Monday, November 14, 2011

Leadership and the Seven Churches of Revelation

I'm going to talk about various things in more detail through this week but here is some things to ponder in the meantime:

From 1 Peter chapter 5 (The Message Paraphrase), Peter is talking about his concerns regarding leaders:
"Here's my concern:  that you care for God's flock with all the diligence of a shepherd.  Not because you have to, but because you want to please God.  Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously.  Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way."
The Seven Churches in Revelation can be broken down (in my opinion) into three groups:

Group 1:  They "appear" to be churches.  Shells, no real power, gotten comfortable.
Ephesus (Revelation 2:4 NRSV) " have abandoned the love you had at first."
Sardis (Revelation 3:1 NRSV) " have a name of being alive, but you are dead."
Laodicea (Revelation 3:15,17 NRSV) " are neither cold nor hot...For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing."

Group 2:  They believe, um....we're not sure exactly what they believe.  But they have lost sight of the message.
Peragamum (Revelation 2:14-15 NRSV) " have some who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication.  So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans."
Thyatira (Revelation 2:20 NRSV) " tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols."

Group 3:  Small, afflicted, persecuted but hanging tough.
Smyrna (Revelation 2:9-10 NRSV) "...I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich.  I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  Do not fear what you are about to suffer..."
Philadelphia (Revelation 3:8 NRSV) "...I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."

Does any of this sound familiar?  Could we say the same thing about some of our churches today?  Where does leadership (or lack of leadership) show through in these examples?

More thoughts tomorrow!

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