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As a church leader, how can I get my team to follow my direction? If I say "the Lord says..." they listen to me. Is it wrong to do this?


Thank you for your question. I am glad that you have been reading the Bible and I hope that you are trusting God to help you in leading a church. 

I want to first make it clear that speaking on God's behalf by saying that ideas or projects are from him when he has not given you a clear indication that this is the case, is wrong. Indeed, "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" (1 Corinthians 2:16). By saying that something is of God, it would be like us instructing him the way we ought to go.

Furthermore, by using the name of God for our own purpose, we are clearly disobeying the commandment that "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain" (Exodus 20:7). The name of the Lord is precious to him, just as our name is to us. If someone were to say that we sanctioned a certain project, when we didn't, we would take offence. How much more then must Almighty God take offence if we use his name in vain?

Throughout the Bible, God has spoken through people, but they were always aware that God was doing so. A person who is saying 'the Lord says' when this is not the case, is doing a wrong thing, even if their intentions are good. 

It is, however, possible that God is speaking to you through the Holy Spirit; an idea or project that comes to our heart may be from God. It is important that we test everything; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21) in order that we may know for certain whether an idea is from God. This can be done through prayer, reading the bible and seeking other good Godly counsel. 

It seems however that your question is more to do with leading your church rather than a question of theology. I would encourage you to continue to share your project ideas with your team. Any opposition you face may simply be that your team are wanting to evaluate the project to make sure it works. For example, a person asking about financing a project is not necessarily against the project, but they are thinking practically where we may only see the vision. 

I encourage you to think more about involving your team in the spiritual direction of the church. After you have put forward an idea, ask your team to pray about it and read their bibles for God's direction. It may be that God will speak to them over the coming weeks and encourage them about the vision. Similarly, by utilising a person's individual attributes, God may give them vision about the best way of moving a project forward. 

You do not mention in your question if your church is a member of a denomination or movement. I encourage you to speak to other church leaders in your locality of your denomination or movement to get their help and advice. It may be that they have had similar difficulties and know of a sensible and Godly solution to resolve a situation. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17), so meet with other leaders, listen to them and take their advice. 

I cannot tell from your question whether you have received any formal pastoral training, but I encourage you to speak to a local or national bible college. Most bible college courses will have modules about pastoral care and leadership, and they may help you greatly. Furthermore, if you have not received any formal training, I encourage you to take a course. Your church may help release you into this, as it is to the benefit of the whole church. 

In summary, the name of the Lord is precious to him and we should not take the name of the Lord in vain, or treat it lightly. However, I encourage you to continue praying for your church and your leadership team. Pray that God would bless them and speak to them too. Speak to other leaders about their experience and if possible, get further pastoral training from a high quality bible college. 

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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

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