Dr. David Jeremiah: Essentials On Church Leadership

Christ Church Stellarton

Why do we have leaders in the church? Why is it necessary for a few people to hold positions of power? Couldn’t God alone make all the decisions? After all, its members are His people. His family.

That might have been the case had Adam and Eve not sinned. But their sin introduced chaos into our earthly relationships, and dealing with chaos requires us to establish order–which does not naturally happen within a group of individuals without a leader.

Sometimes the task of leadership is to divide an overwhelming amount of labor, as Moses did when he appointed judges to be “rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Ex. 18:21). When the nation of Israel needed deliverance from oppressors, God chose judges to lead them . Jesus Himself chose apostles, both during His earthly life and after His resurrection, who would found the entire church (Eph. 2:20).

After Christ’s ascension, the apostles immediately became “pastors” to 3,000 new Christians–a number that grew rapidly in the days and weeks after Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:1, 7; 9:31, 35, 42; 11:21, 24; 14:21; 16:5). Soon the apostles became so overwhelmed with administration that they didn’t have time for their true spiritual calling–“prayer and…the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). The apostles asked the Jerusalem church to select “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) who could take care of logistical matters like the distribution of food.

At that point, the early church had two categories of leaders: apostles and “ministers” or servers (no label is applied to them in Acts). The apostles were concerned with oversight, seeking spiritual direction for the body of Christ in prayer and also proclaiming the gospel in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the seven servers focused on managing the day-to-day affairs of the church.

Once the church began to spread, Paul appointed elders and deacons to oversee local churches and to take care of their spiritual and physical needs. In addition, Paul appointed some of his proteges to provide interim leadership in the new congregations, thus carrying those new assemblies forward. These ministers all had three qualifications: they had to be reputable, Spirit-filled, and wise (Acts 6:3), since they would be responsible for correcting moral impurity (1 Cor. 5:1-5; 9-11), maintaining order in worship (1 Cor. 14:26-35), and rejecting heresy (1:3,4).

In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, Paul details the qualifications for elders (or overseers); the qualifications for deacons and their wives are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Churches were expected to use these lists as they appointed leaders in every city where new congregations were established (Titus 1:5). These elders, according to Paul, needed to be established in the faith and “blameless” – not perfect, but free from scandal and condemnation in their personal and family lives (3:2-7). They were also responsible for the teaching and preaching in the church (3:2), activities necessary for combating false teaching.

As the churches matured, their leaders and positions of leadership became established. The writer to the Hebrews suggests that the churches that would receive his letter were being shepherded by second-generation leaders (Heb. 13:17).

Now, many centuries after the first installation of church leaders, churches still need godly shepherds, who can not only preach and defend the gospel but who will faithfully serve the flock, ever mindful that they serve under the “Good Shepherd” who tenderly cares for His own (1 Peter 5:2,4). The health of the church in the midst of a hostile world depends on the quality of its leadership.

Source: The David Jeremiah Study Bible. Nashville, TN.: Worthy Publishing, 2013, p. 1707.

Book Review: Leadership Essentials by Greg Ogden and Daniel Meyer

Excellent Tool For Developing Maturing Christ Centered Leaders

Ogden in Meyer have done a great service to the church by putting together this helpful leadership mentoring workbook in order to bring bonding and multiplying influence to ministry oriented leadership teams. I have personally used the book for several years know with church staff, elders, deacons, interns, and in order to train budding leaders. I have found that each environment I’ve used it in, (one on one, triads, and groups up to 12) there has been good discussion, accountability, and encouragement towards Christ-like development.

The workbook is broken down into four sections with three chapters in each section:

Part One: The Character of a Leader

1)    Holy – Developing a vision of Christ-like Character

2)    Habitual – Cultivating spiritual disciplines to sustain leadership

3)    Humble – Keeping watch over your souls

Part Two: The Posture of a Leader

4)    Kneeling – Embracing servant love as our primary model

5)    Teaming – Building teams to accomplish our corporate mission

6)    Stewardship – Stewarding gifts, passions and personality

Part Three: The Vision of Leaders

7)    The Compelling Christ – Loving passionately the compelling Christ

8)    Embracing the Kingdom – Engaging people in mission

9)    Helping Others See – Lifting people out of lethargy and inertia

Part Four: The Shaping of a Leader

10) Taming Temptation – Facing the Dangers of money, sex, and power

11) Conquering Criticism – Handling criticism with humility and fortitude

12) Defeating Discouragement – Addressing disappointment, frustration, anger, and depression

Each chapter contains a core truth which flows from the Bible; a memory verse (there are actually several verses to memorize per chapter); an Inductive Bible Study with questions based on the specific topic being discussed; a classic reading on the topic; and leadership exercises or applications for each topic.

Overall it’s an excellent tool to use with current leaders; potential leaders; or even for any small group that wants to grow in the area of leadership and Christ-likeness. I have found it to be one of the best leadership development tools I have used in ministry and therefore, recommend it highly. It also makes a terrific sequel to Ogden’s previous workbook on Discipleship called Discipleship Essentials.

Book Review: On Being a Leader for God by Warren W. Wiersbe

I have never been disappointed reading anything by Wiersbe. He is especially helpful for anyone who teaches the Scriptures. This book is filled with helpful bible verses, quotes, stories, and illustrations of what it means to be a godly and biblical leader for God’s glory. He has a way of writing that always keeps you interested, turning the page, and constantly saying to yourself, “That was an excellent point…” or “well put.”

According to Wiersbe, “Christian leaders are people who, by faith, willingly use their character, abilities, authority, and opportunities to serve others and to help them reach their fullest potential, to their benefit, the benefit of the organization, and the glory of God.” The body of the book is used as a practical exposition of this definition of leadership.

Warren Wiersbe uses his pastoral experience and breadth of reading and writing experience to give us a plethora of Biblical, historical, and modern day examples of what makes for an outstanding leader of God.

Reading Wiersbe is like reading from a Biblical Patriarch. He is knowledgeable, godly, wise, and puts the leadership principles on the bottom shelf – where any Christian can learn and grow to become a better leader for God as a result of reading and applying the principles laid out in this excellent book.

*Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Warren Wiersbe is the author of more than 100 books. Billy Graham calls him “one of the greatest Bible expositors of our generation.” Interestingly, Warren’s earliest works had nothing to do with scriptural interpretation. His interest was in magic, and his first published title was Action with Cards (1944).

“It was sort of imbecilic for a fifteen-year-old amateur magician to have the audacity to write a book and send it to one of the nation’s leading magic houses,” Warren says. But having a total of three books published by the L.L. Ireland Magic Company—before the age of 20—gave him a surge of confidence. In later years, he applied his confidence and writing talent to the Youth for Christ (YFC) ministry.

Warren wrote many articles and guidebooks for YFC over a three-year period, but not all his manuscripts were seen by the public eye. One effort in particular, The Life I Now Live, based on Galations 2:20, was never published. The reason, Warren explains with his characteristic humor, is simple: it was “a terrible book…Whenever I want to aggravate my wife, all I have to say is, ‘I think I’ll get out that Galations 2:20 manuscript and work on it.’” Fortunately, Warren’s good manuscripts far outnumbered the “terrible” ones, and he was eventually hired by Moody Press to write three books.

The much-sought-after author then moved on to writing books for Calvary Baptist Church. It was during his ten years at Calvary that Expository Outlines on the New Testament and Expository Outlines on the Old Testament took shape. These two works later became the foundation of Warren’s widely popular Bible studies known as the Be series, featuring such titles as Be Loyal (a study on Matthew) and Be Delivered (a study on Exodus). Several of these books have been translated into Spanish.

His next avenue of ministry was Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church, where he served for seven years. He wrote nearly 20 books at Moody before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he and his wife, Betty, now live. Prior to relocating, he had been the senior pastor of Moody Church, a teacher at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a producer of the Back to the Bible radio program.

During all these years of ministry, Warren held many more posts and took part in other projects too numerous to mention. His accomplishments are extensive, and his catalog of biblical works is indeed impressive and far-reaching (many of his books have been translated into other languages). But Warren has no intention of slowing down any time soon, as he readily explains: “I don’t like it when people ask me how I’m enjoying my ‘retirement,’ because I’m still a very busy person who is not yet living on Social Security or a pension. Since my leaving Back to the Bible, at least a dozen books have been published, and the Lord willing, more are on the way.”

Wiersbe’s recent books include Your Next Miracle, The 20 Essential Qualities of a Child of God, The Bumps are What You Climb On, Classic Sermons on the Fruit of the Spirit, Classic Sermons on Jesus the Shepherd, Key Words of the Christian Life, Lonely People, A Gallery of Grace, Real Peace: Freedom and Conscience in the Christian Life, and Preaching in Black and White: What We Can Learn From Each Other.

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