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Stage 3

A New Kind of Leadership

 

"Jesus said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves'" Luke 22:25-26.

When the Lord Jesus established His Church, He introduced a whole new kind of leadership. Unlike the leadership style of the world, this leadership is based on servanthood.

"So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God...For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" 1 Corinthians 4:1,5.

Before Paul referred to his ministry as an apostle, he called himself a servant (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 3:7). It is this servant attitude which underlies all ministry. Jesus Himself gives us this example. Though Lord of all, he became the servant of all (Mark 10:45). He set for us the example of the kind of leadership He requires of His Church (read John 13:3-17).

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant..." Philippians 2:5-7.

Understanding Eldership

An elder is someone who is older in the faith, with a leadership gifting in the Body of Christ, regardless of what kind of ministry gifting that may be (1 Timothy 5:17; Acts 15:4-6). Even though Peter was an apostle, he called himself an elder (1 Peter 5:1). John also called himself an elder (2 John 1). Elders can be appointed for special leadership roles (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:15).

"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder...Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock" 1 Peter 5:1-3.

Be shepherds

The Lord Jesus is called the "great Shepherd of the sheep" (Hebrews.13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; Revelation 7:17) and He sets the example of a "good shepherd" - one who lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11-15). He is the "Chief Shepherd" (1 Peter 5:4) and every leader who shepherds His flock is responsible to Him.

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood" Acts 20:28.

Serving as overseers

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task" 1 Timothy 3:1 (read verses 2-7).

An overseer is someone who has the responsibility of guiding and leading a church (Titus 1:6-9; Philippians 1:1). With that responsibility comes the authority from Christ to govern a church (Romans. 12:8; Hebrews. 13:17). Jesus is called the "Overseer of our souls" (1 Peter 2:25) and the model for how an overseer should lead.

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood" Acts 20:28.

Not greedy

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" 1 Timothy 6:10-11 (see verses 5-9; Luke 12:15; 1 Thessalonians. 2:4-5).

The motive of Christ-like leadership is not self-gain but self-giving. A leader can receive financial support from a church (1 Corinthians. 9:7-14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). It is not money that is the problem. It is the love of money (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 6:24).

Eager to serve

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others..." 1 Peter 4:10 (see also 1 Corinthians 3:5; 4:1).

A leader is not just to serve, but to be eager to serve (1 Peter 5:2; Romans. 12:11). If we do anything out of obligation, this is not pleasing to God. Rather, everything we do in the Christian life is a response to God's grace (1 John 4:19). We give our lives in ministry because of God's goodness to us (Romans 12:1).

Not lording it over

"...You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant" Matthew 20:25-26 (see also 2 Timothy 2:23-26).

To "lord it over" means to take the place of the Lord in people's lives. Only Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Corinthians. 8:9). A leader's desire should not be to build a big ministry for himself or to lord it over other churches (2 Corinthians. 1:24), but to work with other ministries to help the Body grow (Ephesians. 4:16), as fathers and mothers in the Lord (1 Thessalonians.2:6-7,11-12; 1 Corinthians. 4:15-16).

Being an example

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" Hebrews 13:7 (see also Titus 2:7-8; 1 Thessalonians. 1:5-6; 1 Timothy 4:12).

True leadership is by example (2 Thessalonians. 3:7-9) This is the way that Christ leads (John 13:15; Ephesians. 5:1-2; 1 Peter 2:21).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" 1 Corinthians.11:1.

Elders of a City

"My prayer is...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" John 17:20-21 (read verses 22-23).

The purpose of leadership is to lead. Leading means having a vision and a goal. That vision must be an expression of the vision of the Lord Jesus Himself (read Ephesians. 1:9-10). In order for His vision to be fulfilled, Jesus prayed that "all of them may be one." God's plan is bring the leaders of the Church - the "elders" of a city, town or village - together in prayer and unity. This is the foundation upon which He will pour out His Spirit.

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Copyright 1981,1996 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.

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