What Does The Bible Say About Church Leaders?

God’s plan has always been for His leaders to organize and oversee His ministry.

The important thing for us to distinguish is “His.” It’s not a man or woman saying, “I will be a leader,” or even a God-appointed leader saying, “I am going to build up my ministry.”

The New Testament gives us a fourfold purpose for the Body of Christ:

  1. Mobilizing for evangelism
  2. Organizing for more meaningful ministry
  3. Making disciple-makers
  4. Caring for one another

We see God’s leaders involved in all of these aspects—

Mobilizing for evangelism—Peter pointed out the need for an apostle to be appointed to replace Judas, thus returning their ranks to the 12 apostles just as Jesus had originally said (Acts 1:15-22).

Organizing for more meaningful ministry—Everywhere Paul founded a church, he also appointed leaders to oversee and shepherd that church.

Making disciple-makers—Paul tells us that God appointed five offices of leaders in the church who had the specific task of preparing church members to do the ministry of building maturity in the church (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Caring for one another—The First Church set the pace for providing care for all who were in need, including organizing leaders to oversee specific care ministries (Acts 6:1-5).

What about a church congregation’s responsibility to their leaders? I see five areas:

  1. Hold them accountable to the Word (Acts 17:11). The Bible has to be THE standard to which leaders are held.
  2. Give them your confidence and submission after they have shown accountability to their biblical mandate (Hebrews 13:17).
  3. Pray for them (Ephesians 6:19).
  4. Pay them (1 Timothy 5:17).
  5. Be very careful about accusing them (1 Timothy 5:19).

A church and its leaders following this biblical pattern is a church that can effectively fulfill the Great Commission which Jesus gave us.

What Is The Church Supposed To Be Doing?

Before ascending back to Heaven, Jesus commissioned His followers. He gave them a mission which Christian often refer to as The Great Commission.

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”

There are several pictures in the New Testament of how the Church could live out this Great Commission, but one of the pictures that I find the most helpful is that of a Body.

The human body is an amazing creation! Just to accomplish the simple task of picking up something between our thumb and forefinger is a miracle in itself. The structure of bones and ligaments and tendons, the interaction of nerves in the fingers coordinating with the optical nerve, not to mention the enzymes and blood vessels that are all doing their part.

Yet if any part is not functioning properly, that simple action becomes more difficult. Maybe it even becomes impossible.

The Church is the same way. Every part of the Church Body has to be functioning in healthy order for the whole Body to be effective.

Here are four aspects of a healthy Church Body that the Apostle Paul lists in Ephesians 4:

  1. Caring for one another
  2. Mobilizing for evangelism
  3. Making disciple-makers
  4. Helping organize for more meaningful ministry

If every part of the Body is doing its part, we’re Living out the Great Commission.

If some parts are missing or unhealthy, we’re Wallowing in the Great Omission.

It’s not about your church (small “c”) or my church. It’s about all Christian disciples being a part of one Church—one Body—going into all the world and making disciples of all peoples. That’s what the Church is supposed to be doing!

Where Preachers Are Powerless

To my dear pastor friends, please ponder carefully these wise words from Oswald Chambers:

“As preachers and teachers we are powerless to make saints. Our duty is to put the seed into the right place and leave the rest to God. …

“Modern evangelism makes the mistake of thinking that a worker must plough his field, sow the seed, and reap the harvest in half-an-hour. Our Lord was never in a hurry with the disciples, He kept on sowing the seed and paid no attention to whether they understood Him or not. He spoke the truth of God, and by His own life produced the right atmosphere for it to grow, and then left it alone, because He knew well that the seed had in it all the germinating power of God and would bring forth fruit after its kind once it was put in the right soil. …

“Sow the Word of God, and as sure as God is God, it will bring forth fruit. …

“Sow emotions, and the human heart will not get beyond you. There are men and women at work for God who steal hearts from God, not intentionally, but because they do not preach the Word of God. They say, ‘I don’t want anyone to think about me’; that should never need to be said. If the thought of ourselves is lurking anywhere as we preach, we are traitors to Jesus Christ. Our duty is to get people through to God. … See that you sow the real seed of the Word of God, and then leave it alone.” —Oswald Chambers, in The Servant As His Lord

These words prompt me to take a close look into God’s mirror to see if I’m preaching in a way that God can bless. How about you?

Book Reviews From 2015

Links & Quotes

link quote

“What takes away the compulsion of revenge is our deep confidence that this world is not our home, and that God is our utterly sure and all-satisfying reward.” —John Piper

“Though it is clear as noonday in Scripture and in experience that stability is not to be found beneath the moon, yet men are for ever building upon earth’s quicksand as if it were substantial rock, and heaping up its dust, as though it would not all be blown away.” —Charles Spurgeon

[PHOTOS] 50 photos of Moms loving their kids in very trying times.

This post from a Live Dead team member—The Risk Of Security—reminds me to (1) pray for our front-line missionaries, and (2) pray that God will move on people’s hearts to raise up more missionaries!

How to poison your marriage in 3 easy steps: blame, compare, withdraw. Married couple should definitely read this post.

I love the leadership insights from Tim Elmore. He’s got a thoughtful post today on 2 temptations leaders face in turbulent times.

[VIDEO] Frank Turek and Boby Conway discuss the question: Can Science Disprove God?

12 Quotes From “Rise”

RiseTrip Lee has given parents, teachers and anyone who mentors teens and 20-somethings an excellent resource in his book Rise. I read this book for myself, and now I’m reading it and discussing it with my teenage son. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are just a few of the quotes I especially appreciated in Rise.

“There are great benefits to living for Jesus in the present. Now is the time when we have the most strength. Now is the time when we have the most energy. Now is the time when we can give it everything we have. Now is the time to get up and live.”

“Every decision we make is a small piece of a larger puzzle. And without looking at the big picture for reference, we’ll place the pieces incorrectly every time. It’s tragic to treasure a moment in time more than an entire lifetime.”

“It’s loving of me to stop my son when he tries to put his finger in a socket or put a penny in his mouth. It’s loving of Jesus to tell me to say no to myself when I’m doing the wrong thing. … Let’s be clear, though. He’s not saying you can’t be yourself. He’s not calling you to ignore your personality and abandon your interests. Instead, He’s saying, ‘Submit all those things to Me.’ Your personality and your interests are His, and following Him shapes those things to bring you joy and bring God glory.” 

“One of our problems is that we think we belong to ourselves. Our assumption is that we are the masters of our lives and we get to make all the big decisions. That’s a myth. I belong to God. First, because He created me (Psalm 139:13), and second, because He purchased me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And that has serious implications for how I invest each hour of my day. I don’t have the right to rob God of time.”

“We allow our desire for approval to push us in directions we wouldn’t go otherwise. The answer is to be more content with the acceptance of Jesus, while praying that God would make us more passionate about pleasing Him than pleasing other people. … One of the quickest ways to ensure compromise is to obsess over what other people think of you.”

“Confession of sin can only be perceived as your enemy if you have a goal other than God’s glory. If your goal is your glory, then confessing your sin works against that goal and therefore should be avoided. But if you’re living for the glory of God, confessing your sin to the right people will only help.”

“With Christians or non-Christians, when we pretend, we are using them instead of loving them. Instead of saying or doing what would be most beneficial for them, we say or do what makes us look good. We’re using them to get to that end goal, the magical feeling of acceptance and approval, that sweet ego stroke. And that will eventually crush us and crush them.”

“The mature Christian doesn’t just ask, ‘What can I do?’ but ‘What can I do to glorify God?’”

“A Christian’s job is to live in such a way that shows off the real Jesus, the all-powerful, Almighty, sinner-loving King of the universe.”

“One of the reasons we struggle is because we forget that Jesus is the Lord of all. When I say Lord of all, I don’t just mean Lord of all people; I mean Lord of all things and spheres of life. It’s easy for us to section off our lives into little quadrants. There’s the fun stuff, the family stuff, the boring stuff, and the spiritual stuff. But the Bible doesn’t recognize any area of our lives that’s not spiritual. God made every sphere of life, He rules over every sphere of life, and He can be glorified in every sphere of life. This means everything is sacred.”

“The symptom of an encounter with the compassion of Jesus is compassion for others.”

“People go to hell because they haven’t seen the glory of God in the Gospel and trusted in Christ. Seeing the glory of God matters, and we want them to see it. Where the glorious light of Christ is not seen, sins are not forgiven and souls are not saved. This is why we share the Good News. The end goal of evangelism is that people would see the glory of God and worship Him forever.”

12 More Quotes From “Purple Fish”

Purple FishMark O. Wilson had some great heart-stirring thoughts on evangelism in his book Purple Fish (you can read my full book review by clicking here). He also did a great job incorporating thoughts from others in his book. Here are some of the quotes he cited in Purple Fish.

“Christians and non-Christians have something in common: we are both uptight about evangelism.” ―Becky Pippert 

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” ―Brennan Manning

“If you change how you see people, the people you see will change.” ―Rick Warren

“God wants us to have an encounter, so that we become an encounter, so that others can have an encounter.” ―Kevin Dedmon

“Prayer is the supreme way to be workers together with God.” ―Wesley Duewel

“Prayer evangelism is talking to God about our neighbors before we talk to our neighbors about God.” ―Ed Silvoso

“Nothing has done greater damage to our Christian testimony than our trying to be right and demanding right of others.” ―Watchmen Nee

“There is no point trying to size people up because souls defined measuring.” ―Ann Vovkamp

“Like it or not, you represent the entirety of Christianity to that person in that moment; that’s a lot of responsibility.” ―Christian Piatt

“If your weakness troubles you, cast yourselves on God. And trust in Him. The apostles were mostly unlearned fisherman, but God gave them learning enough for the work they had to do. Trust in Him, depend on His providence; fear nothing.” ―Francis de Sales

“You don’t fail when you invite people to repent and follow Christ and no one response. You fail when you don’t invite people to repent and follow Christ.” ―Craig Groeschel

“I define evangelism as ‘nudge’ and evangelists as ‘nudgers.’ Evangelism is awakening each other to the God who is already there. Evangelism is nudging people to pay attention to the mission of God in their lives into the necessity of responding to that initiative in ways that birth new realities.” ―Leonard Sweet

I also shared some quotes from Mark Wilson in a previous post, which you can read by clicking here.

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