It happens way too often. It seems like it's almost a weekly occurrence that news breaks about a pastor or other spiritual leader caught up in moral failure. Whether it's money, fame or power, pride has overtaken them and the one who is entrusted to be the shepherd is suddenly caught up in unrepentant sinful behavior. The slide into sinful entanglement never happens overnight. It’s almost always a process in which there is a lack of accountability.
Spiritual leaders are often not held accountable by others. An unbiblical sense of authority over their congregation or community falls over them, and they can even begin to believe they are immune to moral failure. Many spiritual leaders also adopt a spirit of superiority that does not allow for congregational accountability.
In Colossians 1:24-29, the apostle Paul reveals that his goal as a pastor is to present those whom God has placed him to shepherd as fully mature on the Day of the Lord. He further identifies 5 objectives he must meet in order to accomplish this purpose.
While the sermon provides a more complete context, I wanted to give a brief review to help us remember these five objectives in order that God would keep the staff and leadership at Wellspring accountable before the Lord. As a church family, we invite you to participate in this accountability as well, as we may develop blind spots that eventually lead to pride or ways that the enemy could distract us from the mission.
1. To strive for personal integrity and spiritual growth. (Colossians 1:24)
We will never be perfect people on this earth, but we must be striving for personal holiness and to eradicate sin in our lives. How could any pastor expect the same from the congregation if he is not living a life of Godly character and growing each day?
2. To represent servant leadership. (Colossians 1:25a)
There is no room for selfish ambition in the church. Our purpose as stated in our vision is to "Glorify God by Making Disciples for Jesus Christ." If we believe that somehow the congregation is in any way beneath us, or we are making disciples for ourselves, we must understand that God will not allow this attitude to continue for long before He corrects things.
3. To preach the whole word of God. (Colossians 1:25b)
We believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture, and we believe that it is entirely divinely inspired by God. Therefore we must not shy away from teaching passages that are difficult to read, to hear, or understand. A church body never matures if they only hear the same over-simplified stories time after time, and are never challenged with difficult truths.
4. To proclaim and glorify Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (Colossians 1:28a)
Any passage of scripture can be preached out of context, compartmentalized or manipulated to suit a certain point-of-view. We know that the entire Bible points to Christ, telling the story of God's redemptive plan culminating in the death, burial, resurrection and glorification of Christ. He is everything, and everything we do as a church must result in glorifying Christ and Christ alone.
5. To remain humble. (Colossians 1:29)
We must recognize that the power to accomplish anything comes directly from God's own desire to work His supernatural power in and through us. A person may have all the talent, vision and charisma in the world, but if they fall into the trap of self-glorification, God will not wait long before demonstrating that He will not share His glory with anyone.
“Success can go to my head, and will unless I remember that it is God who accomplished the work, that He can continue to do so without any help, and that He will be able to make out with other means whenever He cuts me down to size.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
With these five objectives in mind, please don't hesitate to reach out and contact us if you sense that we are slipping in any of these areas. We at Wellspring are a family. We are interconnected, depending on one another as the Body of Christ. Again, none of us are perfect, but all of us need to spur each other on towards the goal of perfection in Christ. A church that is united in this manner will be a force against the kingdom of darkness as we build God’s kingdom in this place.
~Steve Gibson, Lead Pastor of Wellspring Church