I hope those who have glanced at the previous 'First Things' blogs will have got the point. In my first, I asked what counsel a retiring leader would give to younger leaders. I hope that the answer would be 'Protect and Proclaim the Gospel' or words to that effect.
The two follow up blogs were an attempt to reinforce this. Paul's final message to Timothy in 2 Timothy was to protect and proclaim the gospel. Jesus' instruction to his followers before ascending to heaven was to go into all the world and 'preach the gospel'.
In other words that which is of first importance is 'the gospel'. I say this because it is so easy for leaders to lose sight of this. At a local church level elders, swamped by all kinds of bureaucratic concerns, can easily lose sight of priorities. The temptation is to see the great need of the church in terms of a hundred and one other things, other, that is, than the gospel.
Leaders at an itinerant level eager so often for recognition and to leave their mark invent all kinds of success packages that we are confidently told is what this generation needs to hear and do. Jesus had but one. Paul had but one. True leaders will have allegiance to but one: preaching (to christians and non-christians) the gospel. The gospel and the gospel alone is 'the power of God unto salvation'.