February 4, 2016
Local Church Leadership Notes
Recently there has been a tremendous increase in the number of books written concerning church leadership, these cover many different viewpoints and conceptions regarding effective leadership, some are very good and others need to be viewed very carefully before copying or implementing ideas from these sources.
No church is exactly the same or has the same needs, people differ in character and temperament; similarly a local church more often than not differs from the one across the road. What works in one church may never do so in another, it is essential to have flexibility without compromising the Word of God. It is essential that Leaders are hearing and in tune with the Holy Spirit’s desires and purposes. Good leaders will always be striving to take a church forward; poor leadership will result in stagnation due to becoming maintenance minded. Leadership is responsible for the welfare of any church and its members and they will be held accountable by the Lord for the spiritual welfare of a local body of Christ for sermon content, worship or any other activity within the church, leaders will one day answer to the Lord for any decisions and actions taken on His behalf.
John21:15-17, Jesus repeatedly challenged Peter concerning his personal relationship to Himself emphasizing that his work was to feed the Lord’s sheep. Peter this is your function as a church Leader and I will hold you personally responsible and accountable. That is what I have called you to do, concentrate upon your calling, what happens to John is My concern not yours. “You follow Me!”
Jesus following the selection of twelve disciples spends approximately three years developing and training them to become leaders of His future church, constantly having to correct their thinking and attitudes during this time. Of those chosen only Judas Iscariot turned out to be a failure, time eventually led him to be revealed as a totally self-serving, lover of money who only sought a position in the Kingdom of God for the wrong reasons, he eventually fulfils the prophesy of Zech.11:11-12, & 13:6, as described in Matt.26:14-15, 27:1-10, Jesus was not deceived by Judas Iscariot, allowing him to continue until the prophetic word was accomplished in the Garden of Gethsemane.
We may ask the question, “If Jesus knew the prophetic word was to be fulfilled in the person of Judas Iscariot, was there another additional reason we overlook?” Jesus intended and wanted to show disciples that a leaders love of money, will eventually lead to his fall and failure as a leader. 1.Timothy.3:3, Paul emphasized, that no elder or church leader should have greed or love for money, and a covetous nature, this disqualifies them from leadership.
Lessons from the Old Testament
Acts.7:20-36, describes Moses as a strong powerful leader in Egypt; with all the necessary qualities of worldly leadership. Moses has to be retrained to meet the Lord’s required standards, which are contrary to what the world desires to see in a leader. Moses will go through a long process of practical training learning that personal pride has no place in God’s order until he reaches a place where he considered himself of no consequence or incapable of leading Israel out of Egypt. Ex.3 & 4. During this 40 year period Moses was being prepared for the task that the Lord had selected him to do. Gradually from this point he moves from a position of doubt to become a great and fearless leader. Numbers.12:3-16, Moses is described as being very humble, v.3, revealing another quality of a true leader, as he intercedes for his sister Miriam to be saved from Gods judgment and for her restoration.
Much later we can see how the Lord expects and demands the highest standard of obedience from any leader holding them accountable to set an example to those they lead. Numbers.20:7-12, Deut.4:1-7, Moses frustrated by the people, Psalm.106:32-33 strikes the rock in direct disobedience to the Lord’s word; this resulted with Moses being disciplined by the Lord, and not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Israel’s leader is not above being disciplined by the Lord.Num.27:12-14, Dt.1:37-38, Dt.3:23-26 & Dt.32:49-52. Although Moses pleads with the Lord to be allowed to enter into the land, the Lord will not change His decision. Moses is allowed to see the Promised land Dt.34:1-7, but not permitted to enter, he dies and is buried by the Lord, although Moses was still physically strong, it was time for the baton of leadership to be handed over to another.
It is obvious the Lord expects and demands extremely high standards of obedience from those He appoints to lead His people. These standards are necessary and required for Elders and Deacons in the church today, 1.Timothy.31-16, 1.Timothy.5:19-21, and 1.Peter.5:1-4, clearly show leaders are to be held responsible and accountable for their ministry to the church, in exactly the same way of O/T leaders or kings as those in authority.
Spies are sent into the Promised Land – God uses this as a proving ground or testing of a potential leader’s faith in Him.
Dt.1:20-46. v.22-23, The people are described as those who do not trust in the Lord’s word, they approach Moses to send out spies to first enter the land, sadly Moses agrees after confirmation from the Lord, Numbers, 13:1,to their suggestion selecting 12 men to go and spy out the land, Numbers 13:1-20. This reveals an important lesson regarding the kind of leader/s the Lord is seeking. Through this exercise the Lord shows that it is not always those who appear to have all the necessary qualifications for leadership are suitable. Ten out of the twelve selected by Moses fail. Probably the 10 were very good administrators at Tribal level, but totally unqualified because they lack the measure of trust, courage, and faith in the Lord required to lead the nation forward into the Promised Land, 2.Cor5:7, these 10 men walked by sight not by faith as we shall see. They failed the test or proving of their capacity to lead and were subsequently quickly dealt with the possibility of their further negative speech continuing to negatively influence the people. Numbers.14:36-37. By telling Moses to agree to the peoples request to send spies into the land, the Lord was also teaching Israel, that man will not always trust the Lord God, and many times will rather really in their own understanding of situations that require faith in God alone.
v.1-2. a. The Lord instructs Moses to send out 12 spies to go through explore and survey the land.
b. This instruction reminds him of the Lord’s promise concerning the land.
c. The selection of those to send is given to Moses, with the qualification every man
must be one of the fathers of a tribe. Note that statement “one of the fathers”
indicates in each tribe there were several possible candidates.
v.3. Moses selects the Tribal leaders, the head men at that time, a natural choice, logical, humanistic; they are already leaders of their tribes. Their leadership during Egyptian captivity was accepted; however these men are subjected to a test of their true leadership ability and faith when sent to spy out the Promised Land. During their 40 days moving through the land full of hostile people the Lord had kept them safe from any harm. At their return to Israel’s camp they are carrying proof that it is a fruitful land, plus they had experienced God’s ability to protect them. Almost immediately 10 of their number express their fear and negativity despite the evidence they hold in their hands. Their lack of faith and trust in God was quickly revealed, confessing that they had a Grasshopper mentality. This exercise into the Land was a test which revealed their limitations as potential leaders and those they were unsuitable to be involved in leading the nation forward by faith into the Promised Land.
NJKV. v.3. “Moses sent—at the command of the Lord, all of them who were heads of the children of Israel”
NIV. v.3. “So at the Lord’s command Moses sent —–.All of them were leaders of Israel”
NLT. v.3. “So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. —-all tribal leaders of Israel”
AMP. v.3.”So Moses by the command of the Lord sent scouts—-all of them men who were heads of the Israelites”
v.4-16. List of the Tribal leaders chosen.
v.17-20. Moses gave them their task, to reconnoiter the land. “Be courageous” “Bring back
fruit of the land – Proof, evidence, of the Lord’s promise.
This test initiated by the Lord, reveals the necessity when selecting future church leaders that the will of the Lord needs to be sought and found before any appointment is made , human wisdom can be misguided by appearance or position and very easily deceived, resulting in choice of the wrong person or persons. Moses and Israel are taught a great lesson regarding selection of true leaders. Also see 1.Timothy.5:21-22. 1.Samuel.16:7.
We must learn that great carefulness is required when seeking leaders for the church. Moses words require great attention; Numbers.13:20. “Be of good courage” situations may arise within the church from time to time needing strong firm loving discipline to be applied, when Pastors, Elders should and must take courageous decisions for the good and welfare of the church, which may include firm but loving discipline of a member or members in accordance with the Word of God.
Ten of the 12 selected men fail; they saw difficulties greater than their faith level. Their negative attitude together with personal fear affected all of Israel, whatever level of faith the people of Israel had prior to the return of the spies was destroyed by this negative report resulting in and preventing their entrance into the Promised Land for 40 years.
Although God did establish His word, out of the mouth of 2/3 witnesses Joshua and Caleb, and through their testimony His word was proven to be true. 2. Cor.13:1 & Deut.19:15. The other ten spies representing the majority of opinion persuaded the people to accept and believe in what they had seen and imagined. This proves that a majority vote based upon humanistic thinking or popularity is not the Lord’s way of choosing leaders nor is it in accordance with God’s will or word.
Numbers.13:1-33, reveals beyond any doubt there are Leaders and leaders, some are limited to an area of leadership in which they are reasonable effective, and there are also other leaders who can move into areas of faith and trust at a higher level.
Numbers.27:12-23. Moses had learnt the lesson regarding selection of leadership. Told he is soon to die, his concern is that the right man be chosen to lead Israel in his place, v.16, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation” The lesson or message of Numbers.13, had been well noted by Moses who now knowing he must make the most important decision of his life seeks the Lord for direction regarding the appointment of his successor to lead the nation forward.
Joshua is trained to fill Moses shoes over a long period, when it was time for Moses to relinquish his position as leader of Israel, he seeks the Lords will before Joshua is appointed Numbers.27:15-23. Joshua.1:1-9, The Lord speaks directly to Joshua giving him authority and informing him that he must v.8, take the written Law as his guide. Jos.1:10-18, Joshua took his position as the Leader of Israel, issues certain commands to other lower ranked leaders to pass on to the people, note v.16-18, the people submit to Joshua’s authority to the extent they tell him to put to death anyone who does not obey his commands and that Joshua must be “strong and courageous” when required to act against the rebellious.
Through the account of Israel’s initial attempt and failure to enter the Promised Land, there are lessons the Lord can teach the church:-
Firstly if the Lord has given positive directions how any church is to move forward, His word should be accepted and obeyed without doubt or fear.
Secondly regarding leadership we must never to trust in our human understanding or estimate of someone’s ability to lead others, always seek the Lord for His mind, will and confirmation regarding selection.
Thirdly Jesus provided very clear directions, judge a man by his fruits. Matthew.7:16-23, v.20. Paul would never have become the great leader he became, without being fully committed to the Lord’s plan and purpose for his life following his conversion experience on the Damascus road.
Prior to the Disciples receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit, they used a method of casting “lots” after asking the Lord to identify which man should be appointed to replace Judas Iscariot. This was the final use of “casting a lot” in appointing someone into a leadership position Acts.1:20-26. Following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Acts.2:1-4, it is the Holy Spirit who selects those He wishes to lead the church. Unfortunately, and sadly churches have frequently reverted to selection of men by appearance or voting which may be influenced by the popularity or high profile of the person concerned. The church is a THEOCRACY, NOT A DEMOCRACY, meaning that it is the Lord who rules and appoints leaders according to His will, not man!
Selection of potential leaders should be conducted through prayer and waiting for direction or confirmation from the Holy Spirit regarding the suitability of someone to be appointed into church leadership. 1.Tim.5:21-22, the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy to be very careful before “laying hands on a person” contextually this concerns the appointment of leaders. Take time and much prayer seeking confirmation before appointing and ordaining anyone into a position of leadership!
The New Testament gives very clear instructions in the epistles of Paul and Peter concerning the qualifications and character required for Pastors, Elders and Deacons. Therefore before any appointment the mind of the Lord must be sought, if that person is already showing the fruit of righteousness plus revealing the signs of a potential leader, then in all probability that person will by God’s grace fulfill the requirement of a good leader.
It is wise have a probationary period of not less than 12 months for all local leaders to prove themselves before being finally accepted as permanent members of the leadership. To be followed by the Senior Pastor annually assessing their performance regarding their leadership, commitment and capability. If a leader finds, they are either unable to perform their ministry as an Elder or become involved with things that interfere with their church leadership role. There can be no other alternative other than they voluntarily step down from leadership, or they are told stand down from the position. This requires the Pastor of the church to remain strong and firm in whatever decision he has come to concerning any Elder or Deacon. Failure to act positively in such a situation will inevitably result in further problems.
Anyone who desires a leadership position is to be recognized and appointed by the Lord, holding a position or title in the church is not important, it is the fulfillment of a God given calling and ministry that must and should always bring and give glory to the Lord.
Faith! Courage! And total Commitment are the prime requirements of a good leaders ministry.
The Origin of Leadership began in the first Family.
It began with Adam; God gave him responsibility and His word Genesis.2:15-17. He then gave him a wife called Eve. Adam fails his test of leadership when he did not stop Eve eating the forbidden fruit when she is being tempted by the serpent. Gen.3:1-7, the word clearly teaches that Adam was with her; hearing and watching her fall into the serpents trap he did nothing to stop or correct her. This cost them their special relationship with God resulting in them being driven out of the Garden of Eden, Gen.3:24, obviously too late they realized what they had done and lost. The fact that the Lord drove them out of the Garden reveals that they had now realized the consequences of their disobedience and wanted to stay in the Garden of God’s abundant provision in a fallen sinful state. God is just as firm with them as He is later when dealing with Moses disobedience.
Noah a great leader, walked with God, built the Ark by faith, an almost perfect example of leadership to his family until one day Gen.9:20-29, he got drunk on the wine he had produced, two sons Shem and Japheth act circumspectly covering their fathers nakedness, Ham appears to be delighted when exposing his father’s weakness resulting in ultimate personal cost to himself and his descendants.
Abraham. Who in time became the “Father of all who walk by faith” Rom.4:17, failed several times within his family twice passing his wife Sarah of as his sister.
David, proved to be a great leader, yet failed when dealing with his own family, the rebellion of Absalom was brought on by David’s continual refusal to see or speak to his son.
It is almost inevitable that a leader’s weakness will be seen first within his family circle. This is why Paul places such strong emphasis in 1.Timothy 3:1-16, upon the home and the relationship that is expected to exist between an elder or deacon and their family, anyone desirous of the position of leadership in the church must be first and foremost the leader of his own family, the husband of one wife able to control his own children, plus being an example to the neighborhood in which they reside. It is also obvious from v.10, that every potential candidate for leadership must have proven track record, and as previously stated it is a good thing to place all newly appointed leaders on a probationary period plus at least an annual assessment by the Senior Pastor of the church who needs to sit down with them and assess their performance and faithfulness over the proceeding period of time, and not being afraid to bring correction whenever found necessary, as this is all part of maturing himself and other leaders in the Lord.
1.Peter.5:1-4, teaches yet another important facet of good leadership, he compares elders to a local shepherd, the first test are are the potential leaders capable of shepherding their own family, he places great emphasis that no leader should act as a “lord” over God’s heritage. Leadership does not give anyone the right to dictate how others should live their lives, this includes home life. All leaders need to realize they are required to lead by example from the front. A Congregation like sheep is to be led from the front not pushed from behind.
The wife’s role in leadership
Paul emphasizes the co-partnership a wife plays in regard to positions of leadership within the church, this means that a wife is part of an Elders or Deacons ministry, although she may essentially remain almost unseen and unheard when it comes to decision making, it is very clear from the scriptures that the wife’s commitment to her husband’s ministry is absolutely essential for any leader to properly perform their God given ministry. Most wives do not realize the very important part they play by allowing their husbands to function in leadership. A wife can either, make, break, or possibly nullify their husband’s development and ministry by failing to release him into the ministry God has called him to fulfill. The old saying “Behind every good man, there is a good woman” is actually quite true, particularly in church life, Genesis.2:18 & 24-25. However! there is an obvious alternative; a difficult demanding wife can ruin a man’s potential in the Lord’s work. Many leaders’ wives have a problem understanding that when a man is called into some form of ministry in the church, it is through releasing him to do the Lord’s work that the wife becomes more blessed by the Lord.
The church is part of God’s family; it is where leaders are under the microscope of scrutiny more than any other place, within our own home circle our immediate family may tolerate or overlook faults we may have. However in the body of the church, although we are all members of God’s family, weaknesses are easily noticed such as lack of commitment, faithfulness, intolerance, lack of love, etc, there are so many areas that people expect a leader to be almost perfect, inevitably we shall fail in some of these, once we become aware of them remedial action needs be taken as soon as possible. Leaders are accountable for and to other leaders, as well being always be alert to the fact we are not only responsible to the church body in which we serve, but above all responsible and accountable to the Lord Himself.
Moses looked after his father-in-laws sheep for forty years, they were never his. Similarly the flock of God is never our own, they always belong to the Lord, our responsibility is to care for and protect them to the best of the ability the Lord has given us, always remembering that one day we shall be called to account before Him.
A REVIEW OF LEADERSHIP NOTES AND GUIDELINES.
This comprises three particular areas of challenge, which are briefly referred to.
- Leadership needs to regularly examine itself and if necessary be more committed to one another and to the church. Strong emphasis placed upon relationship and money. (I refer to the UMBRELLA PRINCIPLE, PROTECTION FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND THE CHURCH!!!)
- Church needs to financially FREE – Some give their tithes or support to other churches or sources. That is unscriptural Malachi.3:6-12. No blessing without pain, or a price, certain members will never be able or willing to go “all the way” they will never find the real blessing of the Lord, until they free themselves of the chains of fear that hold them back.
- Mixed multitude – Joined Israel on Passover night, always the trouble makers, only finally removed 1000 years later. Nehemiah.13:3. Inevitably there will be such people among the believers who will never fully co-operate with vision of the church, and may prove to be constant thorn in the flesh to the leadership!
FURTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS – PASTOR TERRY BRINDED
Ephesians.4:1-3. Strive together to keep the UNITY OF FAITH. Psalm.133:3.
Numbers.13-14. The 12 spies return from Promised Land carrying fruit on their shoulders. What they carried outwardly, was not what they carried inwardly in their hearts. They looked united as one in spirit, but were actually divided, 10 were fearful and spread despondency, unable to carry the Vision and Purposes of God.
Heart = mind, the seat of the conscience.Acts.4:32, “Of one heart and mind”
Change always is a challenge and painful! Never easy! Demands a sacrificial heart!
LEADERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS. Timothy.3:1-7, Titus.1:5-9 and 1.Peter.5:1-6.
- Leaders must be qualified with a SACRIFICIAL character, prepared to fully give themselves to the church and work of God.
- Leaders must be proven faithful – This also includes Tithing! 1.Peter.3:13-22, refers to keeping a GOOD CONSCIENCE = TOWARDS GOD BY KEEPING HIS EXPECTATIONS AND STANDARDS. 2.Cor.9:6-11. TITHING IS WALKING BY FAITH EXPECTED OF ALL DEMANDED OF NONE.
- Leaders must lead by example- In every area of church life. i.e WE CANNOT TEACH TITHING, FAITHFULNESS, OR ANY FORM OF COMMITMENT TO OTHERS IF WE ARE NOT PREPARED TO DO THESE THINGS OURSELVES.
- Leaders must keep the principle of submission – To the WORD OF GOD.
- Leaders must be responsible and accountable. To always strive for unity and harmony amongst themselves. No man is an island!
- Leaders must be prepared for and accept that occasional confrontation is inevitable.
- Leaders must have passion for the church in which they serve.
- Leaders must always promote the purpose and vision of the church.
- Leaders should be ready to literally “get their hands dirty”
- Leaders must watch out for the dangers of pride.
- Understand that the church is a “THEOCRACY” not a “DEMOCRACY” Heb.13:7 & 17.
- Understand that a leader’s commitment and attitude is always under the Lord’s and members of the churches scrutiny.
- There is no such thing as once an elder or deacon always an elder or deacon!!! Leadership is a ministry, in and to the church, it is not a TITLE or POSITION to be sought for or held to satisfy ones ego or for personal recognition.
- 1.Timothy.3:1. Starts with “If any man desires the position of an elder” this is where it starts and ends, the desire to be an elder with the responsibility and accountability required must remain with a man throughout the active life of his ministry to the church body.
- Leaders must lead! When in charge of a meeting, never allow anyone to hi-jack it! Use the authority given to you in Christ. Losing control amounts to poor leadership!
- Every Leader must be an example to the church ready and willing to move positively forward, the negative 10 Spies of Numbers.13-14, led Israel from bondage in Egypt, into the bondage of the Wilderness. Due to their negativity the Lord removes them immediately Numbers.14:36-37, as an example to the people of His disappointment and anger at their lack of faith in Him, concluding His judgment upon the nation.
- ESTABLISHING A PASTORAL TEAM.
Mark.5:37 & Luke.8:51. Peter, John, and James, where chosen and taken by Jesus into the room where Jairus daughter was to be raised from the dead. A.D.27
Matthew.16:13-20. v.18. Jesus following Peter’s confession introduces the church N.T. church concept for the first time. A.D.28
Matthew.17:1-8, Mark.9:2-8, Luke.9:28-36. Mt Transfiguration.
Peter, John and James, selected by Jesus to be eye witnesses of a very special revelation called the Transfiguration to the Christ. Witness they never forgot:-A.D28
John1:14. & 2.Peter.1:16-18.
Matthew.26:36- 46, Mark.14:42 and Luke.22:40-46. Peter, James and John, also accompanied Jesus deeper into the Garden of Gethsemane. What Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus regained in Gethsemane when He said “Not My will but yours be done”
***These 3 disciples become known as the “Inner Circle” Privileged to witness 3 -Major events in Jesus life.
*James, brother of John executed by Herod Agrippa Acts.12:2. A.D.41-45.
*Peter – Spearhead of Evangelism. Acts.2:14-41. Lead the Apostles. Died martyred, A.D.64.
*John. became a great Theologian, banished to Patmos, wrote John, his 3-Epistles and Revelation, died natural causes. A.D.100 probably aged 94.
Pastor Terry Brinded 2016-01-23