Last week I summarised chapter 2 of Knowing God by Jim Packer. In that chapter he gave 4 marks of Christian living which result from a deep knowledge of God:
- Great energy For God
- Great thoughts of God
- Great boldness for God
- Great contentment in God
Packer suggests reflecting on where we are weak so that, having made an assessment, we might ask God to strengthen us in those areas. This venn diagram is designed to help us reflect on these four inter-related areas of Christian leadership.
A – the clamorous crusader
Energetic, bold, with a big picture of God but lacking peace and contentment.
This leader exudes everything except the peace of God through faith in Christ (Romans 5:1-8). This lack of peace leads to frenetic leadership which often lacks humility. As C.J. Mahaney writes, anyone in this situation needs to spend a season soaked in the doctrine of adoption. I’d add the discipline of meditation on what it means to be united to Christ and to own his imputed righteousness.
B – the timid teacher
Energetic, with big thoughts of God, content but timid.
This leader does all things well at church. He’s a great teacher, who runs programmes with enthusiasm and does it all with a sense of shalom. What’s missing is boldness in mission, evangelism and a lack of directness in challenging individuals and the congregation to live for God. This leader is not quite sure of God and His word.
This person needs to spend a season memorising the great promises of God in scripture. “Fear not, for I am with you” Isa 43:5, “be strong and courageous for I the Lord your God am with you” Josh 1:8 and so on. These verses need to be planted deep in the heart so that when faced with tough choices, he’ll do or say the bold thing.
C – the blinkered builder
Energetic, bold and content but with a small view of God.
This person comes across as totally sold out for God but the God which he follows is unattractive because He is small.
Ways to expand our view of God include the disciplines of systematics and biblical theology. There are no short cuts to getting a big view of God. John Frame’s The Doctrine of God and Goldworthy’s According to Plan are good places to start, then we must keep reading to expand our knowledge of God.
D – the lethargic leader
Bold, content, big thinking but demotivated or just plain tired.
This is perhaps the default position for present day church leaders; burnt out by being busy. It is easy to get tired and when tiredness creeps in, lethargy follows, contentment wanes and boldness evaporates. Time for God and with God is used up by work and so God becomes small in our view once again. I’ve written on avoiding ministry burnout which gives symptoms and strategies to avoid this slippery slope.
But tiredness and burnout is different from lethargy. Life can be fairly quiet and still the Christian does little work. And so, the antidote to lethargy is also found in knowing God. It is the cross which makes all the difference to the lethargic. If a Christian is demotivated, he has probably lost sight of the cross, and the pain Christ was willing to suffer to make peace between God and sinners.
God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:27-29
E – the complete Christian leader
Energetic, bold, content and with a big view of God
Lord, give me the wisdom to order my days here on earth that I might be all things through the knowledge of Christ my Saviour and Lord. Amen