The opening lines of the book of 2 Timothy show us two important foundations of Christ-centered leaders—they are called by God and formed by family. Listen to this episode to see how both of these effect your leadership some two thousand years after Paul first wrote to Timothy.
Episode length: 25 minutes
Main idea: A Christ-centered leader is called by God and formed by family.
Called by God
Paul viewed his suffering as an honor
Both Paul and Timothy, then, were called and set apart by God to lead
Formed by family
Paul served God with a clear conscience
Timothy was the result of a lineage of faith
Your faith was given to you so it could be given through you
The church is a family of faith
Were you called by God to lead?
Do you serve God with a clear conscience? When you think of how you live your life, spend your time, treat your family, or do your job, is there anything that comes to mind that would prevent you from saying that your conscience is clear?
Are you sure about your group’s faith in the same way? Do you know with sincerity if those in your group who profess to believe actually do? You can look at someone’s life, listen to their speech, and observe how they treat people and see if their faith is sincere. Do the people in your group who say they follow Jesus look anything like him?
Do you think of your group members and others you know at church like they’re your brothers and sisters, with all that implies?
Almost two thousand years ago, an aging Apostle Paul penned a letter with his final words of wisdom for a young leader in the church. This fledgling leader was timid and reluctant to lead. If you’ve ever found yourself asked to lead beyond your capacity, you don’t want to miss Paul’s instructions for the making of a Christ-centered leader.
Episode length: 15 minutes
Main idea: The book of 2 Timothy shows us the making of a Christ-centered leader.
Brief intro to the book
Paul is writing to Timothy from prison, about to face his execution
Paul’s thoughts are on ensuring the faith is protected, taught, and passed on
3 observations about 2 Timothy
Paul was a prisoner in Rome
He was being held in a dismal underground dungeon with a hole in the ceiling for light and air
Emperor Nero was trying to destroy Christianity
Sensing his fate, Paul penned this letter to Timothy, calling him to guard the faith and ensure its passing on
Timothy was being thrust into a position of Christian leadership far beyond his natural capacity
Timothy enjoyed a special relationship with Paul
Paul left Timothy in charge of the church in Ephesus
Timothy was hopelessly unfit for these weighty responsibilities of leadership in the church
Three reasons why: 1) Timothy was relatively young for leadership in his day, 2) he was always sick, 3) he was timid and reluctant to lead.
Paul’s preoccupation in writing to Timothy is passing on the gospel
Timothy was charged with protecting, teaching, and spreading this gospel to the next generation
The gospel—the good news—of Jesus was Paul’s primary concern, and he urges Timothy to make it his
Do you identify with Timothy—in over your head and called to lead beyond your capacity?
How could it be a good thing that you feel unfit for your leadership role? What might your weaknesses reveal? Where do they cause you to look for help?
To know how God wants to use you, you must discover your strengths and your weaknesses. Your strengths hint at where God wants to use you, but your weaknesses reveal how he wants to use you. What are your wordly weaknesses? (Are you not that smart, uncomfortable around people, slow to understand, awkward, do you have a speech impediment or handicap?) How might God want to work through your weakness?
How do Paul’s leadership concerns differ from yours?
Paul told the Corinthian church that his primary concern was passing on the gospel. If you asked your group or others you lead what you primary concern is in leading them, what would they say?
“This is amazing!” said Dante. “I am hearing [these] stories for the first time. I believe they are for me, too.”
Dante, whose parents named him for a Hindu god, grew up in a village that rejected Jesus and his message of salvation. But when Christians working at a recording studio in that Asian region needed help, they found Dante.
The team was ready to record Bible stories in the dialect of Dante’s people, but in this mostly non-reading community, they lacked speakers who could narrate the script. They hired Dante, a solid reader with a pleasant voice, to fill several roles in the Open Bible recordings. The Open Bible is a series of 50 stories spanning from Creation to the anticipated second coming of Christ. The audio recordings introduce Scripture to an oral culture where the Bible is available only in the national language, which is not the dialect this community understands easily.
But the Scripture stories began to reach Dante’s heart even before they were recorded.
Father, the eyes of your people from of old longed for your salvation and the fulfillment of your promise. Thanks be to you that I live in the day where your salvation is freely offered and your promises have come true in Christ! Help me to understand the implications of what Jesus has done. It is seemingly simple to understand, yet the more I study the gospel the wider its reach seems, and the deeper its depths. Thank you for the gift of your salvation. How beautiful were the feet of Jesus when he came publishing good news! His beauty was not in his appearance. He was despised by men and beaten beyond recognition. He was well-acquainted with grief and sorrow. He was killed on my behalf and on behalf of everyone who has lived before or since. The weight of all our sins was laid on him. He bore that weight without uttering a word. He did not try to get out of what was coming, and so he was killed. Brutally murdered by being nailed to a cross and hung to die. And all of this was your will, Lord. It was your will to crush him. But you knew that through his grief there would be much rejoicing when he came back to life and became the once-for-all sacrificial atonement your children needed. Through his righteousness now many are made righteous, including me.