June 18, 2007

Intersting Quotes on Church Leadership

In seminary, I had the privilege of working with Darius Salter on one of his books. I finally got around to reading it. America's Bishop: The Life of Francis Asbury is an important look at one of American Christianity's most influential figures.

Francis Asbury led American Methodism from a small, disdained sect to the leading religious movement of its time. He was more travelled than any other person in his time, and he was more recognized by face than the President of the United States. His leadership set the standard for much of what we see, even now, in American Christianity.

Reading this book reminded me of the commitment it takes to accomplish God's will and call on our lives. Asbury's sole drive in life was to proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Here are a few quotes:

"Prophets usually alienate their hearers, but a prophetic message does not play well in a revivalistic and rapidly growing church" (pp 310-311). (The prophetic, in this instance, means the role of the church to stand against the wrongs of the culture and world around it.)

"The paradox of leadership is that almost every virtue of the leader can be misconstrued as a vice" (p 348).

Talking about the itinerant ministers of early Methodism: "The surprise is not that men of such uncommon sacrifice would make such a difference; they always do. The wonder is that they would make such a sacrifice" (p 356).

What I found, as I read, is that Asbury and early Methodism faced many of the challenges and problems we still face in the church.

Can a church be both discipleship focused and still reach the lost? Is it possible that we overstep our bounds when we say, "We exist to reach the lost!"? Is that really all the church is about? Reaching the lost?

Is there some place where the two can be combined in a wonderful way...where discipleship grows and thrives, and those disciples see their responsibility to bring the lost to Jesus?

What do you think?


  1. So I'm in the middle of the desert;
    I come across a man who is dying.
    He has no water. I tell him of a
    wonderful oasis. I ask him if he would like to go there. He says yes. I give him a photograph of it and tell him it will all be his- when he dies. I tell him to have a nice day, and I walk on.
    I could have said, come with me and
    I'll show you where to dig for water; the oasis can be yours right here on earth. I'll stay with you and help you. You aren't

  2. Eric,
    Read Oswald Chambers for today's date online, esp. the second pp, and its seems that the world would answer to the calling thats stated in his teaching. I read this every morning without fail and its usually my prowess for that day, because He makes sense(Jesus) , not always Oswald.

  3. RAD,

    I liked:

    "To-day we have substituted credal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many are devoted to causes and so few devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of to-day that does not want Him in any other way than as a Comrade. Our Lord's first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father."

  4. Eric,
    Exactly. I do agree with you on the point of the current man's belief of a Comrad "in arms", and if the attitude of the modern man is to listen to the teaching at a given Sunday service about what Jesus Christ did for the multitudes that He encountered, then if we as modern christians don't follow the written word per whatever your favorite version of the bible depicts, then without a doubt, man will not survive His (Jesus's ) lessons of His times, because the same occurrances happen today.
    Today, we as humans in our modern world need to acknowledge the fact that Jesus faced the same problems then as we do now,and the only way to overcome them is to rely on the teachings of JC, that were messeges that He recieved from His Dad, in heaven, and not to think that obedience is only to go to church on Sunday or Saturday or Wednesday, but to give it our best to create a relationship with JC and His Father on a daily basis, who is our Father in heaven. Wouldn't you agree? PBWY