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Passaggio Conference 2006Spiritual Leadership

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Date December 8, 2006

Some 140 brethren gathered at the evangelical centres near Naples and Florence to hear pastor Jerry Marcellino from Audubon Drive Bible Church in Laurel, Mississippi, USA speak on the theme of ‘Spiritual Leadership’.

The first session of this pastoral conference focused on the duties and responsibilities of those who are leaders in the church. Not only is the minister to possess a saving knowledge of Christ, but he must also constantly remember that he is dependent on God’s grace in his ministry. His progress on a personal level is to be manifested before the people of God. He must maintain an attitude of repentance and a willingness to be always preparing, as an assiduous student of God’s word. Prayer is a wonderful aspect of the faith, but the presence of indwelling sin demands that the leader keep refocusing his life on the Lord. The minister’s life is truly the life of the ministry.

Spiritual leadership is then to be applied in the minister’s family. Based on personal experience (Jerry and Dawn have seven children) and his responsibilities towards some sixty church families, Pastor Marcellino stressed vividly the importance of leading the family in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Children are living messages sent to future ages, and fathers must not shy away from their Scripture-given task of teaching and leading their families with conviction. Drawing from Psalm 78:1-7, Mr. Marcellino duly emphasised the importance of not hiding God’s Word from our children, thus setting spiritual leadership in the family within a transgenerational context. Our children must see our passion and excitement for the Lord and His Word.

In his third session, Pastor Marcellino dealt with leadership among church elders. Every elder ought to be apt to teach, whether for edification, evangelism, counselling, Bible study or Sunday School, thus showing he possesses a commanding grasp of the Scriptures. Always mindful that his gifts are from the Lord, the elder must cultivate them so as to promote growth in the church and to equip God’s people. While unity and collegiality among the counsel of elders is to be pursued and preserved, the spiritual leader or pastor should nonetheless take ultimate responsibility for the church’s decisions. As a primus inter pares, he must be seen as the one whom God has set aside to guide and shepherd the flock. Basing his comments on 1 Cor. 9, pastor Marcellino urged churches to appoint brethren to the full time ministry and meet their responsibility of supporting them adequately, both in prayer and in practical terms.

As has become customary, Passaggio presented the latest publication translated from English into Italian: this time it was the turn of John Piper’s The Pleasures of God, and Let the Nations Be Glad! and we now keenly await the publication of the fourth volume of M. Lloyd-Jones’ series on Romans and the volume 2 on The Sermon on the Mount. Possibly due to some Italian blood running in his veins, Jerry and Dawn merged easily and comfortably with the lively Italian fellowship. We were also pleased to welcome Ian McElhinny from Ballymena (Northen Ireland), with whom Passaggio is exploring ways to make itself better known overseas. Christ’s church is truly universal.

We now look forward to Passaggio’s family conference in May 2007. In that occasion Passaggio guest speaker is Pastor Mark Dever from Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington D.C., USA) speaking on ‘The True Disciple’.

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