Paul modeled for us the role of a godly church leader. What he taught had been received from the Lord. God had revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus and later in other encounters. Paul insisted that neither he nor any other church leader had any reason to be proud. The message and the power to proclaim it came from the Lord. He made this clear when he wrote, “Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou didst not receive?” (I Cor. 4:7).
Paul emphasized that God’s leaders must not seek out special honor and recognition. On the contrary, he rejoiced that he had gained nothing from the gospel. He earned his living as a tent maker. He worked with his hands. He suffered hunger, and he had no place he could call home. He was maligned and persecuted for his preaching. His life was in constant danger. Godly leaders not only teach the Bible but also demonstrate how the Word of God works out in life. They are people who have made sacrifices for the cause of Christ. They inspire others to do the same. When such men and women present world missions in a positive, inspiring way, people respond. When the pastor and other church leaders demonstrate that they love Christ and want to follow His Great Commission to evangelize the world, other Christians become serious about committing their resources and their lives to Christ’s mission.
Godly leaders challenge Christians to designate a substantial percentage of the church’s giving to missions. Some congregations give as much as one-third to one-half of their total income to missionary outreach beyond the boundaries of the local church. These churches keep in contact with their missionaries and look forward to hearing about their work.
When world missions is a priority in a church, young people accept calls to go on summer missions. People of all ages consider the challenge of short-term mission assignments. In such churches young people are counseled and encouraged when they feel a call to full-time Christian service at home or abroad.
Godly leaders are the key to financial and personal support for world missions. Let us thank the Lord for faithful leaders who, like Paul, can say, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (I Cor. 4:16).