Leadership is one of the most important parts to understand in the ministry environment. With Godly leadership people grow, and their lives get enriched, environments get changed , and people set free.
Leadership is also one of the most misunderstood principles in the Bible and in the church today. You have so many viewpoints from a clear dictatorship viewpoint to people working their way through the system trying to get to the highest order through promotion. The servant and father heart is one who looks and cares for the sheep.
God appoints and calls the Christian leader. This leader is there to establish and administer His commands. We cannot self-appoint, or get chosen by a group of people or church, it is God who chooses. You must be under God’s authority in order to have authority. Only a leader who is chosen by God and submits to God is one who would have authority. All other ways of getting into leadership will fail, having the person draw from the “soul” to do what is needed. This leadership will not last.
A point to take into account is that leaders need to be released, not start something out of their own. The world is full of orphan leaders who have no fathers who released them into their ministries
People/Sheep in the church need leadership
Sheep need to be led.
Act 7:36 “He brought them out,……………”
Zec 13:7 “………………….Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered…………”\
The standard for a leader
It is important that when examine leadership that we do not look at the standard the world is setting for leadership. Godly leadership is very different than worldly leadership. Godly leadership has a heart based on the Father, leading with love and compassion, which is in stark contrast to the world where you need to get the job done, no matter what. Godly leadership always points to the Father, leading people to the Father not to themselves. Godly leaders have the ability to release, and not hold on.
Leaders need to have a heart to develop other leaders, to raise them up, and release them.
Leaders must be able to delegate leadership and not hang on to their role. Leaders should not be intimidated by other rising leaders, they should stand on their calling, and know that God has put them there. When leaders are imtimidated by others they will not release and hang on to their role for their life. A clear sign of a leader that feels intimidated is the fact that he has to control everything, or at least have to be involved in all decision making. Not be able to trust others to make decisions.
A leader must be a man of his word. Let his yes be his yes and his no,no. Don’t say let’s go for coffee, and not follow up. It is in the small things.
He should not say things to please. He should not run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. Do not say things in order to get people to do stuff for you. They should do it because they want to. Any other way of doing it is manupilation.
Leadership is a Function
Leadership (Elders and Deacons) is a function. What this means is that should you not be able to fulfil the function you are no more an Elder or a Deacon. So should you get sick or have financial difficulties, and it causes you not to be able to function within your church then you are no longer fulfilling that function which means you are no longer an elder or deacon. It does not mean that your calling stops, just for that season you cannot function. This is an important standpoint as many people feel that as soon as they get a title then things are done. They can now sit back and ride the wave. No, surely not. When you see this as a function then a person within that role understands that as soon as you get the title then your work really starts. It is not a hierarchy, or glorious victory but a function to which you are called.
Organic vs Organisational
It is also important to state the difference between these two types of leadership as it can severe effects on the body should you have a very organisational leadership style.
What is the difference and how does it look?
Secular/Business way of thinking
Family way of thinking
Kingdom of Man established
People do stuff for the leaders
Activity orientated, the objective is valued people merely the means to an end
Relationships are functional – in other words, when you leave it ends
People serve the organization
Kingdom of God established
We come together because we love getting together bound by relationships
People orientated, people are valued
Relationships last even when you leave.
The Church is set up for the benefit of the community.
This is just a quick overview of what the different types of leadership thinking can be and it is clear that it can have adverse effects on the body should we be in leadership with the wrong heart. With a heart that is more driven by secular type thinking. Our hearts and life’s need to be centered on God. It is easy to be threatened by newcomers when we have a worldlier outlook on leadership in the church. People in a church with the wrong leadership style will burn out sooner or later as they run harder and harder to do what is needed. It is so easy to see if relationships are functional - if someone leaves do they still have friends in the church.
It should also be noted that leadership in the church is never a democracy. I popularity vote. When you lead you lead. It depends on you to hear from God for your situation and follow through with it. For far too long have the church followed the worldly view of having a democracy. Having a whole group of people deciding on things that they should not. This does not mean an autocratic type leadership, but a leadership where you are open to council, and not just open to council but also seeking it out. Surrounding yourself with people who you can trust. the fatherheart, and serving heart becomes evident in this situation. The fatherheart of the leader to love, and protect the rising leaders but still give them space to lead, and develop. The other is the servant heart of the rising leader learning what it is like to submit to another mans vission, to listen, and to trust. This type of leadership will release fathers and not orphaned leaders who are out there to proove a point.
Biblical Requirements of a leader: Anyone within a leadership position in the church
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behaviour, hospitable, able to teach;
1Ti 3:3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
1Ti 3:4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
1Ti 3:5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
1Ti 3:6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1Ti 3:8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
1Ti 3:9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
1Ti 3:12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Here it is quite clear what the Word says about the character of not only the main leaders but the deacons as well. This passage covers basically everything we need to know about the character of leaders in the church. It also covers the only two types of leadership described in the Bible. Elders and Deacons. Under elders you have the fivefold ministry gifts of Christ basically people who are leading the church, although it must be said that there will be people with the five fold ministry calling that are not part of the eldership. Under deacons the rest of the leadership in the church. Basically anyone who functions in any type of leadership capacity falls under the deacon.
You will in this setup have a leading Elder, and other elders who help lead the church. The main vision comes from the leading elder although it depends how deep the relationships lie between the lead elder and other elders on how much input they have into the vision and direction of the church. Yet again it must be said that this is not a democracy but it is a person who leads, the lead elder doesn’t need the votes of people on a committee, he functions with download from God directly, but with guidance from his other trusted elders. The leader will also be submitte to other people who he trust, and walked a road with usually outside his church environment.
For me I see someone functioning on an eldership level as a person who would be debt free as elder needs to be without reproach. There is also a huge burden on anyone who functions on eldership level and financial issues should not be part of the burden. It is very important that an elder knows how to handle money and give advice on it. This however has been a grave oversight in the older generation type churches where people were not given a solid background into finances. For me personally if you cannot handle your finances well and stay in debt then you are not able to lead in that area. If you are not able to lead in any area you should not be an elder. This is not even speaking about someone who is in bad debt.
A person who wants to be in this leadership role needs to have a good testimony as the Bible says. It should not be a shocker when they get appointed as leaders in the church it should rather be expected. Sometimes we let the bar down so low that almost anyone with a bit of realization of their calling can become elders but clearly the word is very clear on what is required from someone who functions on this level.
A person who wants to be an elder should also not be a novice in the Word and relationship with God. They must understand relationships well, be able to handle themselves with people. They must have a solid foundation in the Word in order to handle situations righteously. It must be noted that it doesn’t matter that how much gifting someone has it doesn’t qualify them for eldership. Gifting is not a sign of maturity as discussed in the Prophetic document. Someone might be seriously gifted but lacking on relationship level.
An elder must be a person who house is in order. The Bible says that if a person’s house is not in order how can they lead God’s people? He must have a fathers heart.
In all of this we must remember that crisis brings out character, it is not who we are when it is going well, it is what we do when we are in a crisis that shows what our foundation is made of, and what’s in our heart.
Biblical examples of good leadership
When we look at David that although he was already the chosen next king, he did not force his hand at all. It took another +/- 14 years for him to finally wear the crown. This was after his major victory of Goliath. He was hunted down, and Saul wanted to destroy him. But he always looked to the Lord for retribution. He was patient. He was never to hard to ask forgiveness. Even when he made one of his biggest mistakes with Bathsheba he just went down and asked for forgiveness. He never looked to vindicate himself. To self-explain himself. When he was wrong he admitted it, and he made the changes. Under David, Israel where at the height of their spiritual walk with God. David was a man after God’s heart. He understood what it meant to rest in peace in God. What it was to look for authority from God and not praise of man. He was reliant on God and not man for his identity.
David was also able to function in a team, bringing the men that was close to him from the beginning through from people who where dis-grunted with the current situation to the strongmen of David. He didn’t leave them where they where, they ended up far better than what they where when they met him.
He took these men from being rogue agents unhappy with the current government to the strongmen who could take out thousands of enemy soldiers. He made them leaders. A true leader will develop others, not leave them where they are.
Some things to take into consideration when you think that you are a leader:
Do people actually follow you already? If no one is following you, you are probably not a leader. You must also look at the fact that should you try to manipulate, and use position to get people to obey you, then you are not a leader.
Do people get inspired under your leadership? Do people reach new heights in God under your leadership or do they go backwards. Do people realize their calling under your leadership or do they stay the same?
Do you release people in their calling or do you hold on to them? Look at your past, inspect your style. Do rising leaders leave your church angry or have you taken them to higher heights?
Do you get people to merely fulfil you mission or do you father in order to release your sons as fathers? If you are not releasing other leaders you will breed rebellion, and release orphans who will start something on their own without the blessing of their leader (father). You will release people in either one of these two ways. As a father or in rebellion
A key understanding of leadership is the servant heart under all circumstances.
2Co 6:3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.
2Co 6:4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,
Out service is to God and not man, for the good of the church and man.
A leader must:
- Speak the Word in Truth, but be able to speak the truth in love
- Be able to teach the Word (view Teacher Document)
- Have a servant heart
- Be able to witness for God
- Be mature in God
- Able to lead in love
- God orientated not man orientated
- Moved by God and not man
- Be disciplined
- Have a heart to release others into their calling
- Have a fathers heart
- Selfless viewpoint
- Must be an encourager
- Have courage
- A man of faith
- Able to control his tongue
- Able to function in a team
- Fully following God
- Need to be a worshipper
- Obedience is better than sacrifice (Saul example)
- Be able to acknowledge your sin and failures, accepting the blame (David)
- Be able to deal with insecurities as they arise
- Be able to give himself to change
- Be able to trust in God even when people desert you.