Guarding the Gate (Devotion)
Are you leading in a local church? You are a gatekeeper. 1 Chronicles 9:22 gives us a picture of this high calling, describing a fascinating position among the Levites, or ministry leaders, in God’s house:
“…The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer. They and their descendants were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the Lord—the house called the tent of meeting.”
It’s funny how relevant the Old Testament is to leadership in today’s Church. Read through the entire chapter, and you’ll see that not much has changed over the past several thousand years.
They had C.F.O. Gatekeepers “entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God” (Verse 26). There were facility Gatekeepers, “assigned to take care of the furnishings and all the other articles of the sanctuary” (Verse 29).
Verse 33 even mentions the worship Pastors of that day. They were a special breed back then too.
“Those who were musicians, heads of Levite families, stayed in the rooms of the temple and were exempt from other duties because they were responsible for the work day and night.”
Maybe it will help a few other “Type-A” leaders like myself to know that creative people couldn’t be kept on a schedule back then either! Seems like musicians have always done their best work with fewer restrictions.
As I was reading this a few months back, the term gatekeeper jumped off of the screen. We really are called as leaders to “guard the gates,” protecting the presence of God and owning the vision He has given our church.
Verse 22 says it well. This is a “position of trust.” We are responsible, and no one else. Our primary mission: Keep what is God-honoring and full of life in, and keep everything else out.
As a fellow gatekeeper, I thought it would be helpful to address three key issues that can infiltrate the four walls of the church, and how to guard against them.
Guard Against Di-vision
This is the fastest way to stifle vision. In fact, it literally means “two visions,” and it is a cancer to a healthy church culture. Division may even apply to our alignment with the Pastor’s vision.
We have to ask ourselves, is my ministry supposed to be a second head on the body, creating a “side-show” entity vying for everyone’s energy and attention? Or, is it designed to be a supporting and contributing piece in the local body God has entrusted to me?
Be on guard against statements laced with “us” and “them” vocabulary. “Pastor wants us to sing this song… He has it on his heart.”
What if we owned his vision like it was our own? Maybe some of us aren’t seeing God breathe life into our dreams because we’ve never invested in the dreams of another. And what makes us think God will trust us with our own ministry if He can’t trust us with our Pastor’s?
We are all on the same team, and fully committing to one vision led by the Sr. Pastor is crucial in accomplishing our mission.
Guard Against Offense
I’m sure you’ve heard, “The best offense is a good defense.” I’ll take it a step further. “The best offense is a good defense against offense.” Are you following?
In other words, building a healthy defense against being offended is the only way to move forward in ministry. Numbers tells a story about Miriam (Moses’ sister) who became discontent and offended with her role in the wilderness. The result:
Number 12:15 "So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days (She was afflicted with leprosy during this time), and the people did not move on till she was brought back."
This is a good example of what offense can do. It infects, isolates & incapacitates, keeping us stuck in the past and present. And worst of all, keeping us from moving forward.
Guard against Everything
I’ll keep this one short. Some of us are so focused on doing everything that we do nothing well. It’s so helpful to play to our strengths and be who God created US to be.
Not everyone is called to make worship albums, host a leadership conference or write a book. But all of us are called to advance the Kingdom of God in the way that He uniquely created us to.
Let’s take our cues from 1 Chronicles 9 and recognize that we each have a role, and there’s no shame in recognizing our weak points and playing to our strengths!
Are you guarding the gate?
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