecting the character of God.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteGain insight into the challenges small churches face in equipping people for ministry and learn the biblical basis for laypeople's involvement in ministry, understanding how to provide direction, identify spiritual gifts, offer training and mentoring, create opportunities, and give support.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough this lesson, you learn about the church's purpose to glorify God, represent His character to the world, and transform people into the character of Christ, while also understanding the importance of good theology, connecting it to Christian living, and realizing a leader's role in overseeing church theology and fostering transformation.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis lesson emphasizes the importance of teamwork in ministry, explaining the New Testament concept of team ministry, the role of coworkers with Christ, and how partnering with others helps overcome individual weaknesses and fosters corporate wisdom.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteAs change agents in the church, the board must adapt to societal changes while preserving the core message of the Gospel. This lesson emphasizes the importance of addressing sinful behavior, examining the health of the church, and learning from the apostles as change agents.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you'll understand the crucial role of administration in small churches, focusing on spiritual growth and the effective use of resources for God's glory, as well as the importance of recognizing God's authority and Scripture as the foundation for all administrative decisions.0% Complete
This course on developing leaders in the small church emphasizes the importance of leadership development and the challenges small churches face in doing so. It provides a biblical foundation for leadership development, focusing on examples from both the Old and New Testaments. The lesson then outlines principles for developing leaders in the small church, including fostering a culture of leadership development, identifying and recruiting potential leaders, equipping and empowering leaders, and providing ongoing support and accountability. The lesson concludes with strategies for leadership development in the small church, including one-on-one discipleship, small group leadership development, leadership training programs, and mentoring programs.
Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
Prayer-Our First Responsibility
[00:00:00] As we think about this role as leaders and we've been talking about this in terms of developing a biblical concept of leadership, I think one of the things that's helpful is to look at leaders in the in the scriptures and those who made a significant impact and ask ourselves, what do we find in common among all the leaders? Because as we look at all the the individuals that God use to position his people where he wanted them to be, we find that they came from a number of different backgrounds. They possessed a number of different personalities. Some were aggressive type-A personalities, some were more of a relational type of individual. There were fishermen, there were kings, there was businessmen, and there were individuals who were sheepherders, a whole gamut of individuals from a variety of different backgrounds and personalities. Some came from affluent areas and affluent homes. Others came from poor, impoverished areas. Some rose up out of the ranks of being a slave. But what was the one thing that they had in common? As we think about the lives of these individuals, what was the one common denominator that we see in every one of them? And as we look at their lives, the one common denominator of every single individual was that they was they were a person of prayer, that these leaders were individuals who were devoted to the task of prayer. I want to look at a number of different individuals as we think about this task of leadership. I'd like for us to begin with Moses. As we think about Moses, Moses was given what from a purely a human level, would be an impossible task. When you think about the task of assigned to Moses that he was to motivate a group of people to leave the security of their home and head out on a mass migration that was perhaps unparalleled in all of history, and to move them into an area that they were not familiar with.
[00:02:35] The trip would inquire, would require them to cover 400 miles of some of the most difficult and hostile terrain in the Middle East. They would face hardships that would test the leadership. They would face famines, they would face thirst, they would face attack from enemies that were opposed to them. They would face internal strife and division that bordered on mutiny in terms of the leadership from a human level. The idea that Moses could pull it off seemed impossible. And yet, as we look at Scripture, we see that he did that. In the end, he brought him to the promised land. So what enabled Moses to do it? What was it that Moses had that enabled him to perform such a great work of leadership? Well, I believe the answer lies in several different passages as we look at Scripture, and I want to look at just a couple of them in numbers. Chapter 11, verse two we see a hint of a really the heart of Moses. Here's an occasion when the people are complaining about their hardship to the Lord and in their rejecting not only Moses leadership, but they're rejecting God's leadership as well. And as a result of that, the anger of the Lord burned against him. It says in numbers Chapter 11, verse one, that the and so the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. And when the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. And that was the characteristic of Moses, that whenever Moses faced a crisis in his leadership, that he responded by prayer. We see it again in chapter 21, verse seven of numbers in chapter 21, verse seven, we again see the people.
[00:05:00] Rebelling against God. And in this case, the rebellion led again to the outbreak of a death through the serpent. But we find in chapter 21, verse seven again, the people came to Moses and said, We have sinned. When we spoke against the Lord and against you, pray that the Lord would take the snakes away from us. So Moses prayed for the people, and we see this over and over again. This is just a couple examples of of Moses. But in Moses, we see an individual who is devoted to prayer. We see that pattern again in Deuteronomy chapter nine, verse 20 and verse 26, that whenever Moses was faced with a crisis in this leadership that he was called to do. His first response was to be devoted to prayer. But as we look at Moses, it too is an important lesson for us that as we think about leadership, that as leaders, we oftentimes feel very inadequate to the task. We seem to be given a task this far beyond our ability. But we need to recognize that accomplishing the impossible can be achieved through prayer. When we live out our life in dependency upon God and and we respond to prayer in a given crisis, we see another person in the form of a judge. The Book of Judges. The not only was Moses, a man characterized by prayer, but so are the judges and judges. Chapter 16. I want to turn there and we see perhaps the most unlikely of individuals. Then judges. Chapter 16. To set the stage, we will find the story of Samson. Now, when we think of the great men of faith, usually we don't think of Samson. Samson was an individual that was given a supernatural strength, that he was given by God to lead the people.
[00:07:09] And yet, in many ways, his life can be characterized as an underachiever. He was a man who became driven by his own passions, driven by his own selfish desires. And as a result, he often times was known more for his failures rather than his successes. In many ways, Sampson demonstrated a lack of ability to lead the people and a lack of ability to even governance own life. Yet we find, surprisingly in Hebrews Chapter 11, verse 32, that Samsung's name is listed as one of the great men of faith. What was it about Samson? For all his failures, Rob is more moral failures and spiritual failures. What was it about Samson that he could still be regarded as a man of faith by the writer of Hebrews? Well, I think we find several clues in the book of judges as we look at Sampson's life. The first is the fact that in spite of his lack of self-control, the one thing that characterizes Sampson was his recognition that his abilities came from God, not himself. But even more important was the fact that the most crucial point of his life, the most critical. The most critical situation that he faced in his life. He turned to God in prayer. We find that recorded for us in Judges Chapter 16 and in judges. Chapter 16 is Samson has been taken captive by the Philistines and made a slave. He had his eyes gouged out and he was made a slave and an object of ridicule by the Philistines. And so we find this feast going on with the Philistines and they are worshiping. They're there gods in celebrating. And so they brought Samson out as kind of a trophy for them to to celebrate and to show the power of their gods.
[00:09:35] And so here is Samson, a broken man, a man who started out as to be a deliverer of the people of Israel and now himself is in bondage. And yet, as we find he's placed in that area in the temple where it was crowded with all the rulers. And so Samson in verse 28 says this It says, Then Samson prayed to the Lord, Oh, sovereign Lord, remember me? Oh, God, please strengthen me just one more and let me with one blow. Get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes. Then, Samson, reach towards the two central pillars on which the temple stood, bracing himself against them. His right hand on the one in his left hand in the end. On the other, Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. Then he pushed with all of his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. And thus he killed more, many more when he died in while he lived. But here we find that even in spite of all of Samson's failures. He still had victory because he prayed. An important lesson for us as we think about leadership, because often times in the context of leadership, we look at our failures, we look at our weaknesses, we look at our struggles. And yet, Samson is a lesson to us that no matter how much we have failed, if we are willing to go back and get on our knees and pray, God will still answer that even in our weakness. Prayer becomes the means by which we can attain the victory. After the time of the judges, we entered into the time of the Kings. But during this transition from the judges being the leaders of Israel to the establishment of the King and then Saul and then and David, we find this this individual who served as the transition person.
[00:11:50] That was Sam Samuel. Then in Samuel, we see the importance of prayer for leadership. Samuel was a man who understood that to be a leader is to be a person of prayer. We find this in First Samuel Chapter 12. Now in First Samuel, Chapter 12. We find Samuel giving his farewell speech to the people of Israel. For 20 over 20 years. Samuel has been the leader. We know the story well of his rise to influence that. He started out as just a young boy in the temple, and yet God had a calling upon his life. And he grew in that calling and he became the spiritual and political leader of the nation of Israel. And while leading the nation, though, we find that the nation eventually rejected Samuel's leadership, that their cry for a king and their desire to have a king was not just a desire to be like the other nations, but it also involved the rejection of Samuel and his leadership. And so in chapter 12, we find that. Samuel now is is stepping down. It's interesting. In chapter ten, we find that Samuel, when he addressing the people of Israel and feeling the the rejection that he experienced, God reminds him that it's not him that the people are rejecting, but it's God himself. We see that in versus 19. He says in chapter ten, verse 19. But you have now rejected your God who saves you out of all your distress in calamity. And you have said, No, said us, the king over us. Now present yourself before the Lord by your tribes and clans. And so it was really a spiritual crisis. There was a political crisis. There was a spiritual crisis. And for Samuel himself, that was a very much of a personal crisis as well.
[00:14:02] And so we find in in chapter 12, Samuel, addressing the people and confronting them on their their sin and their apostasy. And he confronts them that they have rejected God. And so as a result of that, the people ask that God would would forgive them. And he asks they ask that Samuel would pray for God, that he would give them forgiveness. We see that verse 19. He says, The people said, All the people said that Samuel prayed to the Lord, your God for your servant, so that we will not die. For we have added to all our sins the evil of asking for a king. And in response that and then easy for Samuel to to judge the people have been easier for for him to pronounce judgment upon them saying, well, you're going to get what you deserve. But instead we see in verse 23, really the heart of Samuel, it says this. He says, As for me, far be it from me that I should sinned against the Lord by failing to pray for you. I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord your God and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. Consider what great things He has done for you. But Samuel makes it very clear that his role as a leader was to pray for the people of Israel. But he understood that for him, if he failed to pray for the people, not only would he be failing his role as a leader for the people, but he would actually be sinning against God. You see, prayer is not an option that holds true for us today. That is that is leaders in the church that we are called to be leaders.
[00:15:55] We're called by God. But part of that calling, a central part of that calling is a responsibility to pray for the needs of people and for the spiritual well-being of people within the church, regardless of how they treat us in response. Samuel demonstrated the importance of prayer as central to leadership. Well, we know the story. We know that the baton of leadership was then passed on to Saul. Saul himself became a failure. And so then David became the king. And we look at the life of David. We see in Scripture that David is known for as being a man after God's own heart. And yet, when we look closely at his life, we it seems to be a disconnect that here is David, a man known and described by God himself as one who's after his own heart. And yet David was one who failed miserably in many ways. He failed as a as a parent in terms of raising his children. He certainly failed in his moral life with Bathsheba. And then is the subsequent act of committing murder. You think of those things, and these were major failures in the life of David, and yet he was still regarded as someone who had a heart for God. So what was it about, David, that in spite of all of his failures, made him such a great man of God and a great leader? I believe the answer to that is we find in His prayer life, as we look continually at his life, we see a person who integrated prayer into everything that he did, both as a person and as a leader. We see it in Psalm 51 when we see his personal failures, and yet when he was confronted with his sin with Bathsheba and in his subsequent murder, rather than trying to justify it, he prayed and asked for forgiveness.
[00:18:04] We see it in Second Samuel chapter 15, verse 31 When David is face perhaps his greatest political and personal crisis with his son, Absalom was attempting to overthrow David and drive him out of the the the city of Jerusalem. And in response to that, David turned in prayer. You see, what made David such a great leader was not his military abilities or his ability to make the right decision at the right time, but rather it was his dependency upon God at every juncture in his life. And that's true for us as leaders. If we are to be effective leaders, it doesn't come from our abilities. It doesn't come from our ability to make the right decision. It comes from our dependency upon God and a life of prayer. We see it again in Nehemiah as the prophets rose to leadership. And in Nehemiah we see again a man faced with what seemed to be an impossible task. The nation of Israel is in ruins, not only politically but economically, but more importantly spiritually. They were a nation that was discouraged. They were a nation that was disheartened. They lacked faith that God could renew the nation of Israel. They lacked faith that God could restore them and protect them. And it's into this crisis that God called me Amir. He called Nehemiah to rebuild the nation, even though he would face some insurmountable opposition. It seemed he faced the task of of trying to rebuild Jerusalem. He faced the task of having to deal with those who were bent on preventing that from happening. But the one thing that characterized Nehemiah as we look at his life every time he faced a major crisis in his life and in his leadership, every time he faced a major decision in his leadership, his first response was first prayer.
[00:20:25] We see that in chapter one, verse four when he first heard of the the condition of Jerusalem, he says, verse four, I, I heard these things. I sat down and wept. And for some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven. We see it in chapter four, verse two, when the King asked him what he can do before he responds, he says in chapter four, verse two. Then I prayed to the God of Heaven. We see it again in chapter four, verse nine, when there faced opposition in some ballot, and his cronies were doing everything they could to try to prevent the people of Israel of rebuilding. So you had some ballot and to buy in and all those around them threatening to attack them. And it says in verse nine and but we prayed to our God and post to the guard day and night to meet this threat. We find it again in chapter six, verse nine, when again, they're faced with opposition and they turn to prayer. You see, he was one who is known for his prayer life. That's what characterized Nehemiah. But that really provides us an indication in terms of how do we revitalize our churches as passed as pastors and elders and leaders in the church. Oftentimes in our small churches, we're faced with struggling churches. We're faced with in many ways like the ruins there in Jerusalem. We're faced with. Discouragement we're faced with. Frustrations. So how do we lead people back into a vibrant relationship with Christ? How do we lead the church back into a revitalized focus of ministry? We do it through prayer that we get down our knees and recognize that it's not going to be our strength. It's not going to be our wisdom.
[00:22:31] It's not going to be our resources that accomplish the revitalizing of the church. It's going to be through prayer. And certainly that is what Christ modeled in his life as well. As we think about the person of Christ, he became a model for us of an individual who lived his life in dependency upon God. We think about Christ. And here he was, the son of God, the one who possessed all the attributes of God. And yet we find in the New Testament a continual emphasis that he didn't do his ministry on his own strength, but rather he depended upon his father. We see that in chapter five, verse 19 of John. Jesus gave them this answer. I tell you the truth, the son can do nothing by himself. He can only do what he sees his father doing. Chapter eight, Verse 28 Jesus also said, When you have lifted up the son of man, then you will know that I am the one who I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak what the father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him. John, Chapter 15, verse ten If you obey my commands, you will remain in love, just as I have obeyed my father's commands and remained in his love, he said that was what characterized the life of Christ is dependency upon the Father, and that became evident in his prayer life. It's interesting. In Luke chapter five, verse 16, it says this This is. But Jesus often withdrew himself to lonely, praise places and prayed. You see, our dependency upon God is evidenced by our prayer life. And if we were to be like, Jesus, if we're going to follow his example, we need to follow it in terms of prayer.
[00:24:31] We need to recognize that our greatest responsibility is to align the direction with the church and the direction of our lives with the will of God. And we do that through the avenue of prayer. This is why prayer then became such a crucial part of the Disciples in Act Chapter six when they're establishing the the church and we think about all the responsibilities that came with this this church planting effort and and the rapid growth that the church was experiencing. We think about all the. The pressures that they are under in terms of running the organization and running the ministries and all the demands that were upon their time. And yet the danger they recognized the danger was all these demands of the organization were starting to distract them from what was really important. And what was really important was their prayer. And so we find that in chapter six, it says in verse one, In those days there were a number of disciples were increase in the Christian Jews. Among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. And so they had this ministry problem. But notice their response. Their response was so that the 12 gathered all the disciples together says it is not right for us to neglect the ministry of the word in order to wait on tables. Brothers to seven men among you who are known to be full of the wisdom or full of the spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and give our cell our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. The disciples recognize that the most important task of leadership is not overseeing the ministries. It's living a life of prayer.
[00:26:27] We need to recognize that the challenge for us as leaders is to become oriented in prayer. In fact, Jeremiah. Points to the fact that if we neglect this task, God will hold us accountable. In Jeremiah chapter ten, verse 21, where he warns us that a lack of prayer will result in the scattering of the flock. We often look at our churches and our small church and we see people leaving the church. We try to come up with new programs and new ways to keep them in the church and try to keep them within the body. But yet we don't stop and pray. As leaders were called to prayer. And then we see the content and prayer as we look at scripture. Now, time doesn't allow us to to look at these specifically. So I want to encourage you to to look at these passages later on as you get together as a board, to look at what more to pray for. And we see the pattern in the life of Paul. As Paul writes his letters, we see him praying for the spiritual needs of people in Ephesians chapter one versus 15 to 23. We see Paul praying that God would give them spiritual wisdom and understanding of his words, that they know Him better. We see that he prays that they will live their life in awareness of the inheritance that Christ has given them, that they would experience the depth of God's power working in their life. In Philippians Chapter one versus three through verse 11, we see that Paul prays that their love would increase for one another and they would be devoted to one another. He prays that they would be able to discern what is re best with regarding to living out their faith in their life and discern the right direction for their life.
[00:28:19] He prays that they would possess more and more the righteousness of Christ is. That's what we're to pray for with people in classes. Chapter one verses 13 to 14. He continues this by praying that they would know and implement God's will within their life and that they'd live their life worthy of the Gospel of Christ and that there be fruitful in every good work. And Second Thessalonians Chapter one versus three through verse 12, he prays that they they would reflect God's call upon them and they would be empowered by God to accomplish their purpose. You see, how do we pray for our people? We need to pray for them spiritually and oftentimes and and rightfully so. It's good that we pray for their physical needs, but often times we neglect to pray for the spiritual needs of people. How many times is a bore do we spend time devoted to praying for people in our congregation? That is going through difficult times, whether that be illnesses, whether that be spiritual struggles with sin, whether it be struggles in their marriage? We need to be praying for those people. We also find in Scripture that we are commanded to pray as leaders for the physical and emotional needs of people. In James chapter five, verse 14 says, Those who are sick let them call upon the elders that one of our responsibility is to pray for people. That means we need to go visit them in the hospital. We need to go visit them in their home just to pray with them, to call them on the phone and say, How can I pray for you and to pray with them and for them. Third, John, Chapter two. He also calls us to pray for the physical and emotional needs of and health of people.
[00:30:08] You see, when we meet as a board, the most important activity we do, the most important thing on the agenda is prayer. And yet that's oftentimes the most neglected thing on the agenda. Oftentimes the board meetings go something like this. We get together, we sit around the table after we discuss the latest events going on in the sports world or the political world or the economic world. We we then get started and we say, well, Fred, would you lead us in prayer? And Fred leads us in in a quick prayer and says, Well, Lord bless this meeting and give us wisdom to make the right decisions. And then that's the extent of our prayer. And so then we jump into the business of the church, and then we wonder why our church continues to struggle, why we have conflicts in our church, why people are struggling with sin in their life and don't seem to have victory because we've neglected to pray. So how do we increase the prayer of our church? How do we increase our our prayer as a as a leaders within the church? I suggest to you several things to help us in terms of building prayer within our leadership. First of all, I want to encourage you in your board meetings to spend at least the first half hour devoted to praying not 5 minutes, not 2 minutes, but at least the first half hour and preferably even longer in prayer. What are and what are we to pray for? Well, first of all, we should pray for the agenda, to go through the agenda and pray for God's direction and his wisdom. We need to be praying for people in our current nation that are going through difficult times.
[00:31:57] One of the advantages of a small church is that we know the struggles people are facing in their life. We know those who are who are struggling with sin. We know those who are struggling in their marriage. We know. Those who are struggling with their finances. We know those who are struggling with health. We know those who are worried about their jobs. And so we need to pray specifically for them. Thirdly, we need to pray for the programs of the church, for the various ministries of the church. And then fourthly, we need to pray for the pastor and for the other leaders within the different ministries of the church that they will have wisdom and direction as they preach and lead and teach. You see so many times we we face difficult issues in the church. Things come up and we we get into the debate of what we should do. And even those debates get heated at times. And and we try to wrestle through and sometimes we get offended, even if what others have said. And so division starts to happen. And instead of stopping in and saying we need to determine the mind of God, let's spend time in prayer, because prayer is aligning our will with God. So many times we approach prayer is it's aligning God's will with ours. But the reality is prayer is aligning our will with God's. And so when we're faced with decisions, especially difficult decisions where there's perhaps some disagreement on the board, we need to stop and then pray, pray for unity, pray for the mind of God. So that's the first thing I want to challenge you with, is to spend at least a half hour in prayer at every board meeting and preferably longer.
[00:33:45] Secondly, one of the advantages that we can do as a small church is divide up the congregation so that every single board member takes a section of the church and prays for them on a weekly basis, but not just prays for them, but also then calls them up and said, How are things going and How can I pray for you? So that everyone in our church is being prayed for weekly. And then third, they think through ways to build prayer within the church. It may involve a 24 hour day of prayer and may involve spending more time in prayer and a church service. It may involve being more focused so that when we have our different meetings and different organizational meetings in our or AC meetings or our youth meetings, that we're spending time in prayer. We need to lead the church into prayer. If the church is to be effective, it needs to be based upon prayer. If we are to be effective in leaders as leaders, we have to be people of prayer. Effective leadership doesn't start with our abilities. It starts with our prayer life and our dependency upon God. We're called to be leaders of prayer.