GREEN LAKE, Wis. (BP)–Edwin Jenkins says Southern Baptists have done a great disservice to the laity.
“It isn’t only the people who stand in the front of the church who are called by God. The Bible tells us that every believer is called by God,” Jenkins, leadership development and church growth specialist for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, said.
Jenkins was a speaker at the Kingdom@Work Church Leadership Development event, sponsored by the LifeWay Church Resources, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The pilot event was held at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wis., June 25-29, 2001.
“At some time or another, everyone is called to lead.” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether a person called to be a greeter, a teacher, a pastor or anything else. What matters is how a person views his call and follows God’s leading in fulfilling it.
“You would not be saved if God did not call you to salvation. You are called. Every Christian is called,” he said.
Jenkins spoke to the group of approximately 500 participants during three sessions on Lessons from the Sandbox, the Sandlot and the Sandtrap.
“You know, there is a difference in being in service and being a servant. When you are in service, you have the option of quitting, of just walking away. But when you are a servant, you have no rights. Christ owns you. You can’t just walk away,” he said.
What God has gifted a believer to do, God has also called a believer to do, Jenkins said. A believer really doesn’t have the option of not following through.
“The goal of leadership is not getting people to do what I want them to do,” Jenkins said. “The goal of leadership is getting people to do what God wants them to do.”
He pointed out that through the power of the Holy Spirit, God has given believers power that is not of this earth.
“Sometimes we act like we’re natural beings encountering supernatural areas, but, we’re supernatural beings encountering the natural world. We need to be operating in the supernatural realm all the time,” he said. “If you believe the invisible and are willing to do the uncomfortable, you can achieve the impossible.”
Defining character as the raw material of life, Jenkins said, “Your character becomes the issue if you’re a leader and follower of Christ. Reputation is fleeting, but character is what angels whisper about you into the ear of God.”
Jenkins listed six essential traits of ministry:
–The foundation of ministry is character.
–The motive of ministry is love.
–The authority of ministry is submission.
–The purpose of ministry is the glory of God.
–The privilege of ministry is growth.
–The power of ministry is the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of how good a spiritual leader is, conflict in the church will occur, Jenkins said. “You can’t escape it. It’s going to happen.”
He cited three principles of conflict. Conflict is inevitable, present in all stages of life and can be personal or interpersonal.
But, even though dealing with conflict in the church can be, not just uncomfortable, but hard, it has to be done so the work God has called us to do can be done, he said. “If we can’t address the conflict of the people in the pew who are living lives of quiet desperation, we can’t get the message out.”