By their very nature, boards, committees, or ministry teams are about a group of people coming together to work on a common goal. As already noted in a previous post, because these groups are made up of fallen human beings, the potential for disagreement, political maneuvering, and disunity exists. If our focus remains on self, or even on the horizontal plain (with one another), personal agendas and ungodly conflict will mark our boards, committees, or ministry teams. The answer? We need an upward-focus, on God, that supersedes all, if we are going to have Christ-like boards, committees, or ministry teams.
Jesus Demonstrated an Upward Focus and So Must We to be Christ-like
Jesus’ view of the Father set the course for how He maintained an upward focus. All He did was because of, through, and for the Father. As a result, He maintained His unity with the Father while making an eternal difference. When our church boards, committees, and ministry teams function accordingly, we become more purposeful and productive. Relationships within our meetings take on the dynamic they should as we aren’t focused on getting our own way or appeasing others. When we look upward, to God, what we do is for and about Him, not us. Let’s look at how Jesus viewed the Father and the implications for us to be Christ-like in our boards, committees, and ministry teams.
1) Jesus viewed the Father as the Sender to His Mission.
Numerous times we read of Jesus pointing to the Father as the One who sent Him (Jn. 5:36-37; 6:44, 57; 8:16, 18, 42; 12:49; 14:24; 17:21, 25; 20:21). In John 8:42, He made it clear saying, “I have not come on my own; God sent me.” Remembering that the Father was the One who commissioned Him to come to earth, undoubtedly kept Him looking to the Father as He fulfilled His purpose.
Implications: Let’s seek out people to be on our boards, committees, or ministry teams who sense God’s wants them to be there. If people serve simply because they couldn’t say “no”, because they thought it would be a platform to promote their cause, or for any reason other than that God wants them there, it will be difficult for them to submit both the process and outcome to God. Without that upward-focus, we open the door for potential trouble.
2) Jesus acknowledged the Father as the Source of authority.
Having been sent by the Father, Jesus submitted to the Father’s authority. Philippians 2:6-8 well describes how Jesus saw His position. — “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” So concerned about doing the Father’s will (Jn. 5:19), even in the face of a cruel death, Jesus was able to say, “not my will, but yours be done” (Lk. 22:42).
Implications: Chairpersons, pastors, or ministry leaders overseeing the board, committee, or ministry team must guard against using their position to regard themselves as superior to others on the team or as a tool to always get their own way. They too, along with all the group members, must seek God’s will, not their own. He must be their ultimate Source of authority in all they do.
3) Jesus set the Father up as the Standard to follow.
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (Jn. 5:17-23) Jesus’ objective was to line up all He did with the character, purposes, and ways of the Father.
Implications: How easy it can be for church boards, committees, and ministry teams to function like their counterparts in the world. Though the Church must fulfill certain business-like tasks, it is not a money-making business but rather a disciple-making ministry. Though the Church must get organized and coordinated, it is not an organization but rather a living organism. God must be the Standard we follow in all aspects of Church life.
4) Jesus made the Father the Seat of attention.
Jesus lived in such a way that He showcased the Father. He said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (Jn. 14:9) He was most concerned with God’s honor, expressed in some of His prayers. — “Father, glorify your name!” (Jn. 12:28) “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” (Jn. 17:4)
Implications: Christ-like boards, committees, and ministry teams can bring glory to God, putting Him in the Seat of attention, by being faithful stewards of their time and resources, working together in unity, exhibiting the heart and desires of God, and giving God the credit.