Dear Friends, Colleagues and Churches,
As Western culture continues to experience turbulence in many sectors, there is an ever-present danger that we might allow culture to colonise the biblical functionality of both church practice and leadership.
The human spirit can easily be distracted by attempting to please others; the more energy we spend trying to cultivate relevance and please culture, the less likely we are to model ‘salt’ and ‘light’ to a hurting world.
Let’s be convicted and convinced that the church should lead into culture! Our ability to do so, depends on the depth of our biblical world-view and our convictions concerning the church being the agent that God has ordained to present God (as a community of faith) to a hurting world.
There is a wonderful interchange in Mark’s Gospel chapter 8 between the disciples and Jesus as they cross the sea of Galilee. The conversation among the disciples is seemingly about ‘blame’ – as someone forgot to bring food. They argue onboard, somewhat absurdly, as Jesus had just fed 4000 people and the disciples had collected seven large baskets of leftovers.
Jesus interjects as they cross the Lake:
‘Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.’
His focus was both educational and corrective, reflecting on the demands of the Pharisees asking for a miracle, with seemingly alternative agendas.
Perhaps Jesus is warning us (like the disciples) to be aware and careful of these leadership traits or categories of sin, that can be expressed as pathologies impacting healthy biblical leadership.
We understand from reading about the Pharisees that their sins included unbelief, hypocrisy, hard-heartedness, control and manipulation and religious piety.
Concurrently we see in Herod sins that include politics, expediency and agendas which reflect hidden motivations to manoeuvre outcomes for self-gain and entitlement.
We know that ‘yeast’ spreads without detection and permeates thinking, mindsets and functionality.
We should remind one-another that these traits damage the body-life of our faith communities. The deeper biblical mindsets are servanthood, spirituality, gifts and capability expressed appropriately in community to create healthy functionality. As the church models these biblical orientations we are best prepared to impact the culture around us.
Dr Andrew Ball
Executive Ministry Director