But know this, that in the last days

            perilous times will come:

            For men will be lovers of themselves,

            lovers of money, boasters, proud,

            blasphemers, disobedient to parents,

            unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving,

            slanderers, without self-control, brutal,

            despisers of good, traitors, headstrong,

            haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than

            lovers of God, having a form of godliness

            but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Perilous times are here. We now live in the last days where even the church is not exempt from the influences of this spiritual environment. Churchgoers will have a ‘form’ of godliness, but in reality when all the pomp and circumstance is taken away, their lifestyle is in opposition to God.

As the Lord positions His leaders for the challenges of the 21st century, the time for playing’ church is over. In fact there has never been such a time. Leaders need to be keenly aware of the immediacy of these perilous times and have the courage to conform to God’s pattern of servant leadership. The church is being called to account with greater urgency, and God has begun the process with His leaders. He is shaping a new breed and is turning the hearts of these ‘spiritual fathers’ towards their ‘children.’

Change in God’s kingdom starts at the ‘top.’ The new generation of leader will lead God’s people into His purposes for these end times. As the pace of life accelerates, these leaders’ adaptability and sensitivity to changing circumstances will carry them further than their predecessors. The new breed is captivated with a vision of the glorious church spurring them to pursue Christ likeness as never before.

Their newfound zeal is directed firstly towards changing self. They are not prepared to hypocritically demand change in their followers without first being submitted to the Lord’s dealings in their own lives. A keener sense of the calling to serve is being breathed into the church as leaders respond the Holy Spirit’s purity.

                         

            You know that the rulers of the Gentiles

            lord it over them, and those who are great

            exercise authority over them.

            Yet it shall not be so among you;

            but whoever desires to be become great

            among you, let him be your servant….

            just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… Matthew 20: 25-28

 

The Challenge

God is issuing a fresh challenge for His leaders to conform to His standards in leadership. He is commanding them to take up the towel and serve. It requires change. 

The body of Christ will not rise above its leadership and the call is stronger than ever for leaders to conform to a level of servant hood that will see the church fulfill her glorious calling.

The lifestyle of humility and repentance will keep the door open to spiritual growth.

He overcame disappointment by developing a trust in the integrity of God’s word despite the immediate circumstances. He knew that God would come through and watch over His covenant word. As the word works in our own lives, we will be able to share God’s faithfulness with conviction and authority.

The servant-leader will recognize that the closer we get to the Lord’s return, the more ministries will begin to overlap, cross-pollinate and flow together, bringing their own resources together like tributaries to the mainstream. There is a level of corporate unity that the Lord wants to establish in His body.  To establish this, leaders will have to be prepared to ‘let go’ of the control they exercise in ‘their’ territories. In order for the Holy Spirit to lead the body to glory, the spirit of control has to be broken off leadership first.

Unity will be founded on love. Perfected love casts out fear. Love will see things from God’s perspective, for He is love. Fellowship centered on truth, honesty and genuine faith will not be characterized by defensiveness. So many ministries are ‘owned’ by leaders fearful of losing the identity they worked so hard to attain. The thought of losing one’s identity in the body has caused different denominations to miss out on what God has been trying to restore to His body as a whole.

The end-time church will be led by servant-leaders consumed with a passion for the Lord and His pure purposes. Led by and in submission to the Spirit it will not tolerate ritual and meaningless religious activity that draws it away from a simple devotion to Christ. Like Queen Esther it will be received into the presence of the King to rule with Him and fulfill its destiny.

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