From Service to Leadership

This coming week is going to be a significant week in the life of Coastal Church as we Ordain two young men who have each been serving faithfully as Campus Ministers, Payam Jalali who has been serving as the Campus Minister of the Burnaby Campus, and David Trivino who has served in that role with the North Van Campus, and now at the Commercial Campus.

As we come to Acts 13 in our journey through the book of Acts, we see one of the greatest examples in the New Testament church of Ordaining someone, or setting them apart for Christian ministry.  Paul and Barnabas were serving faithfully in the church in Antioch.  Many people aspire to leadership in the church when they see the Pastor preaching, or the Praise and Worship team leading us in our public services, but looking at Acts 13, we can see a very natural progression that happened in the lives of Paul and Barnabas before they were set apart and sent out on their missionary journey. 

1. They were serving in the church.

“Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas . . . and Saul.”

Everyone on our Pastoral team at Coastal Church has risen up from within,

and each one started by serving wherever there was a need.  I can think back to when Payam, as a young man, was serving on the Alpha Team.  He was a small group facilitator, and I observed that he was always going the extra mile, willing to do whatever needed to be done, and when you’re leading a team, those team members will always get your attention, because they’re just “faithful and available.”  He had many excuses not to be available as he was running his own business and was newly married, but he still served in the local church. 

Years after Paul and Barnabas were sent out, Paul had discipled and mentored the young man Timothy.  When Paul was writing to the Philippians, he said,

“I have no one else like Timothy . . . all the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.  But you know how Timothy has proved himself.  Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.” – Philippians 2:20-22 NLT

Timothy wasn’t serving Paul to be noticed by him, because he said, “Timothy cares for what matters to Christ.”  Let me ask you a question:  Are you on a serve team at Coastal, and if not, are you willing?  Paul and Barnabas shaped history and it started by them serving faithfully in the local church.

2. Paul and Barnabas were Worshippers.

“One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them” – Acts 13:2 NLT

It’s very significant that Paul and Barnabas were actually set apart in a worship service.  In fact, verse 2 is more accurately translated, “While they were ministering to the Lord. . .”  Have you ever found yourself saying after a sermon or a worship service, “That really ministered to me.”  This, however, has them “ministering to the Lord.”  What a radical idea – God was the one that was getting blessed by their worship.  We don’t often think about “ministering to the Lord,” and it doesn’t say it here, but I firmly believe that only worship that originates from a true “heart of worship” would have that affect. 

My next question for you is, “Do you love to worship, or are you more of a spectator?”  Have you noticed that the gifts of the Spirit often follow a time of worship?  That’s what was happening in the worship service where Paul and Barnabas were called.  Perhaps it’s because God said, “I dwell in the praises of my people.”  When we worship, the Holy Spirit begins to move, and sometimes broken hearts are healed, hope is restored, blind eyes are opened, and sometimes God calls people, as he did in Antioch that day.  Possibly, as you’re reading this, more than 115 people have taken the weekend away for an Alpha Weekend where we learn about the Holy Spirit and how we can be baptized and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  One of the things I love most about these weekends, is watching the growing intensity in the worship over the course of the weekend.  All inhibitions start coming down and people, some for the first time, actually begin to worship (“minister to the Lord”).

3. They were Sent by the local church.

There’s a very important fact here I hope you’re seeing.  It was God who called Paul and Barnabas, gifted them and anointed them, but He chose the local church to acknowledge God’s call, pray over them and “send them.”  Paul and Barnabas departed from Antioch on what would become known as their “First Missionary Journey,” but the Church in Antioch was covering them.  Over the years, I’ve seen many believers start out strong and even serving faithfully in the local church, only to go astray because they thought they had a ministry and calling, and launched out – out from under the cover of the local church, and before long, they were nowhere to be seen.

Timothy, on the other hand, served Paul as a son, cared about the people, and when Paul knew his time on earth was coming to an end, Ordained Timothy and passed the baton to him to “run the race.”  He served faithfully and his fruit remains, even to this day.

On Thursday evening, two young men are about to be Ordained as Pastors in the house of God.  They’ve served like “sons in the house,” and the calling on their lives from God will be acknowledged.

The charge from Paul to Timothy, are words we should all embrace and live out:

“So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. . . With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me (Paul) for the sake of the Good News.  For God save us and called us to live a holy life.  He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time – to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 1:8,9