Bible Topics In The Christian Library

Today concludes our short weekend meeting emphasizing the leadership of the Church. Brother Rutherford has done a marvelous job in presenting thought provoking lessons on the subject of leadership. Since we have our minds on this subject I thought it would be good to consider some misconceptions that people have about leadership in the church. 

1. “Leaders are born, not made.” Many people use this as an excuse for not desiring to lead. While it is true that all of us have been given certain talents (abilities) it is not true that we cannot improve on these skills and grow in our ability to exercise biblical knowledge and leadership. The Bible clearly tells us that we can, and indeed must grow spiritually. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). All of us can grow spiritually. All of us can learn leadership skills. The question for all of us is, do we want to? 

2. “You have to be a superman to be a leader in the church.” Make no mistake about it, leadership in the church is not for everyone. You have to live up to a high standard for moral uprightness and fidelity to the Word of God. The qualifications for elders and deacons are clear and should not be ignored. Many times we open ourselves up to problems because we select men who are not qualified to be elders, deacons, or preachers. But we also should realize that God does not expect the impossible. Pay attention closely. Elders, deacons, preachers, and Bible School teachers all sin and fall short of the glory of God. See Romans 3:23. We are all subject to the same temptations as anyone else. While we should live holy and righteous lives, we make mistakes. Every person who aspires to leadership in the church will make mistakes and need to repent. It is their lifestyle and their desire to live close to the Lord that should be examined. And since we have mentioned the qualifications of elders and deacons we should remember that all those qualifications are things that all Christians should aspire to and possess, with the exception to marriage and having children. Those are the only qualifications that are singular to elders and deacons. And the Bible tells us that God has not given us commandments that are grievous (odious, impossible to comply with). See 1 John 5:3. 

3. “Leadership just means setting examples. No one but Christ is in authority in the church.” We should understand the difference in original and delegated authority. Jesus has all original authority. (Matthew 28:18). No one has the right to give new Scripture or bind new commands. But the Elders have been given delegated authority. They have been entrusted with the carrying out of Jesus’ commands. They decided the means and methods of carrying out the Lord’s work. They cannot decide whether or not to meet on Sunday, that has been already decided by the Lord. But the Elders can and must decide when we meet on Sunday, and how many times. Read Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7, 17. These passage all tell us that Elders have authority to make decisions as to the work of the Church. Leadership is a vitally important topic. It is my prayer that you have been edified in this brief study and that you desire to aspire to leadership and/or appreciate those of this congregation which lovingly lead us. 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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