Leaders commission members for service

Confident leaders recognize gifts and abilities in those around them; they coach and encourage them to bring out the best in them, and then they create space and commission them in their fields of greatness.

Look at this helpful video by Theo Burmeister speaking from experience about releasing members into service.


Acts 6:1-6

1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists [or Greeks] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

Observations and Reflection Questions

  1. Why were these seven deacons set aside and commissioned? [verse 1, 2]
  2. What were the required characteristics for these servants? [verse 3]
  3. Who was present when the members were commissioned for service? [verse 2]
  4. How were these men set aside for service? [verse 6]
    1. Why with laying on of hands?
    2. Why with prayer?
    3. Why publically?

Personal reflection and application

The first Apostles knew that some practical demands related to the expanding church were not their primary concern, and wisely opted to get other capable people to do that. Yet they sought for people that had a good reputation and were full of the Spirit and wisdom, and commissioned them publically.

  1. Consider your leadership style, especially with regards to decision making, task execution and training. How much space do you allow for people to grow beyond their primary tasks and responsibilities in the group?
  2. Consider your primary mandate in leadership.
    1. What are your core responsibility?
    2. What are responsibilities which keep you busy, but which you can entrust to someone else?
  3. Who in your small group/ department/task team have shown themselves faithful and competent to receive more responsibility?
    1. Which responsibilities can you entrust to whom? (sometimes including the group in these decisions is wise, as the Apostles did in the example above).
    2. Discuss these planned delegations with a mentor / overseer/ good Christian friend.
  4. Consider how you will commission these responsibilities to these members:
    1. Plan a frank discussion with each of these members – they must agree to accept these responsibilities.
    2. There must be formal public announcements to the group involved to allow for buy-in
    3. In church setup, the act of laying on hands and prayer, asking for God’s grace (empowerment) is necessary, even if the task is simply “waiting on widow’s tables”. (Why?)


Pray to God about your leadership style and those in your group.  How can you make more space for others to grow, and whom can you entrust more responsibility to?



The Character of a leader: how to grow in compassion

‘Compassionate people are geniuses in the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security and joy of humanity than the discoverers of knowledge’ – Albert Einstein
Look at this short inspirational video about how leaders can – and should – grow in compassion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY6hQzQJwfo).


Luke 7:36-47

36  One of the Pharisees asked [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37  And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38  and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39  Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40  And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41  “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42  When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44  Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Give brief answers to better understand the universal lesson in this account:
    • What were the Pharisees known for? And can you see it displayed in this story?
    • How is this woman described in this account?
  2. Picture the scene where Jesus and the other guests reclined next to the table for dinner, then this woman came in sobbing, washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, drying it with her long black hair, and finally rubbing it with fragrant perfume.
    • Why did she cry? Why would she make such a public scene (knowing she is not welcome in this “righteous Pharisee’s” house!)? Why did she pour expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet?
    • What bothered the Pharisees about this scene? Why were they troubled’ by Jesus (lack of) response?
    • Why was Jesus not bothered by her presence?
    • Why was Jesus not bothered by her display of affection?
    • What as Jesus’ response to Simon [and the other pharsisees?] [hint: note the emphasis in the initial phrase “do you see this woman”].
    • What was Jesus response to her?

Personal reflection and Application

Where the Pharisees saw an immoral sinner, an uninvited prostitute coming to disrupt their holy gathering, Jesus saw a repentant, broken worshipper.  Jesus looked not at her past or her clothing or lifestyle – he intently looked at her, until compassion welled up and mercy flowed from his heart.  And that’s how we grow in compassion – by intently into the eyes of someone until we can see how similar we are.

  1. Recall one or two instances in your life where you received compassion and mercy from someone in your time of need.
    • How did compassion happen?
    • How did compassion make you feel?
    • How did you respond to the compassion?
    • How did that instance of compassion affect your life?
  2. Memorize this phrase from Psalm 86:15 You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion; you are gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” Keep this phrase in your mouth and heart today as you interact with every person today – see where compassion can well up in your heart and kindness can be sown.


Pray that God open your eyes to see how he sees people, and for his compassion to flood you heart.



Five-Fold Ministry 1

The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to grow in understanding of the ministry within the local church, and its purpose in your life.


Ephesians 4:1-16

1  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4  There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

7  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  8  Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9  (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?  10  He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11  And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

15  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.


Note: Paul wrote this letter to a divided, conflicting church, appealing for their peace and unity in Christ, since both groups have been saved by grace through faith and brought near to God and built into one House for God (see Ephesians chapter 2).

  1. As we frequently do, briefly summarize the message of these sections in your own words.
  • Verses 1-6
  • Verses 7-10
  • Verses 11-14
  • Verses 15-16
  1. How do you understand the phrase “to each is given a gift according to Christ’s grace”?
  2. In verse 11 Paul mentions five offices given to the church. In your own words list the purpose of these “offices” in the church.


  1. In this section, how do you see the progression of Paul’s chain of thought from “UNITY” to “CHRIST’S GIFTS” to “FIVE-FOLD MINISTRIES” to “GROWING UP”?
  2. When you see apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers” do you view them as “gifts from Christ to the church”? Why? Why not?
  3. In which ways do these ministers (the leaders in church whom you know) contribute to your spiritual growth?
  4. How can you position yourself in relation to these ministers to allow for more effective growth? (Or, what can you do to maximize your growth by their help?)

Application and prayer

In meditating on this text, talk with God about UNITY in your Congregation, to the ministers Christ has gifted your church with, as well as your growth “into the fullness of Christ himself.”  Prayerfully reflect on what you have grown in recently, and what are you growing in currently that makes you look more like Christ.