Because the leaders took the lead in Israel, because the people offered themselves willingly, bless Yahweh! – Judges 5:2
Some brief thoughts today on leadership in the local church:
(1) what it is,
(2) how it benefits the church, and
(3) what is lost when it isn’t properly exerted.
How do you define Christian leadership in the local church?
Nothing especially inspired here, but this is my attempt at a definition of leadership in the New Testament assembly: Taking the initiative to influence the local congregation toward personal spiritual maturity in Christ.
Let me break it down with the aid of some Scriptures:
Biblical leadership in the local assembly:
- is a lifestyle: 1 Th 2.7-9 We were well pleased to impart unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls,
- of taking the initiative: Phil 2.5-7 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus… taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;
- to influence: Gal. 4:19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you
- the local congregation: 1Pet. 5:2 Tend the flock of God which is among you.
- toward personal spiritual maturity in Christ: Col. 1:28-29 whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.
What is gained when leadership when it is properly exerted in the local assembly?
- Leaders model the Christian life for others to follow; 1Pet. 5:3 not lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock.
- Leaders feed the saints spiritual food from God’s Word: Acts 20:28 Take heed … to feed the church of God.
- Leaders take responsibility for effective oversight of the assembly: 1 Tim 3:1 Faithful is the saying, he who desires to be an overseer, desires a good work.
- Leaders take ultimate responsibility for promoting the purity of the Body through discipline; 1Cor. 5:7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened.
What is lost when leadership is not properly exerted in the assembly?
- Believers are not strategically and intentionally discipled in the faith; Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations
- Saints are spiritually malnourished when they are not fed a balanced diet from God’s Word; Acts 20.27 For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God.
- Spiritual and financial needs may go unmet through lack of involvement and oversight; Acts 6:1,3 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution…Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.
- Gifts to the Lord may not be spent in God’s way without leaders attentive to God’s direction 1Cor. 16:1,2 Now about the collection for the saints: You should do the same as I instructed the Galatian churches…On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save in keeping with how he prospers, so that no collections will need to be made when I come.
- Outreach and evangelism may wane; 1Th. 1:8 For from you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth; so that we need not to speak anything.