We believe that because we live in a fallen world, that there is no perfect pattern to govern the body of Christ, but do believe God provides certain leadership structures to allow for His Word to be taught truthfully and lovingly. Structure is also there to ensure our time together is conducted in an orderly fashion, not seeking to draw attention to ourselves. We also believe leadership is there to help in the safety and godly growth of those whom the Lord has entrusted to us. (1 Corinthians 14:40,43) Although there is no perfect form of leadership within a church fellowship, we do believe there are several key ingredients necessary to providing room for the Lord do the work in and through His people.
The first ingredient is humility. All in the body of Christ are level at the foot of the cross. While we may have different roles, we do not lord over one another, but rather prefer one another, esteeming others better than ourselves. This is not some manufactured, half-hearted attitude, but one of sincerity and love, first to the Lord and then to others, knowing that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. We are never to think too highly of ourselves, falling into the trap of comparing ourselves to one another. Instead we should compare ourselves with our great and holy God. When we do this, reality will set in and humility will be produced. Humility is simply reality. We are nothing when compared to God. Jesus truly should be our All in All! (Proverbs 22:4;Romans 5:8;Ephesians 1:23)
The second ingredient is a love for the truth of God's Word. Above even loving God's people is our love and heartfelt obedience to God. Our trust should never be in men and our confidence should never be in the flesh, but in the Lord Jesus and Him alone. God's Word must be our final authority in all matters and our hearts and minds should be exclusively the Lord's, not men's. (
2 Thessalonians 2:10;1 Peter 1:22;1 John 3:18)
The third ingredient is a yieldedness and submission to the work of the Holy Spirit. God, not man, does the sanctifying work in people. We can sometimes be used as His tools, but ultimately we must simply yield to Him. This usually involves us getting out of the way and always means choosing to allow God's Word to direct our steps. True conviction and the power to overcome sin and walk the victorious life in Christ comes as we study the Word of God and yield to the revelation and power provided for by the Holy Spirit. (John 16:33;John 17:17;1 John 4:4)
Next, we should always make Jesus Christ the central focus. Jesus explained to the Pharisees that they thought their life came through simply searching the Scriptures, but in reality the Scriptures pointed not to themselves, but to Jesus, the One who is our Life! (John 5:39) In Psalm 40, the Holy Spirit, through King David, wrote of Jesus saying, "Lo in the volume of the book it is written of Me." Psalm 40:7. Knowledge can puff up, but spending time understanding and knowing Jesus in His Word is the key. Jesus condemned the lawyers saying, "Woe unto you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered." Luke 11:52. Jesus must always be the key, the reason for what we learn, think, speak, and do.
The last ingredient ties in with the first, but has more to do specifically with a servant's heart. Jesus said He came to serve not to be served. Matthew 20:28. This ingredient is directed at a specific popular leadership style within many organizations that's designed to lord certain teachings and directions for growth over others. We believe anyone who seeks to lord over others is in great error and has chosen to foolishly step in place of the Holy Spirit. God calls His people sheep and unfortunately sheep can tend to follow other sheep. Some leaders understand that if people are basically forced (herded/driven) into submission that they will pretty much comply. This is what the Bible calls "lording over" another.
Leaders should never simply tell others what to think, rather we all should lovingly go to God's Word, allowing Him to teach us not only what to think, but how to think. In Isaiah 1:18, the Lord invites Israel and us to come and reason together with Him. In 1 Peter, God reminds the elders, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." 1 Peter 5:2-3
Freedom in Christ Bible Fellowship is focused on body ministry, allowing the individual parts to serve one another to the edifying and equipping of the whole fellowship. While teachers are raised up to equip and warn the body, the fellowship should function as a body with Christ, not any man, as the Head. Freedom in Christ also believes teachers/elders, deacons, and all others in the fellowship should have input in the overall, God-given direction of the fellowship whenever possible. (Acts 15:22;Ephesians 4:11-16)
Although there are a variety of church leadership models, i.e. pastor-led, elder-led, etc., it is the goal of Freedom in Christ to always remain an elder-led, body-focused, lost-loving, Christ/Word-Centered, and Holy Spirit filled fellowship. (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 35;1 Timothy 5:17;Titus 1:5;James 5:14)
There will be no business growth, i.e. Walmart philosophies/tactics of manipulation or drawing from other churches as a means of "building" the body. (Romans 1:16;Romans 15:18-20;1 Corinthians 1:18;2 Timothy 4:2)
At Freedom in Christ, there will be a deliberate emphasis on personal interaction as the primary means of informing others of the fellowship, emphasizing the Gospel, always seeking to allow God to be the One adding to the church daily. (Acts 2:46-47;Romans 10:14-17)
All resources will be deliberately and thoughtfully designed, utilizing all forms of technology to point people first and foremost to Jesus Christ and His Holy Word, not a website, Facebook, resources, or even Freedom in Christ Bible Fellowship. (Psalm 40:16;Psalm138:2;John 5:39;1 Corinthians 1:18;Philippians 1:20)
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