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82. The Principles of Being a Church Leader

Practice and Exercises for Principled Behavior

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82. The Principles of Being a Church Leader

1. You must perform all church work in strict accordance with work arrangements, and be able to accept the inspection of higher level leaders and the supervision of God’s chosen people;

2. You must uphold God’s work and protect God’s chosen people from being deceived and disturbed by antichrists, evil people, evil spirits and all manner of satanic influences;

3. You must serve harmoniously in coordination with your work partners, be devoted to God’s commissions at all times, take the interests of God’s chosen people as your priority and abandon the interests of the flesh;

4. You must lead all the brothers and sisters who pursue the truth to learn to eat and drink God’s words and experience God’s work, and lead them to enter the reality of the truth.

 

Relevant Words of God:

The necessary requirement for those who seek to be perfected by God is this: do all things with a heart that loves God. What does it mean “to do things with a heart that loves God”? It means that all of your actions and behavior can be presented before God. As you hold the right intentions, whether your actions are right or wrong, you are not afraid for them to be shown to God or to your brothers and sisters; you dare to make a vow before God. That your every intention, thought, and idea be fit to be examined in God’s presence: if you practice and enter in this way, then progress in your life will be swift.

from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

2. You should do anything that is beneficial to God’s work, and nothing that is detrimental to the interests of God’s work. You should defend God’s name, God’s testimony, and God’s work.

from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

In the church, you shall stand firm in your testimony to Me, uphold truth—right is right and wrong is wrong—and do not confuse black and white. You shall be at war with Satan and must completely vanquish it so that it never rises. You must sacrifice everything to protect My testimony. This shall be the goal of your actions, do not forget this.

from “The Forty-first Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Today the requirement of you to work together harmoniously is similar to how Jehovah required the Israelites to serve Him. Otherwise, just end your service. Because you are people who serve God directly, at the very minimum you must be able to be loyal and obedient in your service, and must be able to learn the lessons in a practical way. Especially those working in the church, would any of the brothers and sisters below dare to deal with you? Would anyone dare to tell you of your mistakes face to face? You stand high above all, you are really reigning as kings! You do not even study or enter into such a practical lesson, and you still talk of serving God! At present you are asked to lead a number of churches, and not only do you not give up yourself, you even cling to your own notions and opinions, and say things like “I think this thing should be done this way, as God has said that we should not be restrained by others, and that nowadays we should not submit blindly.” Therefore each holds to his own opinion, and no one obeys the other. Though you clearly know that your service is at an impasse, you still say, “As I see it, mine is not far off. In any case we each have one side; you talk of yours, and I of mine; you fellowship about your visions and I talk of my entry.” You never take responsibility for many things that should be dealt with, or you just make do, each person venting his own opinion, prudently protecting his own status, reputation, and face. No one is willing to humble himself, neither person will give himself up initiatively to amend the other and be amended so that life may progress more rapidly. Very seldom when you are working together does any of you say: I would like to hear you fellowship with me about this aspect of truth, because I am not clear about it. Or to say: You have more experiences than I have on this matter; can you give me some direction, please? Wouldn’t this be a good way of doing it? You on the upper levels hear a lot of truth, and understand a lot about service. If you people who coordinate to work in the churches do not learn from each other, and communicate, making up for each other’s shortcomings, from where can you learn lessons? When you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other, so that your life can benefit. And you should carefully fellowship about things of any sort before making decisions. Only by doing so are you being responsible to the church and not being perfunctory. After you visit all the churches, you should get together and fellowship about all the issues you discover and problems encountered in work, and communicate the enlightenment and illumination that you have received—this is an indispensable practice of service. You must achieve harmonious cooperation for the purpose of the work of God, for the benefit of the church, and for spurring the brothers and sisters onward. You coordinate with him and he coordinates with you, each amending the other, arriving at a better work outcome, so as to care for God’s will. Only this is a true cooperation, and only such people have true entry. There may be some speech that isn’t suitable during cooperation, but that does not matter. Fellowship about it later, and get a clear understanding of it; do not neglect it. After this sort of fellowship you can make up deficiencies for the brothers and sisters. Only ceaselessly going deeper like this in your work can you achieve better outcomes. Each of you, as people who serve, must be able to defend the interests of the church in all things you do, rather than looking out for your own interests. It is unacceptable to go it alone, where you undermine him and he undermines you. People acting this way are not fit to serve God!

from “Serve as the Israelites Did” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

How you treat God’s commission is a very serious matter! If you cannot complete what God entrusts to you, you are not fit to live in God’s presence and should be punished. It is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle for man to complete what God entrusts to him; this is man’s highest responsibility, as important as his life. If you do not take God’s commission seriously, then you are betraying God in the most serious way; this is more grievous than Judas and is deserving of cursing. So, God commissions man: This is an exaltation and special favor from God, a most glorious thing. Everything else can be abandoned—even if one has to sacrifice his life he must still fulfill God’s commission. There is even more truth to be sought here.

from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

9. Your thoughts ought to be of the work of the church. You should put aside the prospects of your own flesh, be decisive about family matters, wholeheartedly devote yourself to the work of God, and put God’s work first and your own life second. This is the decency of a saint.

from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Church leaders should be able to lead all brothers and sisters in knowing how to eat and drink of God’s words. This is the responsibility of all church leaders. Be they young or old, all should regard the eating and drinking of God’s words with importance and keep His words in their hearts. If you enter into this reality, you will have entered the Age of Kingdom. …

God has spoken a great deal. How much do you have knowledge of? How much have you entered into? If a church leader has not led brothers and sisters into the reality of the word of God, they have been derelict in their duty and failed to fulfill their responsibilities!

from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

 

The Man’s Fellowship:

To be a leader serving God you must have principles. Some say, “For many truths, no matter how I try to fellowship, I still lack clarity about them.” You lack clarity, but your intentions still need to be right; no matter what, you still need to testify and exalt God. Say as much as you understand, exalt and testify God to the greatest extent that you can, and under no circumstances exalt yourself or allow others to worship you. This is the first and the most fundamental rule to follow. Secondly, never try to find tricks or rely on your own ideas. Follow the arrangements from above strictly. If you are truly earnest in your work and want to achieve results, you must spend a lot of time and energy on all work arrangements and devote the maximum effort. Thirdly, remember, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to avoid making errors at work, so if you find transgressions or errors, always seize the opportunity to reflect on yourself. Go before God, check and analyze your actions against God’s word, and try to avoid repeating your transgressions in the future. If you become rash as you serve God, your own ideas will emerge. You will become careless, sloppy, and take reckless, overly ambitious steps. This is dangerous. When you discover this nature in yourself, inspect it and get it under control immediately, especially where ideas concerning money, status, and relations between opposite sexes appear. Control yourself to prevent problems from occurring. Sometimes a certain person doesn’t do a good job and ruins things, and as you deal with him, your temper becomes heated and you speak roughly or become angry. This should not be considered a major problem and does not constitute a transgression. This is simply being quick-tempered, and all you need to do is be careful of it and overcome it. At other times you might make an error and cause harm to God’s house. At times like this, simply absorb what lessons you can, but only so long as no major damage is done. All these things are impossible to avoid. Everyone has problems at work, and no one is immune to making minor transgressions, but don’t make major transgressions. Why do leaders have to meet periodically to receive pruning and dealing? Because this is most helpful and beneficial. But the most important thing is that we must seek more understanding of the truth in God’s word. We must strive to understand the truth, pursue a change in our life disposition. This is positively seeking entry. Doing so will gradually reduce the transgressions you make in your work and produce change within you as you work, making your state more and more normal. This is the most effective way to avoid transgressions.

from “One Must Have Principles in Serving God” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life

During the period of spreading the gospel of the kingdom the work of the church leaders primarily involves three aspects: The first is to resolve practical issues of church life; the second is to be responsible for watering new believers; and the third is to coordinate with the gospel deacons to duly carry out the work of preaching the gospel. These are the church leader’s most practical and essential responsibilities during the period of spreading the gospel of the kingdom. Other trivial matters may be handled whenever there is time, but they must not be allowed to interfere in the least bit with the essential responsibilities of the church leader. The church leader must certainly not be like a junior manager who deals solely with trivial matters, but instead must be someone who has a good handle on these essential responsibilities. All those who are unable to duly carry out these practical responsibilities are not qualified to be church leaders. If a church leader fails to place importance on these responsibilities, but instead focuses on managing trivial matters and becomes entangled in issues unrelated to truths, then they are merely nuisances rather than true leaders. Such leaders must be replaced through elections. Only those who focus on duly carrying out these most valuable responsibilities essential to their work qualify as church leaders, they are satisfactorily fulfilling their duties, and they shall be perfected by God. The measure by which God’s chosen people determine whether a church leader is qualified is primarily based on whether he or she is able to duly carry out these practical responsibilities. Those who can duly carry out these practical responsibilities are good leaders of the church, while those who are unable to do so are unqualified leaders who cannot satisfactorily fulfill their duties, and they shall never gain the recognition and praise of God.

from “Planning and Implementation of the Spread of the Kingdom Gospel” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God

Protecting God’s chosen people from being taken captive by Satan is an inescapable responsibility of leaders and workers of all levels in the church. Leaders and workers of all levels cannot enjoy God’s grace for nothing and should do some actual things and actual work for God to repay God’s love. We must not be ungrateful. When we encounter false Christs and antichrists deceiving God’s chosen people, if we act selfishly in our own interests, work for the benefit of enemies at the expense of God’s chosen people, and are irresponsible to God’s chosen people, then that is behavior that seriously resists and betrays God. No matter which church it is, if it really has the problem of many of God’s chosen people being deceived, then it is entirely the problem of church leaders and workers selling out God’s chosen people and betraying God. God’s disposition is unoffendable. God’s house must hold leaders of all levels in such an area to account.

Now God’s work in the last days is reaching its end, and all kinds of evil spirits, false Christs, and antichrists are ready to make trouble and burst furiously from their nests. Leaders of all levels of the church must be more alert and do a good job of equipping ourselves with all aspects of the truth as soon as possible. We must come out victorious in this spiritual battle against false Christs and antichrists.

from “Regarding Work Principles for Combatting False Christs and Antichrists” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God

The most obligatory work of church leaders is to lead the brothers and sisters in eating and drinking God’s words, experiencing God’s words, understanding the truths, knowing themselves, thereby attaining salvation. After having attained an understanding of the truths and knowledge of God through eating and drinking God’s words, we can then attain clarity regarding our own corrupt states, nature and essence. These are all results built upon the foundation of eating and drinking God’s words and understanding the truths. Therefore, leaders and workers from all levels of the church must first learn to eat and drink God’s words as well as experience God’s words. When practicing God’s words, sometimes we might have some deviations, sometimes we might make some mistakes. When we notice deviations in our experience, we must turn around, we must put effort into God’s words, we must strive to better understand the truths, to understand the truths with more clarity. When we have more clarity in our understanding of the truths, then we will achieve even better results when we lead brothers and sisters. Therefore, for a church leader, the better he understands the truths and the more experience he has, the better results he can attain when leading others. If a leader does not know how to eat and drink God’s words, if he does not know how to experience and practice God’s words, he will not attain any significant results when leading others to experience God’s words, or when leading others to eat and drink God’s words. Why has the church life of some churches never attained any results? It is because the leaders and workers do not know how to eat and drink God’s words. If the leaders and workers know how to eat and drink God’s words, if they can bring brothers and sisters together, reading God’s words to them or having the brothers and sisters read God’s words, and thereafter fellowshiping their experience and understanding of those words of God, once they have clearly fellowshiped their own experience and understanding, once the brothers and sisters have heard them, they would come to the realization: “This is true. How come I wasn’t able to gain this understanding without your fellowship? With this fellowship of yours, now I can truly understand this passage of God’s words. Indeed, this is the case.” With their fellowship, others can also understand God’s words now. If the leaders and workers themselves have an understanding and experience of God’s words, then it is easy for them to lead others into the reality of God’s words. Therefore, the most fundamental job of a church leader or worker is learning to lead others in eating and drinking God’s words as well as experiencing God’s words. If a church leader does not know how to eat and drink God’s words himself, can he lead others? Of course not. Even if he outwardly appears to be doing and practicing so, there must be no significant results. Therefore, what should the leaders and workers do? Put more effort in eating and drinking God’s words, and practice God’s words more frequently. If you do not practice God’s words, how can you experience God’s words? When you enter deeper during your practice, you will eventually gain real experience, and you can only attain the standard required for entering into reality after you have gained real experience.

from “Church Leaders Must Properly Do Their Obligatory Work to Be Fit for God’s Use” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)

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