“As sheep having no shepherd” (Mt. 9:36). Many churches can be described in this statement employed by Christ to describe the Spiritual decline of the nation Israel. The need then and now is in “leadership.”
Assuming that a church knows and understands its Biblical purpose for existence, the purpose of this study is to investigate some of the leadership principles necessary to get the job done in an expeditious and Christ-honoring manner.
The Bible discloses and develops this principle: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” This is a principle that almost all of the commercial, business, institutional and industrial world has been quick to recognize and develop. But, it is a principle that is almost completely ignored and undeveloped in the local church. If a business firm were to administer itself as many churches do, it would go bankrupt in no time.
GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT LEADERSHIP AS DEMONSTRATED IN:
- The organization of Old Testament Israel (Ex. 18:13-26).
- The organization of the Kingdom (Jerusalem) Church (Acts 6:2-4).
- The organization of the Church which is the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12). God gave a Pastor and Deacons specifically for the local church (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-2). The Pastor is to the church what the Patriarch, Prophet, Priest and King were to Old Testament Saints.
- The organization of the Millennial Church (Mt. 19:28).
- The organization of the Home (Eph. 5:23-24; 1 Tim. 2:1-14).
- The organization of Human Government (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-15).
- The organization of Angels (Eph. 2:21; 6:12; Col. 1:16). This might be explained as follows: Principality Angels are Super Rulers, Power Angels are as Commissioned Officers, Might Angels are as Special Forces, and Dominion Angels are as Non-Commissioned Officers.
- Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 14:33, “God is not the author of confusion,” and 1 Corinthians 14:40, “All things done decently and in order.” Note: Thus we learn:
– Leadership is important to God.
– There must be authority and submission.
– God has always administered His program through key leaders.
GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE QUALITY OF LEADERSHIP:
- As demonstrated in the “Incentive Principle” (1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Tim. 4:7-8; Mt. 25:23).
– Good leaders receive a double portion of blessing (1 Tim. 5:17; cf.,
1 Thess. 5:12-13).
– Bad, ineffective leaders receive a double portion of discipline
(Jas. 3:1). God has always reserved His strongest anathema for
Inadequate and ineffective leadership.
- As demonstrated in God’s discipline of Israel:
– God knew that people would follow their leaders (Hos. 4:9; Mt.
– God indicts the rulers of Israel for their inadequate and ineffective
leadership (Ezek. 22:26-28; Isa. 9:16).
– God reserves His strongest “woe,” (warning of impending judgment
for: 1. the idle leader (Zech. 11:17); 2. The self-serving leader (Ezek. 34:2-3); 3. The unsaved, apostate leader (Ezek. 13:3; Jer. 5:31). In verses 3-6 we see the duties that were neglected:
- Neglected to teach
- Neglected to supply physical, spiritual and emotional needs
- Neglected to work for reconciliation
- Neglected to evangelize
God says He will discipline inadequate and ineffective leadership
(Isa. 9:14-15). Thus, we learn:
- The exercise of leadership is a great responsibility.
- The exercise of leadership has the potential of resulting in either great joy or great discipline.
THE REVIVAL, GROWTH OR DYNAMICS OF ANY LOCAL CHURCH MUST FIRST COME AT THE “LEVEL OF ITS LEADERSHIP”: (Eph. 4:11-15).
There is a great deal of hope and interest generated today by the so-called “grass roots” movement in politics and religion, but both sacred and secular history record very little success for reform or revitalization that did not first begin at the leadership level; i.e., the Restorations and Revivals of Israel (all were led by men at the top: King, Priest, Prophet, Judge, etc.). And so it is with the church; the Bible knows no other plan! When God wants something done, He chooses a man, equips him, fits him for the task, places him at the head of his people and tells them to follow him and obey.
- A Divine provision for church growth (Eph. 4:11).
- Church life, productivity and growth is dependent upon plurality of godly leadership.
- The plurality of godly leadership is the priority of the local church.
- This is the reason for Paul’s hastily-called conference with leaders
of the Ephesian churches in Acts 20:17-35).
…Paul is closing out his third missionary journey.
… Paul stopped at Miletus on his way to Jerusalem
…Paul seizes the opportunity to send for the leaders of the
Ephesian Churches (about 30 miles away).
…Paul spent 3 years teaching in Ephesus—he must have taught
… Paul knows he’ll not see them again and is burdened that
they understand the importance of maintaining strong, godly
- Divine objectives for church growth (Eph. 4:12-15).
– “Perfecting the Saints”
– “Work of the ministry”
– “Edifying of the Body of Christ”
– “Unity of faith”
– “Knowledge of the Son of God”
– “Perfect man,“ this is soul-winning evangelism, i.e., the completed
Body of Christ.
– “Not loveless but speaking the truth in love”
– “Grow up” Spiritual maturity
BUT BEFORE ANY OF THESE THINGS, THERE MUST BE LEADERSHIP!
THE ESSENCE OF BIBLICAL LEADERSHIP “EXEMPLIFIED” BY THE APOSTLE PAUL: (Acts 20:18-38).
- The Apostle Paul was able to disciple people not only by what he taught, but by what he was (1 Thess. 1:5-6). Especially see Paul in Acts 20:18-38, where he is clearly seen to be man who was:
– Urgent, punctual: “from the first day” (vs. 18)
– Consistent: “at all seasons” (vs. 18)
– Dedicated and loyal: “serving the Lord” (vs. 19)
– Humble (not self-seeking): “with all humility of mind” (vs. 19)
– Compassionate, affectionate: “with many tears” (vs. 19)
– Perseverant (intestinal fortitude, guts!): “temptations which befell
me” (vs. 19; cf., vs. 23)
– Honest and unselfish: “I kept back nothing that was unprofitable
– Instructive: “showed you and have taught you” (vs. 20; cf., vs. 27)
-Thorough ”publicly and from house to house” (vs. 20, cf., vs. 26)
– Evangelistic: “testifying…repentance and faith” (vs. 21, cf., vs. 26)
– Conviction, courage and constraint: “none of these things move
me” (vss. 22-24)
– Sacrificial: “I count not my life dear unto myself (vs. 24)
– Exhortive: “I ceased not to warn” (vs. 31)
– Content: “I coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel” (vs. 33)
– Industrious: “These hands have ministered unto necessities” (vs. 34)
– Generous: “to them that were wit me” (vss. 34-35)
- The Apostle Paul’s example is based upon the example and teaching of Christ (Mt. 20:27-28)
- The greatest principle of leadership is to be an “example.” What Jesus Christ was, we are to be! The Pastor and Deacons are leaders. People are going to follow only when they an see consistency between what the leaders profess and what they do!
- Example is the key to leadership (Phil. 3:17; 4:9; cf., 1 Thess. 1:5-6; 2 Thess. 3:6; Heb. 13:7). The leader’s teaching is important but without example it is ineffective. The congregation has a right to expect a good example!
These are perilous days we live in. The Dispensation of Grace may be fast drawing to a close, We, Church-Age believers, can no longer afford to tolerate the dangerous attitudes of indifference, mediocrity, and half-heartedness, especially in the area of local church leadership.
May God grant us a revival of bold, godly leadership in the pulpit and a plurality of godly, dedicated Deacons serving as administrative assistants to the Pastor in the Lord’s work.