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John MacArthur on Biblical Eldership

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A GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH DISTINCTIVE BIBLICALLY, the focal point of all church leadership is the elder. An elder is one of a plurality of biblically qualified men who jointly shepherd and oversee a local body of believers. The word translated “elder” is used nearly twenty times in Acts and the epistles in reference to this unique group of leaders who have responsibility for overseeing the people of God.

 

The Office of Elder

As numerous passages in the New Testament indicate, the words “elder” (presbuteros), “overseer” (episkopos), and “pastor” (poim¯en) all refer to the same office. In other words, overseers and pastors are not distinct from elders; the terms are simply different ways of identifying the same people. The qualifications for an overseer (episkopos) in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and those for an elder (presbuteros) in Titus 1:6-9 are unmistakably parallel. In fact, in Titus 1, Paul uses both terms to refer to the same man (presbuteros in v. 5 and episkopos in v. 7). All three terms are used interchangeably in Acts 20. In verse 17, Paul assembles all the elders (presbuteros) of the church of Ephesus to give them his farewell message. In verse 28 he says, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers [episkopos], to shepherd [poimaino¯] the church of God.” First Peter 5:1-2 brings all three terms together as well. Peter writes, “Therefore, I exhort the elders [presbuteros] among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd [poimaino¯] the flock of God among you, exercising oversight [episkope¯o] not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God.” The different terms, then, indicate various features of ministry, not varying levels of authority or separate offices, as some churches espouse.

A Plurality of Elders

The consistent pattern throughout the New Testament is that each local body of believers is shepherded by a plurality of God-ordained elders. Simply stated, this is the only pattern for church leadership given in the New Testament. Nowhere in Scripture does one find a local assembly ruled by majority opinion or by a single pastor.

The Apostle Paul left Titus in Crete and instructed him to “appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). James instructed his readers to “call for the elders of the church” to pray for those who are sick (James 5:14). When Paul and Barnabas were in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, they “appointed elders for them in every church” (Acts 14:23). In Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, the apostle referred to “the elders who rule well” at the church at Ephesus (1 Tim. 5:17; see also Acts 20:17, where Paul addresses “the elders of the church” at Ephesus). The book of Acts indicates that there were “elders” at the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:3015:2421:18).

Again and again, reference is made to a plurality of elders in each of the various churches. In fact, every place in the New Testament where the term presbuteros (“elder”) is used it is plural, except where the apostle John uses it of himself in 2 and 3 John and where Peter uses it of himself in 1 Peter 5:1. Nowhere in the New Testament is there a reference to a one-pastor congregation. It may be that each elder in the city had an individual group in which he had specific oversight. But the church was seen as one church, and decisions were made by a collective process and in reference to the whole, not the individual parts.

…the biblical norm for church leadership is a plurality of God-ordained elders, and only by following this biblical pattern will the church maximize its fruitfulness to the glory of God.

In other passages, reference is made to a plurality of elders even though the word presbuteros itself is not used. In the opening greeting of his epistle to the Philippians, Paul refers to the “overseers [plural of episkopos] and deacons” at the church of Philippi (Phil. 1:2). In Acts 20:28, Paul warned the elders of the church of Ephesus, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which God has made you overseers [plural of episkopos]” (Acts 20:28). The writer of Hebrews called his readers to obey and submit to the “leaders” who kept watch over their souls (Heb. 13:17). Paul exhorted his Thessalonian readers to “appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and

The Distinctives series articulates key bibilical and theological convictions of Grace Community Church. have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction” (1 Thess. 5:12)—a clear reference to the overseers in the Thessalonian assembly.

Much can be said for the benefits of leadership made up of a plurality of godly men. Their combined counsel and wisdom helps assure that decisions are not self-willed or self-serving to a single individual (cf. Prov. 11:14). If there is division among the elders in making decisions, all the elders should study, pray, and seek the will of God together until consensus is achieved. In this way, the unity and harmony that the Lord desires for the church will begin with those individuals he has appointed to shepherd His flock.

The Qualifications of Elders

The character and effectiveness of any church is directly related to the quality of its leadership. That’s why Scripture stresses the importance of qualified church leadership and delineates specific standards for evaluating those who would serve in that sacred position.

The qualifications for elders are found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-8. According to these passages, an elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money, not fond of sordid gain, a good manager of his household, one who has his children under control with dignity, not a new convert, one who has a good reputation outside the church, self-controlled, sensible, able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict, above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, loving what is good, just, and devout. (For an explanation of these qualifications, see pages 215-33 of The Master’s Plan for the Church by John MacArthur.)

The single, overarching qualification of which the rest are supportive is that he is to be “above reproach.” That is, he must be a leader who cannot be accused of anything sinful because he has a sustained reputation for blamelessness. An elder is to be above reproach in his marital life, his social life, his business life, and his spiritual life. In this way, he is to be a model of godliness so he can legitimately call the congregation to follow his example (Phil. 3:17). All the other qualifications, except perhaps teaching and management skills, only amplify that idea.

In addition, the office of elder is limited to men. First Timothy 2:11-12 says, “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” In the church, women are to be under the authority of the elders, excluded from teaching men or holding positions of authority over them.

The Functions of Elders

As the apostolic era came to a close, the office of elder emerged as the highest level of local church leadership. Thus, it carried a great amount of responsibility. There was no higher court of appeal and no greater resource to know the mind and heart of God with regard to issues in the church.

The primary responsibility of an elder is to serve as a manager and caretaker of the church (1 Tim. 3:5). That involves a number of specific duties. As spiritual overseers of the flock, elders are to determine church policy (Acts 15:22); oversee the church (Acts 20:28); ordain others (1 Tim. 4:14); rule, teach, and preach (1 Tim. 5:17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:121 Tim. 3:2); exhort and refute (Titus 1:9); and act as shepherds, setting an example for all (1 Pet. 5:1-3). Those responsibilities put elders at the core of the New Testament church’s work.

Because of its heritage of democratic values and its long history of congregational church government, modern American evangelicalism often views the concept of elder rule with suspicion. The clear teaching of Scripture, however, demonstrates that the biblical norm for church leadership is a plurality of God-ordained elders, and only by following this biblical pattern will the church maximize its fruitfulness to the glory of God.

SOURCE: Adapted from John MacArthur, The Master’s Plan for the Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991). For a fuller treatment of biblical eldership, consult this resource.

 

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What The Bible Teaches About The Roles of Men and Women

WOMEN IN MINISTRY 4 VIEWS

A Summary of the Complementarian Position

I. A Broad Overview of the Complementarian Position

A. Created Equality of Essence and Distinction of Role

Male and female were created by God as equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature, but also distinct in role whereby the male was given the responsibility of loving authority over the female, and the female was to offer willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the man. Gen. 1:26-27 makes clear that male and female are equally created as God’s image, and so are, by God’s created design, equally and fully human. But, as Gen. 2 bears out (as seen in its own context and as understood by Paul in 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Tim. 2), their humanity would find expression differently, in a relationship of complementarity, with the female functioning in a submissive role under the leadership and authority of the male.

B. Fallen Disruption of God’s Created Design

Sin introduced into God’s created design many manifestations of disruption, among them a disruption in the proper role-relations between man and woman. As most complementarians understand it, Gen. 3:15-16 informs us that the male/female relationship would now, because of sin, be affected by mutual enmity. In particular, the woman would have a desire to usurp the authority given to man in creation, leading to man, for his part, ruling over woman in what can be either rightfully-corrective or wrongfully-abusive ways.

C. Restored Role Differentiation through Redemption in Christ

Passages such as Eph. 5:22-33 and 1 Tim. 2:8-15 exhibit the fact that God’s created intention of appropriate male leadership and authority should now, in Christ, be fully affirmed, both in the home and in the church. Wives are to submit to their husbands in the model of the Church’s submission to Christ, and women are not to exercise authoritative roles of teaching in the Church in view of Eve’s created relation to Adam. Male headship, then, is seen to be restored in the Christian community as men and women endeavor to express their common humanity according to God’s originallycreated and good hierarchical design.

II. Primary Rationale Supporting the Complementarian Position

A. Evidence that God’s design was male/female equality of essence

1. Gen. 1:26-27 – shows that man and woman share the same human nature, both are made in God’s image, and both are given God’s commission to rule the earth. How they are, together, to rule the earth on God’s behalf, is not here explained. Thus, at this point, neither egalitarianism nor complementarianism is demanded. Clearly, the thrust is that male and female are equal in essence (i.e., both fully human, both full imago Dei, both of equal value and worth to God) and together commissioned to rule over the earth.

2. Gal. 3:28 – God’s redemption and regeneration of those whom He would save involves no distinction between male and female. Gender is absolutely irrelevant regarding who may or may not be saved. The clear implication, then, is that men and women are equal in essence because their salvation comes to humans with no consideration given to gender.

3. 1 Cor. 12:7-11 – Clearly, God distributes His gifts to His people as He so wills, but one’s gender is not a factor in His giving any particular gift to a person. Women and men alike are recipients of all of God’s gifts (e.g., see 1 Cor. 11:5 for a statement of women having the gift of prophecy). Again, this indicates that women are equal in essence with men in God’s sight, but it does not preclude the possibility that God may prescribe just how those gifts be used in the Church.

4. 1 Pet. 3:7b – Saved women (wives, in this text) are to be treated with honor, precisely because they, along with saved men, are fellow-heirs of the grace of life in Christ. It is so important for husbands to understand this principle and so respect their wives in this fashion that Peter warns that husbands who do not treat their wives with the honor accorded them by God will not be heard before God in their prayers.

B. Evidence that God’s design was for male/female role differentiation

1. Gen. 2 – There are at least four features of this chapter which support the idea of male-headship (i.e., male God-given authority over female). 1) The order of creation (male created first) indicates God’s design of male priority in the male/female relationship. This is also Paul’s observation both in 1 Cor. 11:8 and 1 Tim. 2:13. 2) God gives instructions to Adam, before the creation of Eve, not to eat fruit of the forbidden tree (2:16-17). Implied in this is Adam’s responsibility to instruct his future wife and guard her from violating this prohibition (hence, the significance in 3:6 that the woman gave to the man “who was with her,” showing he failed to guard his wife as he should have). 3) Eve was created to be Adam’s helper. While it is true that this same Hebrew term is often used of God’s “helping” people, it is clear that Paul understands Eve’s role as helper to require that woman ought to be under the rightful authority of man (see 1 Cor. 11:9-10 – “man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head”). 4) Adam’s naming of Eve indicates, in an OT cultural context, Adam’s right of authority over the one whom he named. And interestingly, Adam named his wife twice, first when she was formed from his flesh (2:23), and second after they had both sinned (3:20), indicating that his rightful authority over her continued after sin had come.

2. Gen. 3:1-7 – Eve was tempted and deceived by the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit, and then gave it also to Adam. Eve, that is, sinned first. Despite this fact, God seeks out Adam after their sin to inquire why they were hiding (3:8ff). God approaches Adam, not Eve, as the one ultimately responsible for the sin. Likewise, Paul clearly teaches that the line of sin in the human race begins with Adam (Rom. 5:12ff; 1 Cor. 15:22). But he does this in full recognition of the fact that Eve sinned first (1 Tim. 2:14). Adam only rightly bears the responsibility as the head of the sinful human race, when Eve sinned first, if he is viewed by God and Paul as having authority and ultimate responsibility over the woman.

3. Gen. 3:16 – Sin brought about, not the beginning of a male/female relational hierarchy, but a disruption of the God-intended role of male-headship and female submission in the male-female relationship. Most complementarians understand the curse of the woman in 3:16 to mean that sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God’s created design), and that in response, Adam would have to assert his rule over her. This understanding comes from comparing the sentence structure and terms of Gen. 3:16 with Gen. 4:7. In 4:7, God tells Cain that sin is seeking to destroy him, and so He says “its [sin's] desire is for you, but you must master it.” This means, of course, sin desires to rule over you, but you in response must rule over it. Now, the exact sentence structure is found in 3:16, where Eve is told “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” This means, in light of 4:7, Eve’s desire will be to rule illegitimately over Adam (note: certainly sin could not be credited with giving Eve a loving or caring desire for Adam, could it?), and in response Adam will have to assert his rightful rulership over her. Most complementarians hold, then, that sin produced a disruption in God’s order of male headship and female submission, in which a) the woman would be inclined now to usurp the man’s rightful place of authority over her, and man may be required, in response, to reestablish his God-given rulership over the woman, and b) the man would be inclined to misuse his rights of rulership, either by sinful abdication of his God-given authority, acquiescing to the woman’s desire to rule over him (and so fail to lead as he should), or by abusing his rights to rule through harsh, cruel and exploitative domination of the woman.

4. 1 Cor. 11:1-16 – As already noted, Paul uses Gen. 2 to support his contention that women need to display, in the church, their submission to male leadership. The woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head (11:10), because she is the glory of man (11:7), because she originated from man (11:8), and because she was created for the man’s sake (11:9). Because Paul links the woman’s submissive role in the Church to God’s created design, it is evident that these instructions to the church at Corinth are not applicable only there, but instead are applicable universally in the Church.

5. 1 Cor. 14:34-36 – Clearly this prohibition on women speaking cannot be absolute, for Paul previously acknowledged women prophesying (1 Cor. 11:5). What complementarians hold on this, though, is usually one of two positions: either that women may never be involved in an official capacity of teaching the corporate assembly, presumably with men present, or that women may not function in the elder role of judging prophecies (a la Grudem, Carson). In either case, what is clear is the principle that women are to display their submission to male headship and learn quietly from those (qualified males only) responsible for the teaching ministry of the church.

6. 1 Tim. 2:8-15 – Again here, Paul links his command that women receive instruction with submissiveness rather than teaching or exercising authority over men (2:11-12) with God’s created design for man and woman. Women are to submit to male leadership and teaching because Adam was created first (2:13), and because Eve was deceived and sinned first (2:14). And again, it is evident that these instructions can only rightly be seen as universally applicable for the Church, because the basis for them is God’s created design.

7. Eph. 5:22-33 – Wives are to be subject to their husbands in response to their submission to the Lordship of Christ (5:22). The reason for this, says Paul, is that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church (5:23). The next verse makes the matter even more explicit: “as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives to their husbands in everything” (5:24). The key notion here is the parallel of the headship of the husband with the headship of Christ. As the Church submits to Christ as the one who has rightful authority over her, so the wife is to submit to her husband as the one who has rightful authority over her. Husbands, for their part, are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (5:25-29). When husbands truly love their wives and wives submit to their husbands, we see the sinful distortion of the male female relationship defeated and a return, then, to what God intended in his creation of man and woman.

8. 1 Pet. 3:7a – While the second half of this verse stresses the equal honor accorded to women along with men (as fellow-heirs of the grace of life), the first half of the verse clearly indicates the fundamental gender difference between a husband and his wife. She, according to Peter, is a “weaker vessel,” and she needs to be treated with tenderness and understanding as such. This implies that 1) while she is fully equal in essence (3:7b), she likewise is constitutionally different from him as a woman (3:7a), and 2) the husband bears particular God-sanctioned responsibility to care for his wife, indicating his leadership and primary responsibility in their relationship.

9. Trinitarian Analogy – Complementarians understand the Trinity to present an analogy to the male/female relationship, as God designed it. God is one in essence and three in persons. The three persons of the God-head are absolutely equal in essence (in fact, they each share fully, simultaneously and without division the one divine essence), but they are distinct in function. Specifically, their distinction of function is marked by an intrinsic relation of authority within the God-head, by which the Son is subject to the Father, and the Spirit to the Son. 1 Cor. 11:3 states part of this: “God is the head of Christ.” The clearest biblical example of Christ’s subjection to the Father is in 1 Cor. 15:28 where the exalted and victorious Son “will also be subject to the One who subjected all things to Him.” Given this understanding of the Trinity, it makes sense for Paul to say what He does in 1 Cor. 11:3. He speaks here of three authority lines that exist: Christ is the authority (head) over every man, man is the authority (head) over a woman, and God (the Father) is authority (head) over Christ. Just as the persons of God are equal in essence and yet they relate within a structure of lines of authority, so too men and women are equal in essence while relating within a similar structure of lines of authority.

C. Biblical Examples of Male/Female Role Differentiation

Despite the fact that sin has produced in woman an illegitimate desire to usurp the rightful authority God gave to man (Gen. 3:16), God has worked in Israel and in the Church to establish male-headship as the consistent and approved pattern for religious and home life.

1. Male leadership in Israel
From the Garden of Eden on, God has called out men and held men responsible for religious leadership. Think of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 sons of Jacob as heads of the 12 tribes of Israel, Moses, Joshua, David, the male priestly order, the prophets to Israel and Judah, etc. Clearly, God purposely called out and intended to work through male leadership in Israel.

2. Male leadership with Christ
Clearly Jesus was not at all averse to challenging customs and traditions of men which ran contrary to the values of the kingdom of God. He lacked no courage to challenge humanly fabricated restrictions upon the wise and good purposes of God (e.g., Matt. 15:3-9; 23:1-36). And his taking of women with him during his itinerant ministry testifies to this. But what Jesus never did, though He clearly could have and was not constrained by social convention not so to do, is to choose any women to be among the twelve. His choice of 12 men continues the pattern we observe in the OT, of distinguishing a certain level of spiritual leadership as gender-restrictive.

3. Male leadership in the Church
As observed above, Paul explicitly restricts women from a certain level of spiritual leadership and instruction in the Church. 1 Cor. 11:1-16, 1 Cor. 14:34-36, and 1 Tim. 2:8-15 consistently require that the church’s ultimate human spiritual leadership be gender-restrictive. This is reinforced by qualifications for the position of eldership which requires that one be “the husband of one wife” (see 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6), obviously indicating that only qualified men may serve as elders.

4. Male leadership in the home
Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18-20, and 1 Pet. 3:1-7 each establishes the correctness of male-leadership in the home. The passage in 1 Peter is instructive in a particular way not described above. Here Peter envisions situations where a believing wife is married to an unbelieving husband. One might expect Peter to say to the wife, “because you know Christ and your husband doesn’t, you need to take over the leadership in your home. Don’t leave the leadership up to your husband, because he won’t lead your home in a Christ-like manner.” But, to the contrary, Peter says even to these believing wives of unbelieving husbands, “be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.”

III. Objections to the Complementarian Position and Responses

A. Objection: This complementarian understanding is in reality a fully hierarchical view, with women subordinate to men, and as such it is intolerable and contrary to the freedom of the gospel. While it claims to uphold the essential equality of women with men, it in fact leads inevitably to seeing women as inferior, as second-class citizens, who are not as important to God and His purposes as are men.

Response: Would you feel the same way about a parent/child relationship? Or of the relationship between an employee and his/her supervisor? Do you believe we should eliminate all manifestations of relational hierarchy, as demeaning to those under the authority of another? Relationships within authority structures surround us. We live and work in them every day. We would have utter chaos without them. But such authority structures do not entail the greater human value or essential superiority of those in charge, or minimize the human value or imply the essential inferiority of those under their charge. Furthermore, if we are correct to think of the Trinity as analogous to the male/female relationship, consider this: surely the Scriptures do not intend to suggest Christ is inferior in value to the Father because He came only to do His Father’s will. Likewise, the Scriptures do not intend to suggest that women are inferior to men because of male-headship. In fact, just the opposite is true, viz., men and women only experience their full humanity when they function in the manner God intended in His creation of them. We are most free as humans when we affirm the legitimate authority structure God intended, and work within that.

B. Objection: Your interpretation of Gen. 2, by which you see three indicators of male authority, is wrong. What difference does it make whom God created first? He had to create one or the other first, and it just happened to be Adam. Furthermore, remember God created animals before creating human beings, but this certainly does not indicate an animal priority over humans. And, yes, the woman was created to complete the man, but this speaks of her equality with him, not her subordination to him. Remember, God is our helper. Is He subordinate to us? And the fact that he named Eve is no proof of his authority over her. Women in Israel often name their sons, but does this, then, that females (mothers) are authority over males (sons)?

Response: Were it not for the fact that Paul understood Gen. 2 as the complementarian does, your objections might have some force. But it is Paul who observes the importance of Adam’s creation first, and Paul who notes Eve was created for Adam’s sake. Therefore, the complementarian stands with Scripture’s interpretation of itself on this issue. The one point Paul does not address is Adam’s naming of Eve. The support for this rests, then, entirely on the significance of naming in ancient near-eastern culture. Yes, a mother’s naming a son shows, in part, her authority over him – until he leaves home. And remember, although animals were created before Adam, Adam was told to name the animals and this clearly indicates his headship over them. It seems best, then, in light both of cultural considerations and Paul’s understanding of Gen. 2, to sustain these three points as legitimate interpretations of the male/female relationship at creation.

C. Objection: Gen. 3:16 says nothing about Eve ruling Adam, but it speaks explicitly to Adam ruling Eve. You have twisted the clear meaning of this text. Sin effected in Adam an illegitimate desire to dominate his wife, despite her continued longing for equal companionship.

Response: The two major problems with the egalitarian view here are: 1) Explaining Eve’s desire as a positive or caring desire fails to account for the fact that this is part of the curse on Eve. Certainly God would not give to her the curse of caring for Adam. Rather, her desire, because it is connected with what sin has done to her, is best understood as a negative, wrongful one. 2) But if her desire is negative, then, it accords exactly with sin’s desire in Gen. 4:7, i.e., a desire to usurp rulership. This, coupled with the identical sentence structure and parallel terminology between the two passages, and their close proximity to each other, leads the complementarians to their conclusion on this important text.

D. Objection: You have left out the many and significant examples of female leadership in Israel, in the gospels, and in the early church. It simply is not correct to say that the Bible exhibits a uniform pattern of religious male leadership.

Response: Yes, women do play significant religious, and at times leadership, roles throughout the Bible. But consider two things: 1) Most of the examples of female leadership appear in roles other than those of highest human religious authority. That is, there are some prophetesses and female teachers in Old and New Testaments, but where are there any women priests, women heads of tribes of Israel, women kings of Israel (Athaliah wrongly usurped the throne), women apostles (Junia of Rom. 16:7 is highly disputed), women elders in the early church? The point is that at the level of highest human religious authority, the Bible gives a clear and uniform picture of male leadership. 2) The most notable apparent exception to the above is Deborah (Judg. 4-5), who was both prophetess and judge of Israel. Given the spiritual state of Israel at the time, most see Judges not as illustrating well God’s ideal for His people. Quite probably, then, Deborah’s judgeship demonstrates, not how God endorses female leadership, but rather just how far from God’s design and purposes Israel had strayed. In any case, it is difficult to accept the case of Deborah as normative, in light of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

E. Objection: Your use of “male headship” and your reference to passages like 1 Cor. 11:3 and Eph. 5:23 where “head” (kephale) is used, does not recognize the meaning of this term as “source.” Understood this way, the Bible does not envision man as authority over woman, but source of her, since Eve came from Adam.

Response: For lexical and exegetical reasons, this understanding of kephale is completely unacceptable. The strongest lexical evidence suggests that while kephale is sometimes used of impersonal objects to mean “source” (e.g., the “head”, i.e., “source” of a river) its predominate, if not exclusive, use as it relates to human beings is as “authority over,” not “source.” Exegetically, it becomes difficult to understand how Paul could mean anything other than “authority over” in particular passages. Eph. 5:23, for example (“the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church”) is followed in v. 24 with this statement, “as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives to their husbands in everything.” Here, then, subjection of wives to their husbands is linked with the husband being head of his wife. Likewise in 1 Cor. 11:3 (“Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ”), it seems impossible to take kephale as “source,” for to do so requires that God be the source of Christ as Adam is the source of Eve and Christ is the source of man. But did Christ ever originate from the Father as both man and woman originated? Furthermore, the following context of this verse clearly deals with woman wearing head covering “as a symbol of authority” (11:10). Therefore, for lexical, exegetical and contextual reasons, it appears clearly best to understand male “headship” as denoting male authority in the home and the church.

Source: cbmw.org

 

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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.

 

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11 Life Lessons From Noah’s Ark

Noahs Ark

Life Lessons I learned from Noah’s Ark…

ONE: Don’t miss the boat.

TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

FOUR: Stay fit. When you’re sixty years old, someone may ask you to do something big.

FIVE: Don’t listen to critics; just get on the job that needs to be done.

SIX: Build your future on high ground.

SEVEN: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

EIGHT: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

NINE: When you’re stressed, float awhile.

TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs. The Titanic by professionals.

ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

 

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Establishing a Gospel Coach and Disciple Relationship

INTAKE FORM FOR GOSPEL COACHING WITH A DISCIPLE

Gospel Coach

This form is helpful in establishing a gospel coach and disciple relationship. It facilitates the coach’s getting to know the disciple and establishes a starting point for the journey toward Jesus and his calling in the disciple’s life. Feel free to revise this form to include only questions that will be beneficial for your particular gospel coaching relationship. This list is quite comprehensive and is meant to be selectively utilized.

PERSONAL LIFE

KNOW

(1) Tell me about your family [spouse, children's names and ages, etc.].

(2) When is your birthday? Anniversary?

(3) What makes you excited or feel really alive?

(4) What are some skills and talents that God has blessed you with?

(5) What have been lifelong desires and dreams for you? What is going on with these dreams and desires now?

(6) What are you hoping for in the next six months?

(7) How has God saved you personally? How is he saving you daily?

(8) How would you describe a “perfect day”?

(9) How would you describe a “terrible day”?

(10) How is ministry impacting your family?

(11) How is your family impacting your ministry?

(12) How is your ministry impacting your faith?

(13) How is your faith impacting your ministry?

 (14) How is your personality affecting others?

(15) How are others affecting your personality?

(16) How is your integrity impacting others? What people are you influencing both positively and negatively?

(17) How is your character influencing your culture?

(18) How is your character influencing your church community?

(19) How are you developing character in your leaders?

(20) How is your physical health? What does your exercise look like weekly? What do you do for recreation? What does your eating look like daily? What does your sleep and rest look like? Do you have any health issues that affect your life and ministry? How are you dealing with these?

(21) How is your emotional health? How is ministry affecting your emotions? How are your emotions affecting your ministry? What tone are you setting in your home through your emotions? What tone are you setting in your ministry through your emotions?

FEED

(1) What area of your character in your personal life are you most convicted about by the Holy Spirit? What do you envision this developed area to look like? How would you describe this area now? What things could you do to develop or grow in this area? What commitment do you have to grow in this area? What has made it difficult for you to see growth or change in this area?

(2) What is currently confusing you about the gospel on a heart level?

(3) What books are you currently reading? What are you learning?

(4) How can I encourage, help, and support you?

(5) How are you making space to be refreshed in God’s salvation in a personal, practical way?

LEAD

(1) What is holding you back from personal growth in Jesus?

(2) What are you holding on to that is keeping you from being more like Christ?

(3) What current personal failures are most frustrating to you?

(4) What has God accomplished in your character in the last year?

(5) How has God shown faithfulness to you in the last year?

(6) How are you and God doing?

(7) Where do you think God wants you to go in your personal growth in the next six months? Why?

PROTECT

(1) Who do you need to help you?

(2) To whom will you be accountable?

(3) How can I help you?

(4) Where do we really need God to show up?

(5) Where is your heart hard?

(6) What lies do you believe?

(7) What doubts have crept in?

(8) In what ways have you invited unbelief and deception in your personal life? How can I help close those doors?

(9) How will we pray?

MINISTRY CALL

KNOW

(1) How would you describe your personal call?

(2) What people and circumstances are associated with your call to ministry

(3) How and when has your call to ministry been affirmed in your life?

(4) How have others affirmed your call to ministry?

(5) What opportunities do you have to fulfill this calling?

FEED

(1) What leadership gifts or abilities do you need to develop to fulfill your calling or current assignment?

(2) How would you describe your current abilities in this area?

(3) What options do you have to develop your leadership?

(4) What will you do to develop your leadership?

LEAD

(1) When has your call to leadership been challenged?

(2) Under what circumstances have you doubted your call?

(3) Is there anything in this current experience that is causing you to question your call?

(4) What activities or events do you use to anchor, form up, or strengthen your call?

(5) How should your call be focused or clarified?

(6) What does your call’s success look like?

PROTECT

(1) Who have been mentors in your life?

(2) What mentors and coaches do you need now to fulfill your call?

(3) Who else do you need to help you?

(4) What do you need most from God right now?

SPIRITUAL LIFE

KNOW

(1) What are some of the major milestones in your theological development?

(2) What are you reading in Scripture right now? What are you learning about God?

(3) How do you practice abiding in Jesus?

(4) What increases your affections toward God and others?

(5) What deadens your affections toward God and others?

(6) What is causing your anxiety or fear right now?

FEED

(1) What are some areas with which you wrestle theologically?

(2) What information are you missing?

(3) How hungry are you to know God?

(4) How dependent do you feel on Jesus in your life?

LEAD

(1) What discrepancies may be emerging between what your mind knows and what your heart believes in Scripture?

(2) How is the Holy Spirit leading you to grow in your understanding of Jesus?

(3) What does your prayer life look like?

(4) Who are the people in your life you are praying for?

(5) What are you praying for?

(6) What are your prayers revealing about your faith?

(7) Who is effectively bringing you clarity about who Jesus is and about the truth of Scripture? How are you prioritizing these people in your life?

PROTECT

(1) What are you feeding yourself with to feel satisfied outside of Christ?

(2) What current obstacles hinder your spiritual growth?

(3) Who is pulling you away from your relationship with God? How?

(4) Who is planting doubt and discouragement in your heart about Jesus?

(5) What anti-Christian spiritual teaching are you tempted to believe? Why?

(6) What are you allowing to take priority over your relationship with Jesus? Why?

(7) What obedience has Jesus called you to that you have been ignoring or trying to escape?

MISSIONAL LIFE

KNOW

(1) What opportunities for mission are present in your life?

(2) Who are the lost people God has brought into your life? What does your relationship with these people look like?

(3) What percentage of your time is spent with people who do not know Jesus?

(4) What are your spiritual gitfs?

(5) Describe your current ministry and missional responsibilities? Do these match your calling? Are any of these activities being performed under compulsion?

(6) To what degree do you and your church understand the prevailing culture in your city?

(7) How do you and your church engage the culture?

(8) How do you and your church serve the culture?

(9) How and where do you and your church attract the culture?

(10) How and where do you and your church initiate relationships in the culture?

(11) How is your church perceived by the culture?

(12) How do you and your church receive the culture?

(13) How do your leaders impact the culture?

FEED

(1) Where is ignorance in your mission or ministry killing you?

(2) Are you experiencing any physical or emotional burnout? How easily discouraged are you in your mission? How is your patience quotient? Are you easily angered in your ministry? Are yu disconnecting completely from your mission for Sabbath? How?

(3) Which Christian missiologists have influenced and shaped your mission through their writing or preaching?

(4) How would you like to see your church connect with culture?

(5) What can you personally do to connect with culture?

(6) What is working now in connecting with culture?

(7) What other possibilities do you see for you or your fellowship to connect with culture?

LEAD

(1) What does success in your mission look like?

(2) How will you know when you are accomplishing what God has called you to?

(3) How close are you to that success now?

(4) What roadblocks are you experiencing in accomplishing your mission?

(5) Is the direction you are headed the direction to which you have been called?

(6) Where and how have you and your church been effective in reaching into your culture?

(7) Which of your leaders most impact the culture?

(8) Who are the persons of peace with whom you are connecting?

(9) Where has there been a significant network of evangelistic relationships?

(10) What is stopping you or your church from engaging or impacting culture?

(11) What are one or two things could you and your church do to understand, engage, or receive your culture?

PROTECT

(1) What is draining your energy and sapping life from you in your mission?

(2) Who is attacking your mission — intentionally or unintentionally?

(3) What voices of discouragement are you listening to?

(4) What personal sins are hindering your mission and calling?

(5) Where are you allowing cowardice to hinder your mission and leadership?

(6) Where are you charging ahead of the Holy Spirit in your own strength?

(7) Who has sinned against you, and how is it affecting the mission?

(8) Who have you sinned against, and how have you dealt with it?

(9) What keeps rising up to distract you and your people from the mission?

(10) What risks are you willing to take to demonstrate dependence on God?

(11) What can help you understand your culture?

(12) Where do you most need God’s help?

(13) How are you praying for needs in the culture?

*SOURCE: Adapted from Appendix 2 in Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify God by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2013.

 

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40 GREAT LEADERSHIP ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTIONS

*By Scott Thomas and Tom Wood

Gospel Coach

The following questions can be used to protect a disciple in his leadership skills and development. Each section can take up to one hour to discuss between a coach and a disciple.

SELF-LEADERSHIP

(1) How are you unique? (calling, gifts, passions, personality, experiences, sin patterns)

(2) How do you stay inspired? How often do you practice this?

(3) How do you apply the gospel to yourself? What is the message in your mind?

(4) What are the rythms of grace in your life? (Scripture, worship, prayer, community, family, time off)

(5) What idols compete for your worship? How do you forsake each idol?

(6) What sinful mental images repeatedly play in your head? How do you take those thoughts captive?

(7) How are you stewarding the gifts you have for the greatest benefit? (time, resources, skills)

INTERPERSONAL LEADERSHIP 

(1) Who understands you best? Other than your family, who are the people with whom you share life together? (2 Timothy 2:2)

(2) Whom do you pray for? What specific petitions are you praying for them?

(3) Who would you like to choose to become one of your influencer friends? What is your plan for making this happen?

(4) How are you telling “truth in love” to the people under your leadership? When do you “spin” something?

(5) How faithful are you in being on time and following through with promises?

(6) Do you say yes and no with clarity so that it builds confidence and trust?

(7) Whom are the people you tend to try to please and why?

(8) How are you discipling each of your children and your spouse (if applicable)?

(9) Who really knows you?

(10) What relationships are broken in your life? What are you doing to bring reconciliation?

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP

(1) How has God called you to serve him? How are you fulfilling this calling?

(2) What things nudge you away from following your calling?

(3) What is the most pressing leadership issue you are currently facing?

(4) Do people in your leadership area know with clarity what you expect of them?

(5) What are you doing well in your leadership? What needs your attention?

(6) How do you encourage those you are leading to follow the objectives of your organization?

(7) In what ways do you personify your calling?

(8) What opportunities did you decline for the sake of fulfilling your objectives?

(9) What are the stories that define the culture of your leadership area? How do you capture these stories? How are the stories being shared?

TEAM LEADERSHIP

(1) Who is your team? (roles, styles)

(2) Who is going to replace you?

(3) How do you demonstrate your love for each team member?

(4) What dysfunctions in your team are you addressing?

(5) With whom do you sense the most synergy? How can you maximize this?

(6) With whom do you sense the least synergy? Why? How are you minimizing this?

(7) Whom do you struggle to trust? Why? How do you address issues of distrust with them?

(8) What inspires each team member? (Ask each one, “What aspect of your work brings you the most joy, and what stories do you tend to tell most often?)

(9) How do you empower your team members to exercise their greatest gifts and talents on the team?

PASTORAL LEADERSHIP

(1) What does faithfulness in your calling look like for you?

(2) In which young leaders are you investing your life to develop?

(3) How are you making disciples?

(4) How are you equipping others to serve Jesus’ church more effectively?

(5) How are you living in a missional way?

*SOURCE: Scott Thomas and Tom Wood. Gospel Coach. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013, Appendix 3.

 

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9 THINGS PASTORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DEVELOPING YOUNG LEADERS

Mentoring Matters

By Brian Dodd

“It’s no surprise that Texas is producing athletic innovation.  You’ve seen a similar spirit of innovation in Texas’s business world…It’s a place where thinking differently is valued and produces results.” – Jay Greene, Department of Education Reform, Arkansas University

As pastors and Christian leaders we are constantly focused on raising up the next generation of leaders.  Much like Texas athletics, we need different thinking to produce better results.

Recently I was reading a September 30th Sports Illustrated article on the incredible results being produced by the Texas high school football 7-on-7 tournaments. For example, this past weekend an astonishing 10 NFL starting quarterbacks came from those programs.

While lacking the “spiritual” element, I found the techniques used by Texas coaches to develop quarterbacks extremely applicable to Christian environments hoping to develop young leaders.

The following are 9 Things Pastors Should Know About Developing Young Leaders gleaned from these incredibly productive Texas high school football programs:

  1. Young Leaders Must Be Allowed To Make Mistakes – In addition to allowing quarterbacks time to develop, Texas high school quarterbacks are also given the ability to improvise and make mistakes.

  2. Young Leaders Should Be Given Significant Responsibility – Too often Christian leaders do not recognize the potential of their young people.  We give them volunteer responsibilities which do not stretch or challenge them.  This approach does not prepare them for the challenges adult Christian leaders face.  Detroit Lions qb Matt Stafford said, “We throw (the football) so much (in high school), it’s not a big deal when we get to the next level.”

  3. Young Leaders Will Innovate Out Of Necessity – Baylor head coach Art Briles created his innovative offensive system while coaching football at Stephenville High School.  The teams he faced were bigger, stronger, and faster.  He says, “I was just trying to figure out something each year.  We were having trouble with bigger players, and we started spreading the field to counter that.  We kept developing it from there.”

  4. Young Leaders Should Be Exposed To More Experienced Leaders Early And Often – Churches who develop young Christian leaders are focused on discipleship.  They prioritize getting younger leaders into the orbits and under the influence of successful, more experienced leaders.  Texas high school coaches are constantly bringing in NFL defensive coaches to better prepare their quarterbacks.

  5. Young Leaders Will Thrive In Flexible Environments – Texas high school coaches are flexible and humble.  They adjust their offensive game plans around the skills of their quarterbacks rather than making the quarterbacks adjust.  Church leaders need to recognize the incredible story God wants to tell through the lives of young people and adjust their ministries, programming and systems accordingly.

  6. Young Leaders Are Resilient – Coach Briles says, “What you’re looking for (in a quarterback) is a mentality.  A guy who won’t back down.”

  7. Young Leaders Focus On What They Can Do.  Not What They Can’t – Houston Texans qb Case Keenum says, “A lot of people told me what I couldn’t do.  I was too short, didn’t have this, didn’t have that.  But I always believed in myself.  You cannot let other people tell you what you can do.”

  8. Young Leaders Will Respect More Experienced Leaders – It is flawed thinking to assume young people lack respect.  Some do.  Many do not.  Christian leaders should make honoring a church’s past part of the discipleship process.  Keenum goes on, “One thing all of us have in common, we realize how important it is to play quarterback in Texas.  From a young age, we’re taught to respect the game.”

  9. Young Leaders Need Guidelines Rather Than Rules –  Writer Andrew Perloff deducted that a “competitive spirit and lax regulation provide a fertile ground for creativity and excellence.”

What additional practices are you doing as Christian leaders to develop young leaders?

SOURCE: http://www.briandoddonleadership.com/2013/12/04/9-things-pastors-should-know-about-developing-young-leaders/

 
 

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THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR MENTORING

New Testament Verses in Support of Mentoring

Surfers walking at Dusk image

He appointed twelve-designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach. (Mark 3:14)

… but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40b) Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (1 Corinthians 4:16)

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

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. (Philippians 3:17)

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8)

We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. (2 Thessalonians 3:9)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance…. (2 Timothy 3:10)

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8)

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)

Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:3)

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (3 John 11)

 

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BOOK REVIEW: “THE MAKING OF A LEADER” BY DR. J. ROBERT CLINTON

RECOGNIZING THE LESSONS AND STAGES OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

TMOAL Clinton

A PRIMER ON THE PROCESS OF BECOMING A LEADER

Book Review By David P. Craig

Knowing where one is at is crucial in moving forward in life. Nothing is more helpful when one is lost than having a map of where one is, and how to get to where we need to go. Recently, I experienced going through a difficult bout with cancer. The treatment and side effects of the treatment were absolutely brutal. However, I had a guide along the way to help me get through it. He was a man who had the exact same cancer and treatment as me, but he was already “cancer free” and a year ahead of me in the process. He helped me in my journey in two ways: (1) He helped me realize that what I was going through was normal and miserable, but necessary for the cancer to be killed; (2) He gave me a “living hope” that I would be cancer free like him if I endured to the end of the treatment without giving up. The process was excruciating, but now that I look back a year later – like him – I want to help people in their journey with cancer.

In the same vein as my illustration above Dr. Clinton helps emerging leaders understand the process of becoming a mature leader by evaluating the lives of biblical and modern leaders journeys. He identifies six primary processes’ that all leaders must go through on the way to becoming a healthy and mature leader of leaders. Some of the examples used in this book are the Prophets Jeremiah and Daniel, the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, and modern examples: Dawson Trotman, Warren Wiersbe, A.W. Tozer, Watchman Nee, Amy Carmichael and several others.

In his study Clinton articulates six phases or stages of a leaders development:

(1) Phase One is called “Sovereign Foundations” – This is where a leader starts to become aware of his or her calling to leadership. It is a time where  character issues are developing, skills are developing, and one’s calling is being wrestled with. There is a deep sense of God’s calling and purpose and the building blocks for the emerging leader’s life are starting to lay the foundations for a life of leadership.

(2) Phase Two is called “Inner Life Growth” – This is a time where the leader is learning to hear and obey God’s leading. It is a time of deep spiritual growth and intimacy with God. The leader is often put through several major tests during this process – will he or she obey and submit wholeheartedly to God?

(3) Phase Three is called “Ministry Maturing” – In this stage the leader is reaching out to others and discovering and practicing ones spiritual gifts. Both positive and negative lessons are being learned during this phase. The leader is learning his or her own strengths and weaknesses in working with others. Oftentimes there is a strong desire to get more training during this time to minimize one’s weaknesses and enhance one’s strengths. In the first three phases God is primarily working “in” the leader not through him or her. In the next three phases God is working “through” the leader. As Clinton articulates “Many emerging leaders don’t recognize this, and become frustrated. They are constantly evaluating productivity and activities, while God is quietly evaluating their leadership potential. He wants to teach us that we minister out of what we are.”

(4) Phase Four is called “Life Maturing” – This is a time in the leaders life where the leader “is using his or her spiritual gifts in a ministry that is satisfying. He gains a sense of priorities concerning the best use of his gifts and understands that learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do. A mature fruitfulness is the result. Isolation, crisis, and conflict take on new meaning. The principle that ‘ministry flows out of being’ has new significance as the leader’s character mellows and matures.” Communion and intimacy with God becomes immensely more important than one’s ‘success’ in ministry.

(5) Phase Five is called “Convergence” – God takes the leader and matches him or her with a role that matches his or her gift-mix and experience so that ministry is maximized. Life maturing and ministry maturing peak together during this phase. Many leaders never get to experience this phase. Some leaders like Dawson Trotman and Jim Elliott were taken to Heaven before entering this phase. Some leaders don’t get to experience this phase because of their own sin, or other providential circumstances. For those who experience convergence it is a time of transitional leadership where the baton is passed down to other faithful leaders who will continue to develop the leaders’ vision for the church or organization they have developed.

(6) The final phase is called “Afterglow” or “Celebration” – Clinton describes this stage as “The fruit of a lifetime of ministry growth culminates in an era of recognition and indirect influence at broad levels. Leaders in Afterglow have built up a lifetime of contacts and continue to exert influence in these relationships. Others will seek them out because of their consistent track record of following God. Their storehouse of wisdom gathered over a lifetime of leadership will continue to bless and benefit many.”

Clinton defines leadership as “a dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacity influences a specific group of God’s people toward His purposes for the group.” This book is written for leaders and potential leaders who are (a) wondering what God is doing in their lives – asking the question “Is God calling me into Christian ministry?”; (b) are beginning to discover ministry opportunities; (c) need a fresh challenge from God; (d) need to understand how to select and develop younger leaders; (e) are at a crossroads, facing a major decision; (f) want to know how God develops leaders; (g) want to know where you are at in the process of your leadership development – is what you are experiencing normal for a leader?

I think all emerging and veteran leaders will benefit immensely from reading this book. It is packed with useful examples, illustrations, charts, and principles to help you become a godly leader. Also, it is immensely helpful to help you understand the process’ of leadership and how to invest in other emerging leaders. If you believe God is calling you to leadership, or has already entrusted you with a leadership role, you will most definitely benefit from Clinton’s wisdom – from one leader to another.

 

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9 GOD-CENTERED EVALUATION QUESTIONS FOR LEADERS

AM I LEADING IN A GOD-CENTERED MANNER?

Leadership Viars

  • Do people understand more of God’s mercy because of the way I respond to their mistakes?

  • Do people understand more of God’s holiness because of my high ethical standards?

  • Do people understand more of God’s patience because of the time I give to grow and develop?

  • Do people understand more of God’s truthfulness because of the way I communicate honestly?

  • Do people understand more of God’s more of God’s faithfulness because they see me keep my promises?

  • Do people understand more of God’s kindness because of the tone of my voice?

  • Do people understand more of God’s love because I go out of my way to help and serve them as I lead?

  • Do people understand more of God’s grace because I avoid being harsh and unreasonably demanding?

  • To what extent does my leadership actually model and teach something about the character of God?

“SOURCE: Stephen Viars. Leadership: How to Guide Others Integrity. New Growth Press, 2012.

 

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