"The Staff Of God"
This is an important message concerning ministry staff and what God can do with a group of yielded Christ followers.
Imagine a church or ministry staff where each person's primary vision was to attain the likeness of Christ. Picture working with this group of people: not only do they each fulfill their responsibilities but they are earnestly reaching for Christ's humility in their service. When they see something flawed in another member of the team, they do not become accusers. Rather, they approach the situation with Christ's redemptive heart, praying for the situation first and, when necessary, bringing correction motivated by love.
Can you envision a staff that is committed to possessing unoffendable unity in their relationships? Is there any doubt that with such a team God could change the world?
Before you say the above is impossible, I'm actually describing our ministry team. A key principle to walking in such grace has been the principles taught in In Christ's Image Training. While no one on staff is perfect (least of all me), and while we still had to correctly match individual gifts with ministry needs, the compelling vision for each person has been to truly become Christlike.
In Ancient Times According to the dictionary, a staff is "a group of assistants to a manager, executive or other person in authority" (The American Heritage Dictionary). Originally, however, a staff was not a team of people but a strong, straight branch cut from a tree and sanded smooth. The purpose of the staff was for support and balance, and it was also used as a weapon to protect the traveler. From this simple origin, we can better understand the genesis of the word staff and how it came to represent those who support a leader. Just as a staff provided strength, balance and protection, so a leader should find these same qualities in those who serve as his or her staff.
Of course, when we talk about leader/staff relationships, our main focus is "kingdom leadership" as seen in Ephesians 4:11-13. The Lord raises up and appoints individuals to train and help equip His people, not lord over them. We are talking about leaders who are focused first on their own transformation.
At the same time, the idea that, in God's kingdom, leaders are not needed is a reaction to the failures and abuses of the past. What we need are godly, humble leaders, not self-gratifying or abusive leaders. We need individuals whose transcendent goal is personal conformity to Christ. Such leaders should be supported by their staff.
Amazing Power in a Godly Staff
The benefits of a godly staff are many, and they are profound, especially when it comes to the release of God's power in a church. Remember when the Almighty appeared to Moses in the burning bush? The Lord told Moses to cast his staff to the ground. Immediately, the rod turned into a dangerous snake from which Moses fled. Rather than being a source of protection for Moses, his staff became a threat. My first point is this: if a staff has not been touched by God to serve a particular leader -- if it still harbors jealousy and selfish ambition (see James 3:16) -- then it has the capacity to suddenly turn into a serpent, with a tongue that spreads poison.
However, in the above story the Lord told Moses to pick up the serpent, and as he did, it returned again to being a staff. When we lay our staff at the feet of God, that staff will be different when the Lord tells us to lift it, and this is my main point. When God gives you the staff He has chosen, there will be supernatural power accompanying it. In fact, listen to what the Lord said to Moses: "You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs" (Ex. 4:17).
The Holy Spirit placed an anointing not only upon Moses but upon his staff -- and it was with his staff that he worked miracles! Repeatedly, the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt did not come through Moses alone, but God released miracles, signs and wonders through Moses' staff! Moses pointed the staff, struck the waters with the staff, and waved it up at the sky;the staff was the instrument through which divine power manifest.
Not only that, but from that point on Moses' staff was called by a new name: "the staff of God" (Ex. 4:20; 17:9). Oh, I pray this is a revelation to you and that you grasp the prophetic, parallel truth concerning a godly, Christlike staff. It is not enough for a pastor or leader to be anointed -- their staff must become "the staff of God." It is here, in the oneness of Christ, where the staff of God attracts Heaven's greatest blessings and power.
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