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There are two handouts on this page:

First handout prepared for Continuing Ministerial Education Day, Diocese of Chichester (November 2004)

BUILDING THE BODY OF CHRIST

The role of leadership

Within the body of Christ, God-given diversity is to be welcomed; if we were all the same, the body would be unable to function. Leaders need to teach and model the valuing of diversity - in general, and in ministry. They also need to encourage, and provide opportunities for every member to play their part in building by serving according to their gifting. Those who play their part are themselves built up as they contribute to the building up of the whole body of Christ. If members are not playing their part, the body is disabled, there is strain upon other members, and God's purposes are not served.

For building up to be effective, leaders must teach and model values which are fundamental to life as members of the body of Christ (see other hand-out sheet). The leaders' manner of life, and in particular their relationships, set the tone - positively or negatively. On any building site, building is doomed if foundations are being undermined faster than bricks are being laid. Choosing not to forgive, harbouring resentment, grumbling, slandering, practising deceit in order to achieve a particular end... all undermine any building taking place.

The words diakonia and diakonos are the commonest way of referring to ministry in the New Testament. Jesus taught and modelled servanthood, and stressed its indispensability in the lives of his followers. Such teaching went against the culture of his day - perhaps it does so even more today. Unless servanthood is also being modelled by the leadership as a `normal' way of life, everyone will assume that teaching about it is not to be taken seriously.

`Servant leadership' does not mean `doing it all'. Neither does it mean `all giving and no receiving'. The example set by Jesus includes encouraging others - including some whom many might have dismissed as unsuitable - to participate in ministry. Jesus was also willing to receive, allowing others to serve him. All of us who seek to follow Christ with servant hearts can benefit from praying daily for the character of Christ (see the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) to be formed in us. As `serving one another in love' (5:13b) becomes the norm in any community, the good news is that the leaders benefit as much as everyone else!

In the next section, please find a selection of scriptures. Their full relevance will only become apparent as you read the passages from which they are drawn

Strength in God-given diversity

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us... (Romans 12:4-6).

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good... the body is not made up of one part but of many... If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!"...' (1 Corinthians 12:7, 14, 17-21)

Building

...make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification... Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up (Romans 14:19, 15:2)

Try to excel in gifts that build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12b)

Paul writes of `the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down' (2 Corinthians 13:10).

It was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up... From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:11-12, 16).

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20).

Servanthood

Jesus said, `You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Matthew 20:25-28).

Jesus said, `I am among you as one who serves' (Luke 22:27).

Jesus said, `Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you...' (John 13:14-15)

...serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13b)

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10).

 

 

Second hand-out for CME Day, Chichester Diocese (November 2004)

BUILDING UP THE BODY OF CHRIST

Leadership includes modelling how to live as members of the family of God, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as members of the body of Christ...

Jesus says:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

Paul writes:

In Christ... one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)

Let us stop passing judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)

Let us... make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)

Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. (Romans 15:2)

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)

I am convinced... that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)

Greet one another with a holy kiss. (Romans 16:16, and other refs.)

...there should be no division in the body... its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:25-27)

When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (1 Corinthians 14:26)

Serve one another in love... `Love your neighbour as yourself.' If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Galatians 5:13-15)

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10)

Be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (Ephesians 5:19)

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)

In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Do not lie to each other. (Colossians 3:9)

Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. (Colossians 3:13)

Teach and admonish one another. (Colossians 3:16)

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

[in context of Christ's second coming] Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Encourage one another and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Live in peace with each other. (1 Thessalonians 5:13)

Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

Other New Testament writers:

Encourage one another daily... so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together... but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Do not slander one another. (James 4:11)

Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. (James 5:9)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)

Love one another deeply from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15)

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another. (1 Peter 5:5)

Greet one another with a kiss of love. (1 Peter 5:14)

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. (1 John 4:7)

Anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21)