These are notes on the sermon, Leadership Keys (NCC Leadership Conference), preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 3 October 2021, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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As pastors and leaders look at their flock, it is important for them to realize that they are the Benjamin Generation who are rising up to impact the world.
Pastor Prince shares how he first met Pastor Joshua McCauley in the early 2000s in Hillsong Church in Europe, and this was Pastor Joshua’s first encounter with the gospel of grace. Pastor Joshua went on to start his church in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2013, which has grown exponentially since.
Many leaders judge the success of a ministry by the size of the ministry or its events. However, Pastor Prince shares that it is not only large events that have a great impact. In 2013, Pastor Prince held a one-day informal leadership session with young pastors including Pastor Joshua McCauley, Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., Pastor Jabin Chavez, Pastor Robert Madu, and Pastors Judah and Chelsea Smith. At this session, Pastor Prince shared the core messages of his ministry and prayed for each of them. Today, each of their ministries is flourishing tremendously and impacting countless lives.
Pastor Prince shares this to encourage the pastors and leaders attending this conference that they are similarly going to be movers and shakers in God’s kingdom as God raises them up to reach and impact the Benjamin Generation!
An important leadership key shared is that correction is part of the DNA of a grace church or ministry.
Having a grace church doesn’t mean that any and all types of behavior are condoned. Pastor Prince shares that when a person in a position of influence or leadership in the church is living in sin, they need to be corrected.
The emphasis of every sermon should be the grace of God. When grace is preached strongly, you will find that there is less correction needed for issues such as sinful lifestyles.
Why? Because grace is an amazing teacher. Grace teaches people from the inside. The Bible says that Sarah (who represents grace) did not need to invite Hagar (who represents the law) into her house to bring up Isaac (who represents the church) (Gen. 21).
There is correction in the body of Christ because if God loves you, He will correct you (Heb. 12:6).
Most of the time, God corrects us through His Word.
However, many times, people who are in need of correction are not exposed to the Word. They might be believers who have left church, are not listening to the Word, or not reading the Bible. God corrects these people through circumstances (however, God never corrects with accidents, tragedies, or sickness). A circumstance may come up that causes this person to be frustrated often, leading them to want to go back to church and start listening to the Word of God again. A good father loves his son too much to let him get away with sinful living that will destroy his life.
When it comes to correction, the pulpit should not be used to rebuke the entire church in order to reach the one person it is intended for. The pulpit is for feeding people, not beating them. Correction can come in the midst of feeding people with the Word as the Word causes us to repent (change our thinking and the way we see God).
A good leader does not hide behind the pulpit to correct people but instead goes to the person to handle the matter directly. In order to correct a person, we may need to decide which leader would be the best person to speak to them or bring along a witness if the person is not willing to listen (Matt. 18:15–16). As leaders bring correction where needed, they are building a glorious church.
Pastors and leaders, don’t get distracted from the main call! When you go to the pulpit, you must have the confidence that the people are hungry for the Word and want to hear something that will feed them (even if they don’t look like it)!
No one subject is better to feed the people than the Lord Himself. He is the bread of life and we are to make sure that the Lord is in the center of our teaching.
Every Sunday service should be a “Road to Emmaus” experience
Jesus gave us an example of what to do on Sundays when He chose to walk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus on the Sunday that He rose from the dead (Luke 24:13–15).
The disciples were feeling discouraged because they thought that Jesus of Nazareth was the mighty prophet who would redeem Israel. To these two disciples, Jesus was a means to an end and Israel was their central focus.
Perhaps today, you are believing for your church to prosper or experience signs and wonders—and these desires occupy your heart instead of Jesus. It is not that Jesus is not factored into your conversations, but He is merely a means to an end instead of the central focus.
The Bible says that while the two disciples were walking with Jesus, He hid their eyes from seeing Him for a while. Instead, what He did was “expound to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).
This was because it was more important for them to see Him in the Word than to see Him in person. By doing this, He was giving those of us who are living in the present the same opportunity as the two disciples because we too can see Him in the Word today!
This shows us that every Sunday, there should be an expounding of the Scriptures on the things concerning Jesus.
At the end of their journey, Jesus took bread and broke it and the disciples’ eyes were opened and they realized that it was Jesus who was with them. As they broke bread (a picture of the Communion), Jesus ceased to appear visibly as they remembered His death. The two disciples also commented that their heart burned within them as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:32).
Pastor Prince shares that this biblical account is the basis on which New Creation Church always has these two things every Sunday: expounding from the Scriptures the things concerning Jesus, as well as partaking of the holy Communion.
The Bible says that the church in the book of Acts came together to break bread (Acts 20:7). Paul was visiting, preaching long into the night. During his preaching, a young man named Eutychus (whose name means “good fortune”) fell asleep and fell from the third storey, resulting in his death.
This shows us that the church’s good fortune fell because they stopped listening to Paul’s preaching (the gospel of grace). While every scripture is important, the full revelation of grace was given to Paul.
“But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.””
— Acts 20:10 NKJV
“embracing” — After the young man Eutychus (who also represents the Benjamin Generation) died, Paul went down and embraced him, the way Elisha hugged the young boy who had died (2 Kings 4:32–34). Pastors and leaders, don’t just teach from a distance. The people need to feel your embrace and feel that their pastor cares for them.
As Paul embraced Eutychus, he came back to life. The way to revive this Benjamin Generation is to preach the gospel of grace that Paul preached until it embraces them.
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.”
— Acts 10:44 NKJV
“fell” — The word “fell” in this verse also means “embraced” and is the same word used when Peter preached in Cornelius’ house. While Peter was speaking to the people about the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit fell on them or embraced them to the point that they started speaking in tongues. This is also the same word used in Luke 15:20 when the father of the prodigal son embraced his son when he returned.
After Eutychus fell from the building and Paul raised him up again, Paul brought the people upstairs with the boy and took holy Communion together.
Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead
“Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.””
— Mark 5:41 NKJV
“Talitha” — The “tallit” is a Jewish prayer shawl and “Talitha” is a feminine word. So this word can mean “girl under the prayer shawl.” This implies that Jesus placed His prayer shawl over the little girl, and He said to her, “Girl under the prayer shawl, arise.” The prayer shawl represents Jesus’ robe of righteousness. Jesus has come to raise the young generation from the dead with His righteousness!
As Jesus was on the way to Jairus’ house, a woman with an issue of blood came behind Him and touched Him. This woman who was hemorrhaging represents the church, and her bleeding is a picture of two things:
During Jesus’ time, people wore a prayer shawl with a tassel that was blue in color and referred to as the “tĕkeleth.” “Tĕkeleth” is from the root word “kālâ,” which means “finished” and refers to Jesus’ finished work. When the woman with the issue of blood touched the tassel on Jesus’ prayer shawl (representing the finished work), her bleeding stopped. At this point, Jesus turned around so that she could behold the glory of God on His face, and that she would know that He loved her and wanted her to have her healing instead of feeling like she had stolen it. Then Jesus asked her to “go in peace,” or to walk into peace and wholeness, knowing that He wanted her healed.
Jesus threw the same prayer robe that was touched by the woman with the issue of blood over Jairus’ daughter and told her to rise (“Talitha, cumi”). The little girl rose from the dead.
When she arose, the first thing Jesus said was, “Give her something to eat” (Mark 5:43).
Pastors and leaders, once the Benjamin Generation is revived, feed them.
Let it be the aim of your ministry to be a feeding center, a place where people know they can come and feed on the Word of God.
Don't worry about leadership, administrative matters, or the other tasks that need to be tackled.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.””
— John 7:37–38 NKJV
“let him come to Me and drink” — Jesus tells us to come to Him and “drink,” not “draw” water for others. Often, you can go to Jesus to draw water for others but not drink any yourself, and you can end up dying of thirst. Drinking is a very personal thing and done for yourself, without worrying about others.
“out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” — Once you have drunk abundantly of Jesus, out of your belly will flow rivers of living water for others and they will be refreshed in your presence.
Pastor Prince shares that before he preaches a sermon, he needs to take some time to hear what the Lord wants to speak to His people. Doing this one thing is very needful.
Pastors and leaders, it’s so important for you to prioritize this! Don't let the enemy distract you from doing the one thing needful with other “good” or “important” things in ministry. Prioritize feeding for yourself and then you will be able to feed others and see to all the other matters.
Sunday is the Lord’s Day
In the Gospels, we see Jesus appearing to His disciples from Sunday to Sunday.
On the first Sunday of His resurrection, He met two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later that evening, He also appeared to His other disciples back in Jerusalem.
The following Sunday, He appeared once more to His disciples, this time including Thomas who had been absent the last time Jesus showed up. Jesus then invited Thomas to touch His scars to prove to him that He had indeed risen from the dead.
On the third Sunday, Jesus met Peter and a few other disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to restore Peter to ministry.
Jesus appearing from Sunday to Sunday tells us that Sundays matter.
Sunday is our day of feeding and rest.
The Lord wants us to rest first on Sunday before going ahead with the rest of our week. When we miss one Sunday, we can start to face challenges in our faith.
Jesus meets Peter and others on the shores of the Sea of Galilee
Before Jesus met Peter and the others at the Sea of Galilee, He had already met Peter once after He rose from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:5 and Luke 24:33–34 record that Jesus was seen by Cephas (Peter) after He rose from the dead and it is believed that he was corrected by the Lord privately here (this conversation is not recorded for us in the Bible).
This happened before Jesus restored Peter to ministry by the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It is one thing to be restored in your conscience and another thing to be restored to ministry.
When Peter first met Jesus, it was also on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus gave him a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fish, Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). At this point in time, Peter was more conscious of his sin than of Jesus’ love and grace.
After Jesus rose from the dead, Peter received another boat full of fish. When he saw Jesus on the shore, he swam toward Jesus, showing that he was more conscious of Jesus’ love than of Jesus’ holiness.
We see here that when Peter was not mature, he was conscious of the Lord’s holiness. But when he had grown in knowing the Lord after three and a half years, he was conscious of the Lord’s love for him.
It is a common misconception that grace is for the immature Christian and holiness is the mark of maturity. This could not be further from the truth! God gave man the law first, and when Israel was under the law, God called them infants. However, when grace (Christ) came, those who received Him became sons of God (Gal. 4:1–5).
Grace brings maturity because it teaches us to be holy. There is no higher step than grace. Instead, we go deeper into grace.
When Peter saw the Lord, it had an effect on his body. He became physically strong and was able to drag the entire net full of fish to shore all by himself.
Don't limit strength to spiritual strength because strength comes in every form—spirit, soul (thoughts and emotions), and body!
“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
— John 21:15 NKJV
“do you love Me more than these?” — Earlier, in Matthew 26:33, Peter had boasted of his love for the Lord, saying that even if “all” (the other disciples) denied Jesus, Peter would never deny Him. Now Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him more than all “these,” referring to the other disciples.
In the past, Peter said that he loved (“agapaō”) Jesus with a self-sacrificing love that was willing to give up everything for Him. Now, Peter responds to Jesus by saying that he loves (“phileō”) the Lord with a love that is only affectionate and fond. By this time, Peter had realized that Jesus’ love for him was so much greater than his love for the Lord.
The truth is that we don't esteem, appreciate, or value the Lord Jesus as much as He deserves. No one can appreciate the Lord more than the Father can. We are all learning to, but none of us have arrived yet.
Leviticus 2 talks about the grain offering consisting of fine flour. This fine flour speaks of the character of Jesus, the bread of life. There is no one characteristic of His that overwhelms another. While He is kind, He is not servile. While He has dignity, He is not proud. There is such balance in His beautiful character. He has moral beauty and glory, yet sinners are drawn to Him. This is why our hearts can rest when we see Him—there is no one on earth like Him.
Pastor Prince reminds us to never put any man or woman, especially ourselves, on a pedestal. You don't have to worry about your reputation in front of people. Instead, let them see Jesus through you.
Jesus’ actions emit a fragrance that only the Father can appreciate. This is why the Levitical grain offering contains frankincense, which is a perfume. When the meal offering is burned on the altar, only the oil, flour, and salt are burned. None of the frankincense is burned as all of it goes to God, reminding Him of His Son. Only God can fully appreciate every thought, look, gesture, and word that the Son carried out on earth, which are all a sweet fragrance to God.
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love (“agapaō”) Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (“phileō”) You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love (“agapaō”) Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (“phileō”) You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love (“phileō”) Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love (“phileō”) Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (“phileō”) You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”
— John 21:15–17 NKJV
“Feed My lambs” — When Peter responded that he did love (“phileō”) Jesus, Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs, referring to young believers and also the young generation. Just like Jesus threw His prayer shawl (His robe of righteousness) over Jairus’ young daughter, we are to tell the young generation about their righteousness in Christ! This young generation that is said to be hopeless, difficult, and beyond help because they are exposed to sin at such an early age will arise when they are clothed with Jesus’ robe of righteousness! Jesus is raising them up. And when they are raised, we are to feed them with the gospel of grace.
The second time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him self-sacrificially (“agapaō”), Peter responded that he loved (“phileō”) Jesus affectionately, to a smaller extent than Jesus loved him. Peter had learned that it was not about his love for the Lord, but rather about the Lord’s love for him.
“Tend My sheep” — This also means “shepherd my sheep” (NASB). A shepherd has oversight of the needs of the sheep. Tending or shepherding the people God put under your care is to know their needs and what they require to be fed.
A shepherd does not oversee his sheep for his own profit but cares for all of them regardless of their background (1 Pet. 5:2). Pastor Prince shares that it is not good when a pastor spends too much time with only celebrities or the movers and shakers in the business industry. Every sheep is precious to the Lord.
A shepherd also does not only care for his sheep simply because he has no choice and it is his job or obligation. In the Bible, Peter tells the leaders to keep the flock willingly for then you will have a reward (1 Pet. 5:2–4).
“Feed My sheep” — What an honor! That Peter’s mouth—the very mouth that had denied Jesus—was the mouth that preached on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved! Peter was so righteousness-conscious and full of the revelation of grace that he was able to tell the people that they had “denied the Holy One and the Just” (Acts 3:14) when he himself had previously denied Jesus three times.
The first king of Israel, Saul, was anointed with a vial of oil, which speaks of the wrath of God. On the other hand, David was anointed with a horn of oil, which speaks of the death of a male ram, a picture of the finished work of Jesus Christ.
We see a difference in their leadership as people followed King Saul trembling (1 Sam. 13:7), whereas under King David, men who were distressed, in debt, and discontented became giant-killers like him.
David as a picture of Jesus Christ
David’s father sent David to his brothers with bread, cheese, and provisions for their welfare, which is a picture of Jesus Christ.
Just like the world was under the tyrannical rule of the devil, Israel was intimidated by the rule of the Philistines. David killed the giant with just one stone and then decapitated him with the giant’s own sword.
Although the battle was outside Jerusalem, David brought the head of Goliath to Jerusalem and buried it in a place later known as “Gal Goliath.” Eventually, this name became “Golgotha,” or “the place of a skull.” Pastor Prince believes that this is where Jesus, the greatest Son of David, would be crucified, conquering the greater Goliath for all of us.
When Goliath emerged and began intimidating David, David knew he was a fighter and that no one could go near him. Our flesh is easily daunted and intimidated, which is why we must remember that our battles belong to the Lord and they are not based on the arm of flesh.
Valuing the people God has placed under your care
Pastors and leaders, God has entrusted you with your flock. However, there may be times when you look at other churches and begin to feel discontented with your people. Let’s not do that as people are all precious to God. If you don’t steward the people under you, why would God trust you with more?
God is always on the lookout for someone who loves His flock to entrust them to.
“Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.””
— 1 Samuel 17:28 NKJV
“those few sheep” — Out of his spiteful attitude, David’s brother Eliab referred to the sheep David tended as “those few sheep.” However, we know that the number of sheep was not small as David’s father was a rich man. The spirit of someone who is not a shepherd sees the sheep as “just a flock.” Let’s not have this attitude toward the people God has entrusted to us.
Compare Eliab’s attitude with David’s attitude:
“But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,”
— 1 Samuel 17:34 NKJV
“his father's sheep” — On the other hand, David referred to the flock he was tending as “my father's sheep.” When David saw a lamb taken by a lion, he didn’t overlook it but instead went after the lion and killed it. He valued every single sheep entrusted to him.
Don’t see your flock as “the same people giving me the same problems.” They are your Father’s sheep and God is trusting you with them.
Today, pastors and leaders, what is your attitude toward your flock, your work, and your ministry? Do you see the people merely as a “small work” or “these few sheep,” or do you feel that you are so privileged to be given this honor to oversee and feed them?
There are challenges that come along our journey of leadership, but don’t let these challenges stop you from flowing with the Spirit or feeding your flock. Many times, right before you are due to preach to your flock, attacks such as quarrels with your spouse or even insomnia and anxiety may happen.
This should tell you that the devil is very afraid of your feeding ministry. He knows that if he can smite the shepherd, the sheep will scatter (Mark 14:27). Today, we don’t have to be afraid of this because Jesus was smitten for us.
Your warfare as a leader is to rest in the Lord when these attacks from the enemy come. Know that these challenges are not from God. They are happening because all the enemy can do is try to distract you from delivering the Word. In fact, these attacks ought to be a compliment to you as the devil does not attack an ineffective ministry.
Pastor Prince shares some wisdom he practices, such as not discussing heavy topics with his wife Wendy before he is due to preach.
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd . . . smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered . . . ”
— Zechariah 13:7 KJV
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd” — The first mention of the sword in the Bible was the sword of judgment drawn by the cherubim as he guarded the entrance of the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned. The last mention of the sword in the Old Testament is in this verse, where the “shepherd” refers to Jesus. The sword was sheathed in the heart of God’s Son so that today, we don’t have to be afraid of any judgment. We have been made righteous in Jesus!
In this sermon, Pastor Prince shared biblical keys on how to lead a grace-based church or ministry. Take time to meditate on the truths in this message and seek the Lord about how you can put some of these Grace Leadership DNA teachings into practice:
Sunday service essentials
From: The road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35)
How to minister to the young generation
From: Paul raises Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:7–12), the prodigal son (Luke 15:20), Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:41)
How to view the people God put under your care
From: Eliab’s versus David’s perspective on their father’s flock (1 Samuel 17:28, 34), Jesus’ commission to Peter to feed and tend His sheep (John 21:15–17)
How to stay strong and healthy in ministry
From: Mary does the one thing needful (Luke 10:38–42), giving out of an overflow (John 7:37–38), Peter becomes strong upon seeing Jesus (John 21:11), the importance of the shepherd’s role (Mark 14:27, Zech. 13:7)
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2021
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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