4 Criteria For The Nucleus

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Senior church leadership must have something that they can use in the determination of who is in fact with them in the nucleus.  We have already seen that we can follow the first two principles of casting the vision and equipping the saints to see who becomes part of those principles.  But we really need a list of criteria that are more specific.  There are lots of passages in the Scriptures that describe the good solid character of a true believer.  Those can be used.  Or, pastors and other leaders can develop their own lists from experience in leading others.  Lists should be modified from time to time until we arrive at one that truly serves its purpose in identifying the nucleus.  In this chapter we will look at four points that might help to judge whether someone is really in the nucleus or not.  These are four things that clearly point to a man or woman that is qualified for ministry.  Also, each of the points speaks of the person’s relationship with four necessary things. 

1. A person in the nucleus is spiritual.  This speaks of his relationship with God

This is someone who:

  • Has a character that is devoted to “Kingdom principles.”  This means that he is led by the Spirit and is sensitive to the Spirit.  He seeks to understand these kingdom principles and apply them to his life.  He is devoted to finding the will of God for his life, and then seeing that it becomes a reality.  This is someone who will search the scriptures and who will, like is said in 2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 
  • Walks by faith.  In other words, he makes sound decisions based on the Word of the Lord.  Doubts will arise from time to time in his life, but this is a person that will overcome doubt by the certainty of God’s plan for his life.  John said it this way in 1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 
  • Sees the goal ahead.  Again, this is someone who has received the vision that has been cast, and is willing and desirous to work toward the objectives according to that vision.  This quality could not be described more aptly than Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” 
  • Receives a true anointing.  Acts 1:8 is so often quoted and preached that it has become almost commonplace.  But it still bears the deep truth that we should first become empowered, and then we should be the witnesses as ordained by God.  There’s just no substitute for the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost.  Revival work is a spiritual one, and therefore demands a spiritual strength.  Jesus spoke to Paul with these words recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 
  • Is courageous in the cause.  Scripturally, there are two things that defeat fear: faith and love.  The perfect illustration for this is the occasion when Jesus and His disciples had to cross the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 8.  There are two important elements at work here: first, they were simply obeying the Word of the Lord to cross; second, they were with the Lord in the boat.  Though the storm that came up that day was terribly frightening, these two things should have defeated their fear.  Romans 10:17 states, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  They surely had heard the Word of God that day!  Jesus had said, “let’s cross over.”  And as we read in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”    The word “perfect” there does not imply without fault, but rather “complete.”  These disciples were in a boat together with Jesus.  What could have happened?  Could the storm sink the God of all power?  Our complete love means riding in the boat next to Him.  Where He goes, we must go.  This kind of love and devotion will keep fear at bay.  No wonder then that Jesus asked them in verse 26 after calming the wind and the sea, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”  Although God will bring the revival, the battles that we must share in order to see it are not always easy to wage.  The nucleus person is one who is brave enough to stay with the Lord in the midst of the struggle.

2. A person in the nucleus has integrity.  This speaks of his relationship with himself

This is someone who:

  • Is honest in all things at all times.  He is no hypocrite, but to the contrary is someone who is on guard for the insidious temptation to compromise his convictions.  He is not out to simply look good to others, but is concerned with the inner man first, knowing the outer man will follow.  The problem with the hypocritical Pharisees of Jesus’ day was simply as described in John 12:43, “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”  It cannot be so in the nucleus of the Church.
  • Considers the possible results of an action before acting.  This is the meaning of Ephesians 5:15, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”  The context of this verse is that of being genuine, not acting as if we are one thing while in reality we are another.  As Paul said in Romans 14:16, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of.”  Not everything we may be allowed to do is always the best thing to do at any one time.  Some actions may present unwanted ramifications afterwards.  Nucleus people are aware of this and walk with their eyes wide open.
  • Is submitted in truth, obedience, and holiness.  This is a person for which ordinances of the church are not a problem.  He is submitted to them because he is first of all submitted to the Lord Jesus.  In Mark 7:6 Jesus rebukes the Pharisees by declaring, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”  There’s the real root of most of our struggles with hypocrisy.  We try to show that we are submitted to God by our outward actions while our hearts remain cold, calloused, and independent.  It just doesn’t work like that in the Kingdom of God!  Candidates for being included in the church’s nucleus are those that have first humbled themselves before the Lord, thereby creating the attitude by which they may be led by God’s Spirit. 

3. A person in the nucleus is compassionate.  This speaks of his relationship with others

This is someone who: 

  • Is moved by the needs of others.  The Holy Spirit is a compassionate spirit, and if we are truly filled, we will manifest this caring attitude toward others.  We are told in 1 John 2:9-11, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”  And Paul made it plain and simple in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  It seems like many saints are attracted to the powerful move of the Spirit of God and the signs and miracles that He gives.  But the greatest attribute of all has always been, and will continue to be, love.      
  • Esteems others better than himself.  This of course is taken from Philippians 2:3.  The context is the humility displayed by Jesus the Almighty, Who made Himself in the likeness of men.  He condescended to save us.  How can we refuse to be abased if it would mean the exaltation of our brother?  In verse 4, Paul goes on to say, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”  We are, after all, a body, in which every member is vitally important, and in which each part serves to edify the rest of the body. 
  • Bears the burdens of others.  Paul says in Galatians 6:2 that by doing this, we “fulfill the law of Christ.”  In other words, in displaying this kind of compassion, we actually embody everything that Jesus came to earth to do.  He came to seek and save.  The first verse of that passage says that we can help to “restore” someone when necessary, i.e., bring back someone who has fallen to the glorious position in Christ he should occupy.  In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus was asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  What greater ministry could there be than this?     
  • Is understanding toward others.  One of the greatest barriers that we face in ministering to others is the lack of trust.  People hurt people, and people are hurt.  Trust is certainly a rare commodity in these last days.  Listening and really trying to understand the position and feelings of others can serve as the catalyst for building trust.  Everyone wants to be heard, and everyone wants to be understood, but where are the listeners and the ones that will understand, if not in the Church?  This is a very necessary character trait of someone in the nucleus.

4. A person in the nucleus is dynamic.  This speaks of his relationship with his ministry

This is someone who:

  • Is focused on the task.  Jesus called it having your eye “single.”  In Matthew 6:22-24 He told His disciples, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, explaining the word “single,” says this: “singleness of purpose keeps us from the snare of having a double treasure and consequently a divided heart.” 
  • Is committed to the cause.  A nucleus member is one that has taken personally the challenge of revival and has made it his own.  He has seen that it is possible, attainable, and that he is able to be a significant part of it.  He or she is someone who has understood the parable of the man and the grain of mustard seed, knowing that if planted in his garden, it will flourish into a mighty tree.
  • Recognizes his abilities and his inabilities.  While having the faith and commitment to become useful as above, a nucleus person also knows where his limitations are practically.  None of us can do everything, but we all can do something.  Knowing where we are most gifted and talented is a great help in personal ministry.  “I can do all things through Christ” doesn’t mean we can or must do it all.  It means that whatever we are led to do is possible for us.  It is always going to be the Lord’s strength that is needed in ministry. 
  • Has initiative and a desire to grow.  The nucleus will be the core from which and through which new ideas and methods are born and implemented.  Members of this core will work closely with the other leaders and will be happily sharing not only the load of the work, but also sharing their thoughts on how to better the overall work.  A desire to go beyond the normal and leave behind the status quo is another part of this necessary characteristic.  As stated above, from the nucleus will be chosen the leaders of the future; those who demonstrated their desire to move into areas of greater responsibility and delegated authority.
  • Becomes skilled through experience and practice.  Obviously, this is an ongoing trait.  It starts small and grows with time.  The point is, however, that this kind of quality is invaluable for those that will move into leadership one day.  They learn through experience, even through their mistakes.  Everyone makes these mistakes, but unfortunately, not everyone learns from them!  Being dynamic means in part being good at what we do.  Experience and practice help us to achieve that worthy goal. In 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul told his son in the gospel to “exercise…unto godliness.”  The word “exercise” is the Greek word from which the English takes its word “gymnastics.”  In other words, Paul tells Timothy that he is going to have to regularly “work out” a little bit, getting stronger and stronger with each repetition of the exercise. 


About Jim Poitras

Enlisiting, educating, equipping, empowering, and encouraging members, ministers, and missionaries in apostolic global missions. Director of Education/AIM