In Philippians 4:2, Paul begins the final section of his book to the church at Philippi. He states, “I entreat [urge, plead with] Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together…” The Bible does not share a great deal of information about these two women. Obviously, they had labored together with Paul and now they were having relational issues. Paul makes some interesting statements here in the passage regarding relational health within the body.
In the short yet powerful epistle of 3 John, the reader is presented with a comparison. On the one hand there is the Godly leader Gaius who apparently was impacted personally by John’s leadership and ministry. If you look closely at the first several verses, you will notice that John was committed to truth, hospitality and sharing the Lord’s work with other leaders. John was a collaborative leader and Gaius faithfully followed in John’s footsteps. These men contrast with the egotistical leader named Diotrephes. John notes that this leader was so preoccupied with his own greatness and agenda he actively pushed away anyone not assisting him in his all-consuming quest for preeminence.
If you are a leader, God has called you to an immense work. You are responsible for directing people, and those same people are looking to you as an example and holding you accountable for your actions. Let this reality both humble and fuel you.
At IBL, this Thanksgiving month, we give thanks to God for our brothers and sisters in Christ who partner with us financially and in faithful prayer support. Please continue partnering with us each month, by looking for an updated Prayer Guide the first Tuesday of the month.
Several years ago I wrote a book on decision-making in the local church, in which I addressed how to know when to be decisive. Many leaders struggle with discerning when they should make a unilateral decision versus when to pause and listen to the views of other members of the leadership team. The question becomes, “is this a situation that requires me to lead unilaterally, or is it better to allow others’ perspectives to shape and guide the final outcome?”
To be completely honest, I’m surprised that we even need to focus on the topic of daily devotions. It is an obvious practice that all Christians ought to be utilizing. In our churches we encourage new believers to develop this foundational practice. So it should be second nature for God’s leaders to have a daily time alone with God. Yet we at IBL know by experience that many leaders skip right past this crucial time as they head into the hectic workday serving Christ and His Kingdom. Unfortunately, it is commonplace as we counsel couples having significant personal spiritual struggles, or as we coach individuals stressed by the weight of leadership decisions, that we find ourselves needing to give counsel about the practice of daily devotions.
One of the realities in team ministry is the constant challenge of working graciously with other ministry team leaders. It is commonplace for ministries to be lacking in resources, and it is therefore also commonplace for ministry leaders to be over-worked and underpaid.
In Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired letters, he asked believers for their prayers. To the Romans he wrote, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” Romans 15:30
In our training resource, “The Biblical Basis for Co-laboring Team Ministry,” IBL highlights an important truth in God’s plan for leaders in the church: God calls for His people to co-labor as they serve in His kingdom.
Focus. How elusive it is. Demands of ministry. Urgent needs. Crises. Schedules full to overflowing. Never-ending stress. Intensity! Those of us on the IBL team face these conditions more often than not. I’ve often said to my wife, “We’re so busy we don’t know how to cram one more thing into our schedule.” How about you?
In our pursuit of serving biblical leaders, we are starting several series of practical articles covering a variety of topics helpful for ministry leaders. Today’s article is the first in a series called Shepherd to Shepherd. This series will feature pastors writing honestly about the varied challenges of faithful service.
In 1 Corinthians 16:6, Paul wrote to the church of Corinth that he hoped to spend significant time with them so that they could help him on his journey. In many ways, this is exactly what IBL did for Whitneyville Bible Church (WBC).
In April 2017, we will travel to Kijabe, Kenya to continue a training program with thirty-one pastors and church leaders. The week-long training event consists of fourteen sessions in specific areas of Christian theology, pastoral ministry, and biblical leadership. These classes have been designed to meet the specific needs of church leaders in Kenya.
As we enter the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, we give praise and thanks to our heavenly Father for His steadfast love and care for us and those we serve. You have been generous in the past. Thank you! We again ask you to consider a year-end gift to support all that God is accomplishing through IBL.
Dr. Joel Tetreau and Dr. David Phelan will facilitate our upcoming Church Leadership Seminar in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Theme of the Seminar: Developing Lay Leaders in our Churches
Key principles and practices for church leaders as they seek to fulfill their God-given roles in the life of the church. The seminar will feature practical, discussion-oriented training regarding a leaders’ purposes, character, roles, and practices:
As we finished out our first term serving as missionaries overseas and knowing that we needed de-briefing during our forthcoming home assignment, we were referred to a ministry we had never heard of before, The Institute of Biblical Leadership (IBL). As you will see, IBL was truly a God-send helping us in more ways than we could have imagined; and we are healthier and more prepared for serving the Lord in ministry having crossed paths with them.
In IBL’s coaching, consulting and counseling ministries we are often involved in one-on-one mentoring situations with ministry leaders. These are intimate and privileged relationships borne from a trust that is earned over time, tested, and blessed by God. The foundation of these relationships is unconditional love, and the singular objective is to help leaders develop greater degrees of victorious living, as reflected in their personal lives and public ministries.
After more than twenty-five years of using essentially the same logo—a globe and cross resting on an open Bible—this year we have made a major revision which better communicates the purpose of our ministry.
The internet is a powerful tool with almost limitless potential. One of the major ways that it’s affected everyday life is through online shopping. Now, people can order books, movies and so much more from the comfort of their own homes.
As we enter the final months of celebrating our twenty-fifth year of ministry, and my first year of leading IBL as President, the words of Paul to the Corinthians are rich with application. First, they are a clear reminder and admonition that all our efforts be built upon the solid foundation of Christ as He is revealed in scripture.
Most of the time… I hate crisis! Usually a crisis is crushing and physically if not emotionally exhausting! The Scriptures are clear that, while I may desire to run from a crisis like a six-year-old runs from broccoli, as a servant of Christ crises in my life and ministry often cannot be avoided! The good news is that, when responding rightly to crises, they can actually be spiritually, emotionally and even physically good for me.
Twenty-five years... WOW! It doesn’t seem possible. During this first quarter century the Lord has taken us through a whirlwind of blessed opportunities to build in the lives of ministry leaders all around the world. It is fitting at this juncture for me to consider how my remaining time in IBL can best be invested.
In 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 Paul informs the Corinthians of his decision to remain for a time at Ephesus, “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he found approximately twelve disciples.
In preparing our recent issue of our newsletter, Side-by-Side, I had the opportunity to review literally hundreds of photos of IBL’s twenty-five years of ministry to thousands of leaders across the U.S. and around the world (one of my favorites is shown at the left). Since my own personal involvement with IBL dates from 1994— when Russ came to the church I attended in upstate New York to facilitate us in a long-range planning process—many of these photos brought back wonderful personal memories of God’s work in my churches and in the lives of my friends.
My grandfather sexually abused my mother as she grew up. He committed suicide in the county jail, leaving his family destitute. My widowed grandmother met a man with no room for children. Within a month, my mother turned seventeen, graduated, and married, and then her mother married and moved away.
For the past decade IBL has had a growing involvement in the southwest United States. We are grateful for the many opportunities God has given us to impact pastors, leadership teams, and churches in that region of the country.