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If the gospel is modeled in their private lives, the church can have a gospel-centered-koinonia-culture. If they are not this in their private lives, the church cannot be what the leadership is not–except for a few exceptional outliers with that local body.
The Reason Behind this Podcast: I produced this podcast because I received another long email yesterday from a person who is struggling with the lack of community in her local church. She is one in a long list of emailers about this problem. While there may be hundreds of angles to the “lack of community” problem in a local church, I only dealt with one in this podcast: the leaders of the church. The reasons I did this are because…
Doing community well in a local church is every person’s challenge. The beginning of that challenge starts with the leadership. Your leaders are the pace-setters, the examples, the modelers of what the church should be. Ephesians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 11:1, and Philippians 4:9 are essential “imitating” verses that all pastors should be practicing.
Though they (or us) will never perfect this practice of imitating Jesus, the presence of the practice is non-negotiable if they are going to lead well. And the most important place for this kind of Christ-modeling to be happening is in their private lives.
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. – Ephesians 4:22
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. – Genesis 3:7
All churches are the same in that we all struggle with Adamic tendencies: shame, guilt, fear, and self-reliance. (There are many more.)
What sets a church apart starts with the pastor (or pastors) of the church. This means the pastor and his wife (one flesh) because they represent the community the church will most closely imitate.
Community (koinonia) assessment is not about these things:
Community assessment begins with the character of the pastor in 1 Timothy 3:1-7
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer
Unfortunately, we put the big data point on his ability to preach
A vital key when doing leadership assessment
A husband is from husbandman, which is a tiller of the soil, or what we say today is a gardener. The most objective data point in a pastor’s life, as far as his community skill set is concerned, is how he relates to his wife. She has received more of his relational care, communication skill, restorative help, and Christian experience than any other human in the world.
A short list of reciprocal community qualities of a good pastor and wife
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do;
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Average, but exceptional
Exceptional, but average
There will outliers in your church who get it and model it, but it will not and cannot be the majority report. The congregation will not rise above what is modeled behind the closed doors of the leadership.