Leadership – Calling of Our Time

Alex Zhong

In this fast pace world there is something new that comes up everyday and nothing seems predictable. However, God’s will and the work of the Holy Spirit is still visible.  Situated in this particular time, have you ever heard the calling of the generation for spiritual leadership? Even though we might have sensed the calling, many of us know very little about the principles and implementation of church leadership training.  Spiritual leaders do not necessarily refer to the popular charismatic figures. Whoever resolves to serve God ought to ponder the meaning of spiritual leadership.

Our long-awaited seminar retreat for leadership training was held at the “Christian Leadership Renewal Center” last April.  Our thirst was quenched and we were enlightened by the inspiring messages.  Brother Bellman Lin was one of our guest speakers and taught us “The Principles and Implementation of Church Leadership Training”.  Through his faithful ministry experience of serving the Lord for sixty some years, he presented this topic thoroughly with four messages: “God is Seeking Spiritual Leaders”, “Qualifications of Spiritual Leaders”, “The Principles of Leadership Training”, and “The Implementation of Leadership Training.” Due to the limited space here, I will only share two aspects with you.

I. The commission God gives to the spiritual leaders

As we reflect on the past history, we see that God always sought, chose, and entrusted spiritual leaders.  From Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Paul, and other early Church leaders, and leaders throughout the centuries, they were not just “used” by God but were really “entrusted” by Him.  Through Godly leaders God accomplished His work and led His church, therefore, in God’s eternal plan, leaders carry important responsibilities and missions.  It was true in the past and it is still true today.  The spiritual condition of the church is often determined by the spiritual condition of the leaders.

Since spiritual leaders are commissioned by God, the requirements for leadership extend to include a lot more than just abilities. It demands spiritual maturity and total submission to God.  There are two kinds of leaders, one refers to God’s kingdom and the other refers to the local church. The former focuses on the vision of God’s overall plan and God’s will for the entire generation; the latter focuses on leadership in the local church and church administration. Commissioned by God, leaders ought to examine whether their roles fit into God’s overall will rather than limit themselves in the current affairs.

II. The preparation of leadership

As we observe Biblical history, God always took time to prepare leaders.  He prepared them to be capable for their tasks, moreover, in the process he matured them in spirit and in character.  Many Christians today complain that they are too busy that they cannot find time to serve the Lord.  But they really miss the point that busyness is actually the consequence rather than the cause. Our ministry ought to be the result of continuous relationship and close walk with God. Our spiritual experience is growth not merely “spiritual feelings”, not dependant on mere Biblical knowledge. What we really need to focus on is of spiritual maturity. Our familiar Biblical passage Psalm 23 vividly describes a personal spiritual journey.  Spiritual maturity plays an important part in the personal growth of leaders.  A godly leader seeks and submits to God’s will, and is willing to be molded by God.  Without mature character, a leader is unlikely to be entrusted by God.  The characteristics of each individual include personality and character.  Personality is formed by birth; however, character is gradually developed and molded after birth.  Through God’s grace our character is transformed, and through the Holy Spirit our character is gradually matured.  A leader should examine himself to see what his weakness is and pray earnestly for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.  From personal experiences with God throughout different circumstances, the leader’s character is molded and developed to be more Christ-like.

Reflection on Leadership Training Seminar Retreat

Van Huynh

When I was invited to attend the “Church Leadership Training Seminar Retreat”, I felt undeserved because I didn’t play an important role in the church, but after giving some consideration, I thought that it was a good opportunity to receive training which may be useful in the future, so I registered.

That Thursday afternoon, I got off early from work and drove to the Christian Leadership Renewal Center in Virginia.  When I arrived at the center, I realized that in addition to RCCC’s elders and deacons, there were pastors and co-workers from other Chinese Churches from the Triangle area as well as from Greenville and Greensboro; we were over thirty in total number gathered together to learn and to be encouraged in the Lord. Brother Bellman Lin and Dr. John Hsu were our guest speakers for this training, and both of them are experienced and faithful servants of the Lord. With their rich personal ministry experiences and Biblical knowledge, they taught us the principles and implementation of training church leaders. At first, Brother Lin reminded us to pray not only to be simply “used” but also “entrusted” by God. Then, Dr. Hsu used the illustration of a long-term investment to explain that it takes time to mature our spiritual lives which is the foundation upon which our service in the church should be built. He explained that a growing life will naturally bear fruit, but a failing life exhibits no testimony. 

I find it impossible to describe all I learned, yet I know deep in my heart that my spiritual life was enlightened and lifted up.  In addition to spiritual nourishment I received from these messages, the fellowship time with other brothers and sisters in the Lord brought me great joy and warmth. Especially during my free time with Dr. Hsu, we had a chance to chat about the Chinese ministers and churches back in Vietnam years ago which brought me some sweet memories.

Whenever I attended a meeting which helped me grow spiritually, I would recall the incident of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain.  Filled with awe, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”  Indeed, it was good to be around with the spiritual leaders. Time passed fast, and the little more than two-day’s seminar retreat seemed so short. Now every trainee has already returned to his own church and continued his service. Yet, I believe that our attitude and foundation of service have changed; we know that our service is not just sacrifice but an honor, and that the foundation of our service is built on God from whom the life of truth, goodness, and beauty overflows.