Characteristics of Godly Leaders- Drunkeness

EatDrink& Be Merry_

Something that I have learned over the years is that when it comes to policies regarding drinking alcohol different denominations, regions, Pastors, and even congregants have strong & differing opinions on the subject.  There are some who believe there should be total abstention, others who believe the opposite, and then there the many opinions that fall between.  Occasionally.  Regularly, in moderation.  Certain types are ok, others are not.  It’s a pretty wide cavern to cross.

Today, instead of getting into the debate of if and when, let’s talk about why this matters.

Why Does Avoiding Drunkenness Matter?

Something worth noting is that drunkenness can directly affect all of the characteristics of godly leadership we’ve already covered, and the ones still to come.   If you are drunk, how can you be above reproach… if you can’t remember the events of the evening?  How many times have we heard of an affair or one night stand blamed on a night of heavy drinking?  What about losing our temper or losing self control due to being drunk?  How can we teach a good example or a lesson when were are intoxicated?  Domestic abuse has plenty of connection to being drunk, argumentativeness too.  Money has been wasted on a night out drinking, or keeping the cabinet stocked full.  A drunk is not respected by others, including their spouse and children.  A drunk will often have a bad reputation and may fall into disgrace often, blaming alcohol for their poor judgement.

In other words, if you are intoxicated to the point of drunkenness… how can you meet these standards of leadership?  Whether you stand the side of absolute abstinence or will allow for occasional or moderated consumption, we should all be able to agree that drunkenness isn’t good for anyone.  Leaders being held to higher standards, as we set the bar and expectation, even more so should avoid drunkenness.

Some will assert that the best way to avoid being drunk is to avoid consuming alcohol entirely, “lest we be tempted”.   Yet, Scripture will point to wine being consumed regularly and at special events/occasions.  Jesus made wine from water.  The Bible says that we simply shouldn’t drink too much, right?  The argument can go in circles.  However there are some things you need to consider, as a leader.

What Does Your Denomination/Church Say on the Topic?

If you are a leader in a denomination or church which believes in total abstinence, as a leader you are expected to adhere to that rule.  When you agree to step into leadership at a particular church, you are also agreeing to abide by their rules for leaders.  Some churches will have stricter rules than others.  It is important to know these rules for yourself, your team, and your events.

If the church policy is total abstinence of drinking, have you ensured that your team members understand this policy?  If the church is fine with your consumption of alcohol in your own home, but not in public spaces… perhaps a ladies trip to the local vineyard for a wine tour is not appropriate.   We can’t claim ignorance on the topic, it is our responsibility to ask the church leadership what is and isn’t acceptable. 

I remember sitting in on a meeting where it was shared that a group of women had brought a bottle of wine to share in their hotel room while at a weekend long retreat.  This was new territory because the women’s ministry leadership team had never even considered that anyone would bring a bottle of wine to a church function.  The debate ensued between it being in the privacy of their own room, they were not drunk, and only a limited number of people knew about it.  On the other side of the equation was the question of would allowing it encourage others to do it, could it become a larger problem?   This resulted in a decision to make sure that in all future events of this nature, it was clearly stated in the “what to pack and what not to pack” information that alcoholic beverages were not to be brought.

If it wasn’t allowed, then everyone in attendance’s behavior was beyond reproach.  The church was represented well, and it’s reputation was not potentially tarnished.  Now, as I coach ministry leaders, I bring this up when we discuss event planning.  We must as a ministry stand in agreement with our church policies, and the leadership sets the tone.  If it is something you disagree with, you must ask if you can accept their terms or not.  When we are acting under the umbrella of our church, we become the face of our church.  Whatever our actions reflect about us, as a person, are also cast onto our church.

* Take the time to read the scriptures and ask the Lord to reveal to you His truth on this topic.

* Speak to your Pastor(s) and Staff/Leadership to ensure your ministry policies reflect the views of the church.

 

 

Characteristics of Godly Leadership: ABLE TO TEACH

AbleToTeach.png

We’ve been examining the characteristics of an overseer listed by the apostle Paul in I Timothy 3:2 and applying them to spiritual leadership. Because I’m a Bible teacher, this next quality is especially dear to my heart: “able to teach.”

But even as many aspire to teach, the Bible gives us a stern warning. James wrote: “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1 NIV).

Why would teachers incur a stricter judgment? Throughout His Word, God expressed His anger at false teachers and corrupt shepherds who led His people astray. He is protective of His people, and will judge those who leave His people hungry and unprotected.

Being a teacher, especially as a spiritual leader, means we have the ability and the opportunity to influence others for good or for bad. And when we teach in the name of Jesus, we must be careful that what we teach is consistent with the whole counsel of God’s Word.

So, in light of this warning, what does “able to teach” require? Let’s look at three areas:

Teachable

Before we consider Bible knowledge or relational skills, the spiritual leader who is able to teach must first be teachable.

A teachable teacher has a humble heart instead of an arrogant attitude.

Even though we’re 2,000 years removed from Jesus’ earthly ministry, she sits at His feet by spending time in His Word and being aware of the prompting of His Spirit.

She tackles her topic with a desire to learn before she prepares to teach the content.

Bible Knowledge

A spiritual leader isn’t a know-it-all about the Bible. But she is a student of God’s Word. She is “a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15 NIV).

She is a teacher who does not hijack a verse out of context. Instead, one who is able to teach studies the context of what she is teaching. What verses come before it? After it? Who was the original audience of that particular book of the Bible? Why did the writer write it?

One who is able to teach limits her teaching of the Bible to exegesis (drawing the meaning from the text and its context), and refuses to be drawn into eisegesis (teaching what she wants the passage to say rather than what it actually says).

A godly teacher will ensure that, as much as possible, she seeks to use the Bible to interpret itself. What she interprets a verse to mean in one place will never contradict what the Bible says elsewhere, for the Bible never contradicts itself.

Relational

One who is able to teach also treats her audience with respect. She doesn’t approach them as someone who has it all together or who has “arrived.” Rather, her perspective is that of a person traveling the same journey as those she is teaching.

A godly teacher knows her audience. Her vocabulary and illustrations will be consistent with the background of her listeners. The apostle Paul was a master of this. He said of himself, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (I Corinthians 9:22 NIV).

These are only a few of the characteristics of a godly spiritual leader who is “able to teach.” But they provide a good place to start!

Ava Pennington is an author, teacher, and speaker from the Treasure Coast of Florida.  You can read more of her work on her site: http://www.AvaWrites.com 

If you are looking for a great gift this season, consider Ava’s book:

Daily

Characteristics of a Godly Leader: Hospitable

Hospitality

I Timothy 3:2 speaks of another quality of a leader. Hospitality. It even says “…He must enjoy having guests in his home…” So you might say, “What? I have to enjoy having people over to my house? My house is not nice enough. It’s never clean. My kids and husband always have a mess going on. I can’t have people over. I don’t enjoy that at all!”

But let’s do a little thinking about this. If this is listed as a quality a leader should have, what can we do about this?

Did it say your house had to be clean and neat? No. Did it say you had to be perfect and have the most delicious meal prepared? No. Did it say you had to have the perfect children? No.

Okay. So let’s talk about the word, hospitality, first of all. Here’s the definition: “Hospitality: 1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. 2.the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”

Are you friendly? Can you treat people nicely? Can you be generous? Surely you can.

Did it say anything about your home being perfect, looking like it came straight from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine? No. Did it say you had to have perfectly behaved children? No.

Can you invite someone over, open your front door, pour a cold glass of water for someone, and be warm and friendly? Most likely you can.

People are lonely and craving love and attention. They just want to know someone actually cares.

Now all that aside, let’s talk about your house. Those children. That husband.

The Word actually mentions everything being done properly and in order (I Cor. 14:40). Now it was not talking about our homes in this scripture, but if God thought it important enough to mention it regarding our church services, don’t you think He probably would love our homes to be orderly? I believe so.

When I first got married, I was still in college. My husband and I were busy with studying, working, trying to make a good start in life. I was so busy that I didn’t always put things away where they belonged. I thought I’d do it later. But I learned a hard lesson. If friends dropped by, it was a little embarrassing to have to clean off the sofa for them to have a place to sit.

Maybe I would be in a rush to make lunch, but would have to stop and wash a knife or pan before I could prepare lunch. Why? I had not done the dishes since our last meal. Oh, yes, I had the excuse that I had been in class all morning. Or I had worked all afternoon.

But I soon learned that “Do it Now!” was a good motto. Put that thing where it belongs now, not later. Do those dishes now, if possible. They will come clean easier than waiting until the gunk has dried and gotten hard.

I had friends whose homes always looked nice. Not that they had expensive furniture or decor, but most everything was usually in its place and clean.

It didn’t take me long to realize the difference. I began telling myself, “Do it now!” I also read books on home organization.

As children came along, I began to teach them the habits necessary have a clean, neat and orderly home. Trust me. It didn’t always look that way. We were not perfect. But at least we weren’t slobs.

What about those husbands? Ladies, here’s what you do about them: Pray! Pray! Pray! I learned that God could change my husband more in two days through my praying than I could accomplish in a year’s worth of nagging. Prayer changes things.

hospitality1

So regarding hospitality, what’s holding you back? Make a list of things. Then start another list of what you can do to make changes. Start with one thing. Maybe it’s just establishing the habit of “Do it Now!”, not LATER.

Don’t wait until you’re perfect to start being hospitable. You’ll never do it. Find that woman who looks lonely or that couple who looks lost. Invite them over for dessert. That’s a start. No one said you have to “put on the dog” as we say in the south.

Just be yourself. What did that definition say? Warm, friendly and generous. That’s it.

Hospitality. It’s almost a “lost art”. Try it. You may like it.

As leaders our homes should be hospitable, warm … friendly… inviting… welcoming, to our spouses and children; as well as our neighbors, friends, and those we serve.  As we set the standard, let’s keep in mind that when those we serve see that we can still be welcoming into our own homes (as imperfect as they may be)… so can they.

hospitality2

 

Characteristics of Godly Leaders: RESPECTABLE

Respect.png

Character

We are called to be different from the world, to develop and display Christ like attributes.  We choose to be common, or we choose to be holy.  Just as the articles in the temple were consecrated and set apart as holy, we too must be holy and not allow ourselves to be used for common purposes.  Both our speech and our actions should reflect the character of Christ. If we do not lead by example, we are no better than the religious leaders in Christ’s day whose actions did not match their words.

Respectable

Paul calls godly leaders to be respectable in 1 Timothy 3:2.  The Greek word used is kosmios, which means orderly, modest, and virtuous.  This is where Latinized form of the word cosmos originated, with which we are more familiar.  We use cosmos to refer to the universe, but it also means to order, arrange, equip, adorn, and dress.  God put the universe in perfect order and dressed it in an array of light and color that mankind could never imagine, and is just beginning to discover.  He was deliberate and intentional in His creation. 

To be orderly is to adorn ourselves with purposeful and intentional speech, dress, and behavior.  What we say and do should always point to our savior and not to ourselves.  This means we should not be attention seekers.  Attention seeking takes on various forms, such as coarse language, suggestive dress, or unseemly actions, the opposite of which would be modesty.

Speech

Obscenity is used today by many for its shock value. It is also used by people who wish to be perceived as intimidating, and/or to sound common and fit in with what is considered the norm.  Paul says we should not use obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking (Ephesians 5:4).  This extends beyond using the Lord’s name in vain, for how does it glorify God when we use obscenity in our everyday speech or when we are angry? Likewise, we do not need to use obscenity to persuade unbelievers.  The Holy Spirit will appeal to unbelievers. We are to deliver the message in the manner prescribed by God and allow the Holy Spirit to do the convicting. 

Actions

Leaders should not engage in activities that bring disorder into their lives.  Examples would include the use of mind altering substances (legal or otherwise), such as marijuana.  Don’t allow the enemy to tear your testimony apart by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and be very mindful of the effects of prescription medications.  We need to avoid being drawn into arguments, gossip, or negative talk.  When we enter a room, leave the desire to be noticed behind.  Avoid “showing off”.  

God gave mankind the gift of free will.  He does not order us to make the right choices.  We also need to understand that we cannot control others.  We need to step back and allow those around us to make their own choices, good or bad.  This includes husbands, we are to trust God to work with them and not engage in telling them what to do.  Asking and accepting their answer is keeping God in control.  A leader should be a good example of godly humility and trust, especially in our home.

Lastly, suggestive dress should always be avoided.  The enemy uses this as a snare and it will not lead to anything God honoring.  Immodest dress creates ungodly chatter among women, and lustful desires among men.

Always be mindful that as leaders we are being observed and often emulated.  What we do and say can be used by God for His glory, or by the enemy as entrapment.

 

Characteristics of Godly Leaders: Self Control & Temperance

sct

As we continue to look at I Timothy 3:2 we see that a church leader must be someone who exercises self-control or demonstrate temperance.

This hits hard to some of us. I, for one, struggle with my weight. I’m going to be vulnerable here and just admit it. Food just really tastes good. And it’s fun to eat delicious food. It’s also such a social thing to do in our society. And not only that, but for some of us, food is an escape from reality as much as alcohol or drugs.

Some may say, “Well, those things are different!” I will agree that in some ways they are. We have to eat food to live, but we don’t have to have drugs or alcohol to live. In fact these things could kill us. But if we are truly honest, food can kill us too. Certain foods have been proven to be unhealthy. And overeating to the point of being overweight causes health issues, which can eventually cause death.

Ouch! Gracious! This article started out straight up and to the point.

But lest I appear to just be picking on those of us with weight issues, let me mention a few other areas I believe we need to demonstrate self control and temperance.

What about how much TV we watch? Or actually WHAT we watch on TV? There’s much too much junk on there.

What about those books we are constantly reading? Are we reading God’s Word too? What about all the time we spend on the internet?

What about our talk? What about that gossip? What about those harsh words that come out of our mouths to our spouse and children?

What about the way our homes look? Are we so busy doing other things that we don’t take care of the things with which God has blessed us? Are we so busy doing “godly work” that our families are suffering?

We as leaders in our churches must pray and maintain balance in our lives so that we are being good examples, demonstrating the qualities listed here in this scripture. Even though we are human like everyone else, we as leaders are looked up to and the world is following our lead. That is a sobering thought.

Is your life measuring up? Are you living as a good example of self control?

God help us to be diligent in rising above our human desires and let the Holy Spirit maintain control of our lives in every area so that we are truly leading the world into a relationship with Christ. And in doing this, we will be happier women. How so? Because following God’s way is always best.

Self control is not just something that is found as a qualification of a godly leader, but also listed as a Fruit of the Spirit.  We are all called to be self controlled, and leaders are expected to set the bar.  

Rest & Retreat Event, Part 2

NOV2018WMC

There is a difference between Rest and Retreat.  Both are valuable, both help us to feel refueled, and both will bring peace.  Equally important, but for different reasons and purposes.

Resting is when we shed the world, quiet our bodies, and allow them to be still.  Whether it’s sitting in our favorite chair, reading a good book, or sliding into the comfort of our bed for a night of sleep; rest is something our bodies need.  God, spent six days on His creation… not missing a single detail, on the seventh day He rested.  Then in His wisdom, He called His people to rest on the seventh day, remembering the Sabbath and keeping it Holy.  He knew that His people needed rest.

Rest is good for our bodies, it is where our bodies repair and our minds find reprieve.  If I am going too hard, too fast, I can’t find moments to be still in God.  When I fail to create margin in my life, I become stressed and overwhelmed.  All of which affect our bodies, minds, and emotions negatively.  We burn out.  This is why Moses’ Father-in-Law came to him and advises him to find men who could help him with the little things, otherwise leading the nation would be too much.  We were never mean to carry our burdens alone.

As ministry leaders, rest is something we need to factor into our schedule.  It isn’t wise to jam pack the year full of one big activity after another.  You will burn out yourself, your team, and even the women you serve.  Follow larger events with something more simple, plan rest.  We also want to make sure we are not stacking up highly emotional events on top of one another.  We need to allow our women time to recuperate their minds and hearts.  When we plan women’s retreats and conference trips, we need to make sure that we schedule in times of rest where the women can breathe and process what they have been learning.  Not planning events into the late evening and then expecting the women to be up bright and early the next day.  Rest is important, and we need to include it in our plan.

Rest is very passive, you are moving from action to stillness.  Retreating is different because it is active… when we retreat we are moving from one thing to another.  In it’s base definition, retreating is leaving danger for safety.  The Scriptures refer to God as our rock, refuge, shelter, fortress, and protector.  We retreat from the fallen world into the safety of God.

We may retreat into God daily through reading the Bible, praying, or doing studies.  It could be stepping away from the hustle and bustle of your day, and popping by the beach or going for a hike to connect with God’s in a slower pace.  Retreat is something that is reactive.  When we feel pressure, or the world closing in on us, our natural response is to flee from it.  But, retreat is also something that can be purposeful.

getawayWe can plan retreat time into our day, by carving out a set time that we connect with God directly and intentionally.  Or, it can be particular day set aside each month where you chose to immerse yourself in Him.  For some of us, we could accomplish this in our homes.  However, that isn’t always possible (depending on your home circumstances) and you may find it is better to actually plan a day or weekend away.  In Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, she shares her own experiences of Personal Retreats and outlines various options for planning your own personal retreat.

I’ve never taken a personal retreat for myself.  This past year, I was arriving to a conference a day early and trying to determine what to do with my time.  Shortly before the trip, I had read Getaways with God, and decided this was a perfect opportunity to have a mini personal retreat.  Once pulled away from my normal life, distraction free, I was able to really take a look at myself and life.  During this time God revealed things that I was ignoring and needed to address.  I was able to unload a lot of things, as I journaled and prayed.  I was emptied of all the junk I had been carrying around, and that left me ready to receive and filled back up by the speakers at the conference.     ~Gena McCown

As Ministry Leaders, we need to encourage our women to retreat into God on a regular basis.  When planning Women’s Retreats for your church, find the balance between giving her time to rest but also intentionally retreating into God.  Something to consider:

  • Set the Standard:  Model for the women in your church the importance of scheduling both rest and retreat into your life.  Share how this benefits you, and encourage these habits in others.
  • Schedule in Rest:  When planning events, make sure to give your team and women rest after.  When heading off to large conferences, consider adding an extra day before or after to allow the women to rest.  When planning your own Women’s Retreat, be sure to not overschedule the women.  Give them opportunities to have a good night of sleep and downtime throughout the weekend to rest, or pull away and spend one on one time with God.
  • Team Retreats:  When planning your ministry year, considering pulling away and retreating together into God.  A Team Retreat that pulls our focus off the world and into the Kingdom, can help us build a ministry calendar that reflects God’s heart and vision for the ministry direction over our own or influenced by others.  

The holidays are always full of activities and our schedules are jam packed with things to do.  In the spirit of Rest & Retreat, and in thanks to Kregel Publications, we reserved one copy of Letitia Suk’s book for an online giveaway!  Couldn’t we all use some alone time with God?  Maybe we are not sure what that looks like?  Getaways with God includes samples schedules for retreats, ideas on what to pack, and more.

To Enter:

  • Comment on this article, our Facebook page, or mention us on Social Media
  • Use the Hashtags:  #GetawaysWithGod and #WoMinCouncil
  • One entry per comment, you have unlimited opportunities to enter!
  • All comments/entries must be made by 11:59pm EST on 12/4/2017
  • One random entry will win a copy of Letitia Suk’s book Getaways with God, 2018 Calendar, and Journal.
  • Winner announced 10am EST on 12/5/2017

Rest & Retreat Event, Part 1 of 2

 

The Women’s Ministry Council ended our 2017 year meeting in a new location.  CareNet Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast has opened up their new facility as hosts for the WMC meetings in 2018.  This is a blessing for us, and an answer to prayer.  We are so excited about this partnership and to be able to bring our leaders through the doors of CareNet and see how they serve the women in our community.

We were also blessed to be joined by Rozanne Brown of CareBag and Kenya Reinhard from 4Kids Treasure Coast, as guest speakers.

CareBag is a non-profit organization that serves the homeless in the Treasure Coast, as well as helping those transitioning from homelessness into housing.  What WMC loves about Carebag is not only that they are serving the least of these in our area, but it’s not just about giving them provisions but helping to restore dignity.   CareBag is currently fundraising for a mobile shower truck, that would be made available to our “neighbors without walls”.  Being about to shower isn’t just about being clean, but also about lifting up one’s mood.  Who doesn’t feel better after a good shower?  In addition, it allows these residents of our community to be presentable for job interviews as they try to stabilize their lives.  Please visit CareBag’s site to learn more about how you can help with the fundraising project, volunteer when CareBag serves out in the field, or other ways you can support the good work being done in our community.

Partner with CareBag as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Follow CareBag’s Facebook Page for any immediate needs that can be met.
  • Host a collection drive for supplies that can go into CareBag’s that are delivered to the community.
  • Hold a fundraiser at your next Women’s Ministry event toward the Mobile Shower Unit.
  • Talk with your Pastor about financially supporting CareBag.
  • Volunteer in the community with CareBag as a ministry team.

4Kids Treasure Coast serves our foster community by connecting children with foster parents, support for those who are fostering, and those who move from fostering to adoption.  As they partner with churches, they are also able to create a network of support within the church as families open their homes to foster children.  Frankly, we need more Foster Families in the Treasure Coast.  4Kids is raising awareness on how we can all support this need.  You can become a Foster Family, donate toward building and equipping Foster Homes and Facilities, and also by supporting the Foster Families in your church (or encouraging more families to consider fostering).  For more information on becoming a Foster Family, or how to introduce fostering to your church… please visit 4Kids Treasure Coast’s site.

Partner with 4Kids Treasure Coast as a Women’s Ministry by:

  • Volunteering at the 4Kids offices stuffing information folders, mailers, and general needs.
  • Host a collection drive for items that foster children/families may need.
  • Fundraise toward the costs of building and equipping 4Kids Homes.
  • Create a stack of prayer cards for 4Kids to pass on to the children, foster parents.
  • Become a liaison in your church coordinating support for your foster family needs.  What a great position to add to your Women’s Ministry Team!

We’d like to thank Kregel Publications for donating copies of Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, for our drawing prizes.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday, come back to the site for a recap on the remained of our “Rest & Retreat” event and information on how you too could win a copy of Getaways with God!

getaway