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Looking Down (1 Timothy 4:11,12)

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:11,12) I'm a great believer in having a wide range of ages connecting with young people in some form of leadership or mentoring role within the church. I'm always concerned when I see that the only leaders in a youth ministry are those in their late teens or early twenties. Older people have a wealth o...

September 16, 2019

A Long Obedience (1 Timothy 4:8-10)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. I was recently at a church service where the pastor was preaching on a passage similar to this. In the middle of his ser...

September 9, 2019

Distractions (1 Timothy 4:6,7)

If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. (1 Timothy 4:6,7) One of the great distractions leaders face is not to suddenly give up on leadership but to be gradually drawn away from what is important to what is less important. The challenge...

August 27, 2019

Loving Rules (1 Timothy 4:3-5)

They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:3-5)Most of us have a love-hate relationship with rules. When we break them and face the consequences, we hate them. It's often easier to blame a "silly rule" tha...

August 19, 2019

Two Threats to Leaders (1 Timothy 4:1,2)

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. (1 Timothy 4:1,2) When I first started in youth ministry, I recall feeling the weight of the need to be correct in my teaching. Previously, in my teens, I had been unduly influenced by erroneous teaching and I knew how easy it was to hear one viewpoint on ...

August 12, 2019

A Mystery Solved (1 Timothy 3:16)

Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16) Since I was a child, I've always loved a good mystery. There is something about a book or movie in which the outcome is not obvious, that I find appealing. The best ones are those with unexpected twists, especially right at the end when ...

August 5, 2019

People and Pillars (1 Timothy 3:14,15)

I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14,15)One of the dilemmas you'll face as you lead people is on the one hand loving and caring for them, and on the other hand confronting them and disciplining them. If you're like me you desire to lead so that you can help...

July 29, 2019

Guarding our Words (1 Timothy 3:11-13)

In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do. A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 3:11-13) I'll always remember years ago while leading a Bible study for young people, one of the young girls answ...

July 22, 2019

Walking the Talk (1 Timothy 3:8-10)

In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons. (1 Timothy 3:8-10) Having spent some time outlining the requirements for eldership, Paul turns his attention to discussing what is required of deacon...

July 15, 2019

Reputation (1 Timothy 3:7)

Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap. (1 Timothy 3:7) Have you ever found yourself disinclined to believe someone's point of view simply because you didn't particularly like them? Whether they were talking sport, politics, religion or just life in general, you, subconsciously at least, dismissed their opinion because you had little affection for them. Conversely, when you're talking to a close friend, someone you...

July 8, 2019

The Problem of Pride (1 Timothy 3:6)

A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. (1 Timothy 3:6) I recall becoming a youth pastor in my twenties and before long realising that I'd found the one thing I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was something that gave me enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment and purpose. After five years as a youth pastor I was speaking at a youth ministry training conference and decided to stay on and listen to the speaker ...

July 1, 2019

Leadership Begins at Home (1 Timothy 3:4,5)

He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (1 Timothy 3:4,5) As we read through the Bible there are verses we come across that we quickly move past because they don't seem relevant. For young leaders starting out these verses probably fall into this category: "I'm not married and I don't have children, so... next!" However, it's good to pause and look beyond the literal meanin...

June 24, 2019

Crucial Control (1 Timothy 3:3)

He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. (1 Timothy 3:3) There is something incredibly satisfying about control. I'm sure one of the appeals of video gaming is the ability to control a character and through that character achieve control over an environment. Similarly, one of the appeals of sport is the capacity to gain control of a situation and to maintain control through skill and self control. In these verses, Paul continues with h...

June 17, 2019

Above Reproach (1 Timothy 3:2)

So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. (1 Timothy 3:2) Some time ago I was talking with someone whose youth pastor had, years earlier, failed morally and walked away from their Christian faith. They talked about how their youth pastor's failure led to their own crisis of faith. "It felt as though a ...

June 10, 2019

Honourable Aspirations (1 Timothy 3:1)

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader, he desires an honourable position.” (1 Timothy 3;1) Has anyone ever asked you in the past, "What are you going to be when you grow up?" Where we're children we are usually quick to answer. Our answers may not be entirely practical or realistic and they may change from week to week, but nevertheless we have a dream and we're more than willing to tell anyone who asks. Somehow things have changed by the time we reach our l...

May 27, 2019

Tricky Questions (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty. (1 Timothy 2:11-15) Someone once said, "It is not the things which I do not understand in the Bible which tro...

May 20, 2019

Clothes and Character (1 Timothy 2:9,10)

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. (1 Timothy 2;9,10) Question. Have you ever bought an item of clothing simply because it bore a "label"? If so, you probably spent a lot more than you would've had you bought a si...

May 13, 2019

Anger and Quarelling (1 Timothy 2:8)

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling" (1 Timothy 2:8)In one sense there is nothing particularly important about what posture we adopt when we pray - God hears us regardless.On the other hand, our posture not only communicates something to the one we're talking with, it also affects our own attitude of heart. Try praying to God with clenched fists and then try praying with open palms. Or try praying standing up and then pray kneel...

May 6, 2019

Who's Choosing Who? (Timothy 2:7)

And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth. (1 Timothy 2:7) I'm sure at some stage you've found yourself in that potentially awkward and embarrassing situation where two people are picking teams and you're part of the group waiting to be picked. Every time one of these team leaders pick someone else, they essentially reject you. And so it goes on, and so you pray, "Lord please don'...

April 29, 2019

Just at the Right Time (1 Timothy 2:4-6)

[God] wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. (1 Timothy 2:4-6) Those who have studied marketing will be familiar with the term "elevator pitch". An elevator pitch is a succinct description of your product followed by a persuasive explanation of why the customer ne...

April 22, 2019

The One Thing I Really Want to Ask You (1 Timothy 2:2,3)

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior... (1 Timothy 2:2,3) What do you think is one of the first things I look for when giving young people leadership responsibilities? Most will assume it concerns the quality of their walk with God, and they'd be right to a point, but the question I use to determine this is not about how often they pray or read their Bible. I sim...

April 15, 2019

Your Primary Duty (1 Timothy 2:1)

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. (1 Timothy 2:1) When we're first given the responsibility of leading people our focus easily turns to the face to face responsibilities we've taken on - running programmes, leading Bible studies, being a listener/advisor etc. But here Paul urges Timothy to do one thing above all else - to pray for those he's leading. It's easy to forget this important responsibility. Peop...

April 8, 2019

Finding the Leadership "Sweet Spot"

I'm not a golfer but I know enough to know that there is a sweet spot" when hitting a golf ball. When you find it the ball flies longer and straighter than when you don't. Cricketers and footballers talk about the same concept. When you hit the "sweet spot" there is an effect that goes far beyond the effort expended. In Christian leadership there is also a sweet spot. It's that place where feeling inadequate and being full of faith are held in perfect tension. It shows itself when we are facing...

April 3, 2019

Competency vs Character (1 Timothy 1:19,20)

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God. (1 Timothy 1:19,20) When we start out as leaders for the first time, the thing we're most afraid of is being labelled "incompetent". Failure is hard enough to cope with but having our failure made ...

April 1, 2019

Book Review: "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields

Although it's now over 20 years old, Doug Fields' Purpose Driven Youth Ministry is still a classic youth ministry text that is worth a read if you are starting out in youth ministry. It contains a lot of useful insights and suggestions but its real value is in the mindset it communicates. Reading this book impresses on the reader the need to be purposeful in what they do. It's not enough to drift from week to week with little sense of where one is headed. Instead, the author strongly advocates ...

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