Imagine a church staff where each person’s primary vision is to attain Christlikeness. Picture working with this group of people: not only do they each fulfill their responsibilities, but they are also earnestly walking in both Christ’s humility and His redemptive view of life. Add to these virtues that they are committed to unoffendable unity in their relationships. 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 staff. While none of us is perfect, and we still have to match individual gifts correctly with ministry needs, the compelling vision for each person is to become Christlike.
It wasn’t always this way. We have had our share of misunderstandings and immaturity. We even suffered a couple times from “staff infection.” Over the decades, however, we have learned some things that are invaluable in creating both vision and right attitudes.
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). However, originally a staff was not a team of people but a strong, straight branch that was cut from a tree and sanded smooth. Upon this staff a traveler would lean as he walked. The purpose of the staff was for support, balance and also used as a weapon to protect the traveler. From this insight, perhaps we can better understand the genesis of the word staff and how a spiritual staff can provide strength, balance and protection for a leader.
Of course, when we talk about leader/staff relationships, the leader must first be passionate about personal conformity to Christ. Obviously, the leader will not be perfect, but he or she should be sincerely reaching for Christlikeness. A leader, by definition, is someone whom others follow. The more clearly leaders demonstrate that their life goal is conformity to Jesus, the more they will inspire their staff to follow them.
Amazing Power in a Godly Staff
Yet, there is further insight into the power of a Christlike staff. Remember when the Almighty appeared to Moses in the burning bush? The Lord told Moses to cast his staff to the ground. Immediately, the staff turned into a dangerous snake from which Moses fled. Rather than being the leader’s protector, it had become his enemy. 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 (James 3:16) – then it has the capacity to suddenly turn into a serpent.
In the above story, however, 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 again. 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” (Exod. 4:17).
The Holy Spirit placed an anointing upon Moses’ staff and with the staff he worked miracles. Repeatedly we see in the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt that it wasn’t Moses alone that released miracles; the signs and wonders came through his 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” (Exod. 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. And there is no greater means to fulfilling the purpose of God than when a leader and staff all choose to pursue conformity to Christ.
It is time to focus upon the high calling of God for our churches, which is nothing less than “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15). Regardless of how successful your ministry has been in the past, imagine the success that awaits you with a staff united in their pursuit of Christ’s likeness: the staff of God!
Let’s lead the body of Christ to be the BRIDE Jesus is coming back for.