Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Staff of God, by Pastor Francis Frangipane

*Hello business women of God, I thought you would enjoy reading this excellent article about "staff," whether you are in ministry or have a staff you work through your business. -Krista*

Imagine a church staff where each person's primary vision is to attain the likeness of Christ. Picture working with this group of people: Not only do they each fulfill their responsibilities but they are earnestly reaching for Christ's humility. When they see something wrong or flawed, they do not become accusers. Rather, they meet the need with Christ's redemptive prayer life; they correct each other, when necessary, in the love and meekness of Christ. They are committed to possessing unoffendable unity in their relationships, both with those whom they serve and those who serve them. Is there any doubt that with such a team God could change the world?

Before you say the above is impossible, I'm actually describing my pastoral staff during the years prior to my retirement. The key had been their participation in In Christ's Image Training. While no one on staff was perfect, and we still had to correctly match individual gifts with ministry needs, the compelling vision for each person was to truly become Christlike.

In Ancient Times
According to the dictionary, a staff is "a group of assistants to a manager, executive, or other person in authority" (The American Heritage Dictionary). Originally, however, a staff was not a team of people, but a strong, straight branch cut from a tree and sanded smooth. The purpose of the staff was for support and balance, and it was also used as a weapon to protect the traveler. From this simple origin, we can better understand the genesis of the word staff and how it came to represent those who support a leader. Just as a staff provided strength, balance and protection, so a leader should find these same qualities in those who serve as his or her staff.

Of course, when we talk about leader/staff relationships, my main focus is leadership in God's kingdom. Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us that the Lord appoints individuals to serve His people. The idea that somehow leaders are not needed in God's kingdom is a reaction to the failures and abuses of the past. What we need are godly, humble leaders, not self-gratifying or abusive leaders. We need individuals whose transcendent goal is personal conformity to Christ. Such leaders should be supported by individuals who can work with, and also under, leaders placed in authority.

Amazing Power in a Godly Staff
The benefit of a godly staff is profound; it is a principle key to releasing the power of God in a church. Remember when the Almighty appeared to Moses in the burning bush? The Lord told Moses to cast his staff to the ground. Immediately, the rod turned into a dangerous snake from which Moses fled. Rather than being a source of protection for Moses, his staff became a threat. My first point is this: if a staff has not been touched by God to serve a particular leader---if it still harbors jealousy and selfish ambition (see James 3:16)---then it has the capacity to suddenly turn into a serpent, with tongues that spread poison.

However, in the above story the Lord told Moses to pick up the serpent, and as he did, it returned again to being a staff. When we lay our staff at the feet of God, that staff will be different when the Lord tells us to lift it, and this is my main point. When God gives you the staff He has chosen, there will be supernatural power accompanying it. In fact, listen to what the Lord said to Moses: "You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs" (Ex. 4:17).

The Holy Spirit placed an anointing not only upon Moses, but upon his staff---and it was with his staff that he worked miracles! Repeatedly, the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt did not come through Moses alone, but God released miracles, signs and wonders through Moses' staff! Moses pointed the staff, struck the waters with the staff and waved it up at the sky; the staff was the instrument through which divine power manifest.

Not only that, but from that point on Moses' staff was called by an additional name. It was now called the "staff of God" (Ex. 4:20; 17:9). Oh, I pray this is a revelation to your heart! It is not enough for a man or woman of God to be anointed---their staff must become the staff of God. It is here, in the oneness of Christ, where the staff of God attracts Heaven's greatest blessings and power.

Written by Pastor Francis Frangipane, Advancing Church Ministries,

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