The Catalytic Leadership of Paul (Romans)

This fall I am going through the stories and letters of Paul in chronological order with some our network leaders at Gateway. We are trying to determine the characteristics that made him so catalytic so that we might grow in this as well.

We are looking for the ways Paul sensed the moving of God’s Spirit in the following ways:

  • Miraculous methods of guidance
  • Performing miracles
  • Discovering receptivity and accepting suffering
  • Pursuing God and His righteousness
  • Reaching out to others and empowering others

Here is the order we are reading through and discussing:

Here are the passages that make up the Romans Road for helping people understand the message of Jesus:

  • Paul attempts to show his people and the Gentiles that they need God. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23)
  • Paul communicates the gift God offers to all of us. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)
  • Paul emphasizes our need for Jesus. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Rom. 5:8)
  • Paul describes how to connect with God through following Jesus. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Rom. 10:9-10)
  • Paul communicates the message of God to all without shame. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Rom. 1:16)

Here are some other highlights of Paul’s message to the Romans:

  • Paul emphasized the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as the power for people to change, and he connected baptism as a powerful symbol of the transformation. (Rom. 6:3-4)
  • Paul clearly communicated that God is just and our actions will be judged by Him (although we should not judge others) (Rom. 2)
  • Paul communicated that God revealed Himself through creation. (Rom. 1:20)
  • Paul emphasized God revealed Himself through His love. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… ” (Rom. 8:1)
  • Paul emphasized God’s desire to include others we do not (Gentiles included even if religious Judaizers did not want that). “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Romans 9:15)

Here are some questions to apply to our lives as leaders:

  • Who can we pass along the story of Paul and the principles of catalytic leadership this week?
  • How can we apply what we see in Paul’s life to our own life and leadership?
  • Have you noticed other ways Paul served the people of Rome in a way unique to their context?
Showing 4 comments
  • Larry Boatright

    I love this bro! I might steal it and use it as well…

  • John Williford

    1. Right off the bat, Paul calls out sinners and those who are unrepentant. He doesn’t pull any punches, and proclaims them rude, egotistical, and sinful. Most importantly, he informs the readers that people who do not follow God have no excuse; here we can draw an important lesson. Many ask how God could condemn peoples that have never heard of Him, or of Christ- this is a massive question that demands our wrestling with it, and this introduction to Romans is what I would pass on to others. Children have died before they could even form words- are they within God’s grace? Paul doesn’t answer specific questions like these, but rather brings down a truth that we can use to understand divine illumination. Through His creation- the world, ideas, love- God has shown Himself. He has communicated Himself, and anyone who seeks Him will find Him. The Christian can then assume that those who do not receive the grace of God have chosen this path of their own accord, with enough knowledge of God to at least pursue Him. In this way Paul asserts the ability of all men and women to know God.

    2. As I continue to grow in relationship with God, I get caught in a mindset which convinces me that I am becoming greater than others. Because I study the Bible and spend time understanding and knowing other people, I measure myself against others and wonder how “high up” I’ve gotten. Paul slaps this notion down quickly, and assures the recipients of his letter that even though it is easy to lose sight of our own wickedness, we are still held responsible for the sins that we point out in others. It is very interesting when Paul says that we will be judged according to our own rules. Forget God’s law- you can’t keep that- but you’ll be judged by your own rulebook that you made, that you yourself can’t even follow! It is a sober reminder to allow love to work in your heart when someone in traffic cuts you off, and you turn around and cut someone else off shortly after. We must seek to take the log out of our own eye before we violently correct others- I suspect it will take much more than 1 lifetime for this to occur.

    3. Paul sets the Romans straight in his letter, and focuses greatly on Jewish culture. Many are attempting to follow the law, and are judging others who cannot. Paul asks whether or not God is the God of Israel or the God of the entire world- obviously He is the latter. Then Paul uses a turn of phrase to convince his readers- God frees us up to follow the law, He doesn’t shackle us with it. Only through His love can we understand the freedom we’ve been given, and only through freedom can we truly take the realization of Christ’s love and turn it into a holy life for others.

  • Jordan Zehr

    Who can we pass along the story of Paul and the principles of catalytic leadership this week?
    – Anybody and everybody honestly. Not just the new believers but those of us who have walked with Christ for awhile now. Romans is the greatest work of early church theology that we have and because of that we have a great reminder that grace and love will conquer anything. We were saved by grace and grace alone. I think this is important to remind not only ourselves but those who are new to Christianity or searching for something that grace is for everyone.

    How can we apply what we see in Paul’s life to our own life and leadership?
    – Paul uses Romans to really show the way that God loves us. How nothing can separate us from that love and because of the grace bestowed on us, we are adopted into life with Him forever. Leading others into this can be tough but it’s also something that I was led into. It’s something I have to adopt and live in to effectively lead others into a grace and adopted life with Christ.

    Have you noticed other ways Paul served the people of Rome in a way unique to their context?
    – One thing I noticed is that Paul keeps with his practice of being bold. He asks tough questions of the Romans and encourages them in their ways while also adhering to the new grace that has come; Christ came to fulfill the law not abolish it and because of the fulfillment we can live free but we still must adhere to a new lifestyle.

  • Sonja DiNanno

    Paul tackles the enormous dichotomy in the people’s mind between the gospel and the law. It made me think of my friend who believes that we can lose our salvation. This chapter is all about trying to help the church understand that they are not justified by the law but through their belief in Jesus. And their salvation does not come from or remain in how well they obey the rules. Romans 5:8 said that,”while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” We did nothing to earn it and therefore we can do nothing to lose it. How can grace work up to salvation, then it stops? Then it becomes our job to be good enough? What an insult to what Jesus did for us! “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,” after we have chosen to believe, “ it does not depend on man’s desire or efforts but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 8:37 & 9:16)

    Paul is a great example for leaders today. He prayed for the people he was teaching. He also asked for their prayers. He did not get caught up the small things such as who ate what and who observed which holiday. He urged the church not to let these laws divide them, and kept pointing to Christ as the most important thing. Paul stayed rooted in who Jesus is and held himself and the church to the standard that their inner life should reflect what they say they believe.
    Because the people were familiar with the religious practice of sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, Paul explains Christ as the ultimate, last sacrifice. He was speaking to Jewish and Gentile Romans. He knows that they are breaking cultural norms by worshiping and eating together. He continues to help them understand there is no difference in God’s eyes between Jew and Gentile, that no one is righteous and following the law does not make you righteous. He was dealing with a very ingrained way of thinking. He was speaking to people who knew the law, so he explained how the law and faith go together. That the law can help us identify sin, and that the law is not sin but that we are not under a new law of the Spirit. Trying to reframe their mindset to seeing Christ and grace as the measure of their righteous and not the laws.

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