Given the make-up of today’s world, leaders face a major challenge in providing coordination in the Church. We live in a world where people want to do what is right in their own eyes. They desire choices. At the same time, we also live in a world where people long to be a part of something big, something that makes a difference, something going somewhere.
Church leaders must help people see God’s big picture plan as worth their time and effort and at the same time give them freedom to respond and serve creatively, in ways that fit them, but still bring them under the umbrella of God’s purposes, design, and mission for the Church.
3 reminders in the Great Commission should provide help in our coordination efforts:
Both church leaders and the congregation as a whole need to remember that it isn’t about them. When we grab hold of God’s big picture, we find greater motivation to work together as a coordinated whole to accomplish God’s purposes, design, and mission. When we’re all governed by the following three truths found in the Great Commission, we’ll be more likely to replace our personal agendas with His and hence, be able to come together, coordinated “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).
1) We are under His authority.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt. 28:18)
A problem so often faced by leaders trying to coordinate individual ministries into the whole, is that it might come across as micro-managing, something people don’t like. As a leader, make it about bringing people into account to Him, not to you. Be sure they know it’s not about what you want, but what He wants.
2) We are on mission with Him
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19-20a)
God’s concern is that none would be lost (2 Pet. 3:9) and that all grow up into Him (2 Pet. 3:18). Use this as a reminder that we are there to serve, to be used by God to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus who love God with all of who they are and others as themselves, not to push our own agendas. It’s not merely about our programs, but rather the people we serve.
3) The Lord Jesus is in our midst.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt. 28:20b)
Jesus prayed that we all may be one (Jn. 17:20-21). He emphasized servanthood and humility when some of the disciples sought a greater position (Lk. 9:46-48). If we truly believe this Jesus is in our midst, are we really going to go off on our own and do our own thing in opposition to His intent and design for the Church? In addition, His presence lets us know that coordination is possible despite the difficulties, for where He is, so is His power. It’s about reflecting Him and relying on Him, not on ourselves.
Lesson for leaders about coordination governed by the Great Commission:
The less you make the ministry about you and the more you put the focus on God and His purposes, design, and mission for the Church, the more motivated you’ll be to help the Body work together as a coordinated whole. The more people sense that their accountability and allegiance belongs to God, the more they’ll be motivated to line up what they do in accordance with His purpose, design, and mission. You will then more graciously and willingly serve together, “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Phil. 2:1-4), working on what matters to Him, knowing that He is right there with you each step of the way seeing what you’re doing and empowering you to work in harmony. That’s coordination governed by the Great Commission.