What Does it Take to be a Leader in the Church? – Part 2

What do all businesses, schools, non-profits, and churches have in common? They all have leaders. Leaders are important. They are the ones who determine the vision and set the direction for the future. As well they are the ones who make sure everyone is equipped to play their part in the organization. Without leaders, organizations flail. They meander around until they disappear. So leaders, especially good leaders are important.

This is especially true in the church. The last thing God wants is for a church just to meander around until it dies off. He wants His church to accomplish His mission. And He provides leaders to do that.

But God doesn’t just provide any old leader. He provides men who meet certain qualifications and desire certain things. What are those desires? What are those qualifications? What does it take to be a leader in the church?

A Leader in the Church Must View the Office of Overseer as a high calling that involves sacrifice and a passion for the task

It’s a High Calling

While being a pastor does come with some form of compensation, the pastorate shouldn’t just be viewed as another way to pay the bills or earn some extra cash. It’s a ministry. It’s an opportunity to provide soul care, to Shepherd God’s people. It’s a high calling.

It Involves Sacrifice

If you are someone who is going to take on the task of pastoring, you have to view it as a high calling and have a passion for the task because serving the church requires sacrifice. Whether that be sacrificing time for your hobbies, the money you could make elsewhere, or emotional energy, the office of overseer requires sacrifice. If you don’t view the office as a high calling, and if you don’t have a passion for the task, then you aren’t going to provide the sacrifice necessary to care for God’s people in a way that glorifies Him.

Do Anything Else

When I was in seminary and praying about the ministry, I spoke to several people who told me, “If you can do anything else, do it.” Their reason was simple; being a pastor requires a lot of sacrifices, effort, and emotional energy. If you are pursuing the office for the novelty of it, you aren’t going to be in it for long. Being a pastor must be a calling. A position you are drawn to by the Lord. As well as it must be something He has gifted you to do.

Don’t Make it a Practice to Sacrifice Family Time

Now, if you notice, I didn’t say a pastor has to be willing to sacrifice time with his family. I want to specifically point that out because many ministers fail in this area. Family time is important and it must be guarded. Managing your household well is one of the qualifications that must be met in order to become a pastor. You can’t manage a household if you’re never there. So a pastor shouldn’t be about the business of always sacrificing time with his family. Certainly, there will be times when that is needed, but that has to be the exception and not the rule.

Don’t Require Your Pastor to Sacrifice Family Time

On the flip side of that, churches shouldn’t require their pastors to sacrifice family time, instead they should encourage it. Just like the pastor must view his family has his first church, the church has to view the pastor’s family as his first church too, and allow him to minister to them first.

Sum It Up

So if a man wants to be a leader in the church, he must not only see himself as an overseer, but he must also view the office of overseer as a high calling that involves sacrifice and a passion for the task.

Question for Reflection

  1. If you are an overseer, do you have a passion for the task?
  2. If you are an overseer, do you have time built in for your family?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon: What does it take to be a leader in the church?

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What Does it Take to be a Leader in the Church? – Part 1

What do all businesses, schools, non-profits, and churches have in common? They all have leaders. Leaders are important. They are the ones who determine the vision and set the direction for the future. As well they are the ones who make sure everyone is equipped to play their part in the organization. Without leaders, organizations flail. They meander around until they disappear. So leaders, especially good leaders are important.

This is especially true in the church. The last thing God wants is for a church just to meander around until it dies off. He wants His church to accomplish His mission. And He provides leaders to do that.

But God doesn’t just provide any old leader. He provides men who meet certain qualifications and desire certain things. What are those desires? What are those qualifications? What does it take to be a leader in the church?

A Leader in the Church Must See Themselves as an Overseer

Overseer is not just a term I am manufacturing. It’s a term Paul uses in verse 1 when he says,

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Ti 3:1)

One of my friends from seminary contacted me no too long ago. He is not only a pastor but he is also a financial advisor. That’s what he contacted me about. He wanted to see if I would be interested in using his services.

As a financial advisor, it is his job to serve families by watching over and caring for their finances. Since I know him well and trust him, we have allowed him to do just that — oversee our financial future. In a similar way, that is what a pastor does. Except he is watching over souls instead of money.

See Themselves as an Overseer

Anyone who wants to be a leader in the church must see themselves as an overseer because that is exactly what they are doing. They are overseeing the people God has placed under their care.

Responsibilities

In that role, an overseer, a pastor, an elder, whatever you want to call them, all those names are interchangeable, is responsible for watching over the church’s doctrine, practice, people, and vision. They do that by teaching, training, equipping, discipling, protecting, leading, and comforting those in the church. That is the general job of an overseer.

If you think about it, that’s a lot for one person to do. And really, should one person do all of that?

Should a church just have one overseer?

I believe when you look at Scripture, it’s clear that it’s God’s intention for a church to have multiple men functioning as overseers. Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone who serves as an overseer is paid. Usually, there are a few who are paid. In most churches, that is typically the Lead Pastor, Music Minister, and Youth pastor. While those are usually the ones who are paid, a church should still have other men serving as overseers or elders. They would be considered non-vocational elders.

I believe there should be a plurality of elders for a couple of reasons.

(1) First, when the term elder is used in Scripture, it is often used in its plural form.

I don’t want to belabor this point too long, but I do want to prove my assertion from Scripture, let me list a few scriptures so you can see what I mean.

In Acts 14:23 we read,

“And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (Ac 14:23)

 Moving a little further in the book of Acts to Acts 20:17 Luke writes,

“Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.” (Ac 20:17)

Paul in Titus 1:5 instructs Titus to follow his example and appoint elders in every town. He writes,

“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—” (Tt 1:5)

In James 5:14, we are told that if anyone is sick they are to…

“…call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” (Jas 5:14)

Furthermore, we find Timothy’s name included in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul writes,

“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:” (Php 1:1)

Again, I don’t want to belabor the point too much so I will stop there. But as you can see, in each instance, a plurality of elders is mentioned, which I believe tells us that in God’s wisdom, He wants His church to consist of a plurality of elders.

(2) Second, a plurality of elders benefits the church.

It benefits the church because it spreads out the responsibility and it accounts for different gifts and individual deficiencies. Let’s face it, no one man can do everything well, but a team of men who compliment each other can. So for those reasons, I believe a plurality of elders should exist in the church.

Sum it Up

So to sum up this section, if a man wants to be a leader in the church, and a church should have multiple leaders, which should give opportunity for multiple people to function in that role, then that man must see themselves as an overseer — someone who oversees the doctrine, practice, vision, and people of the church.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you believe a leader in the church must see themselves as an overseer?
  2. Do you believe a plurality of elders is biblical and necessary?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon: What does it take to be a leader in the church?

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How Our Generation Can Learn From the Older

Old Man Legs

What does it take to learn from the older generation? How can our generation be taught by the previous? These are questions our generation should be asking and answering.

Recently, I posted an article entitled: A Call to Maturity: How the older generation can train the youth of today. One of my readers asked if I would write a follow up post discussing how the youth of today can learn from the older generation. I have given that question some thought over the last week. What follows are a few suggestions.

How Our Generation Can Learn from the Older

(1) Be open and teachable

A learner is someone who is open to learning. If you are to be taught by the previous generation, you must be open to them speaking into your life, which means you must be teachable. While self-esteem counsellors have puffed us up, telling us we are the smartest, most talented generation yet, we’re not. Actually, we have a lot to learn, and those who have come before us have a lot to teach.

(2) Look for those who model biblical manhood and womanhood.

Instead of finding your role models in pop culture, you should look in your church. As you do, look for those who model biblical manhood and womanhood. Ask questions like: Are they kind and respectable? Do they live according to God’s Word, even if it could impact them negatively in the community? Do they love their spouse? Do they serve the church and community?

(3) Look for those who are accessible. 

While you may learn a lot from your favorite podcaster or blogger, chances are you don’t have direct access to them. But you do have access to the faithful saint sitting next to you in the pew on Sunday. While they may not be as famous, they are accessible and most likely able to teach you just as much, if not more. So instead of looking global, look local.

(4) Ask for advice on decisions

One way to start a mentoring relationship is simple to ask for advice on decisions in your life. Don’t assume advice will be handed out unsolicited. Instead, ask for it from others, and then ask again.

(5) Work toward maturity

If you are not working toward maturity, you will not be interested in learning how to be mature. Actively working toward maturity in Christ is a necessary part of learning from others.

Question for Reflection

  1. What would you add to this list? How would you counsel the youth of today to learn from the older generation?

Resource

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