Last night our leadership—elders, deacons, and elders-at-large—met together. I began our time together with a quote from the book, Leading with Love: “Although Christianity is unmatched among the religions of the world in its teaching about God’s love and the requirements of love for Christian believers, Christian leaders don’t normally focus on love when they address leadership. Much good material has been written describing the leadership qualities of courage, resourcefulness, charisma, conviction, perseverance, visionary thinking, self-discipline, decisiveness. Yet few books on church leadership include anything about love. This is a tragic oversight since the New Testament makes it clear that love is indispensable to the gifts of leading and teaching. Indeed, the New Testament mandates that spiritual gifts be exercised in love. As Paul puts it, any attempt at leading and teaching apart from love is like “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). To have all of the above leadership qualities but not love spells total failure for a Christian leader (1 Cor. 13:1-3).”
Then I asked, “What are we doing well in our church loving one another?” It was encouraging to hear of the many ways the Lord is working through His people in love, from warmly welcoming our guests on Sunday morning, to our ministry to our children, widows, people who are sick and injured, people in need, and so much more.
Next was this question, “What are ways that we can grow in love for one another?” The first response was, “Focus on our own relationship with the Lord and holding firm to His word.” That is exactly right, as the Spirit is the one who produces love in our lives (Gal. 5:23). This was followed by many practical responses, such as seeing what you do in ministry as love for the Lord and others, taking the initiative in reaching out to people, inviting someone you don’t know that well over for dinner, taking someone out to lunch, praying for one another, and taking time to give a word of encouragement.
What a joy it is to minister with men who lead in love! May the Lord encourage you today to be a blessing to someone today as you fervently love from the heart (1 Peter 1:22).