In order to have a strong faithful congregation it is necessary to have
strong faithful leadership. It has been said that a congregation is no
stronger than its leaders. This means that if those who take the lead
in the church are weak spiritually, the whole congregation is affected.
Peter seems to indicate this when he writes to the elders in the church,
"...being ensamples to the flock" (I Peter 5:3). Jesus Christ, the Son
of God, is our supreme leader and He sets the example for all who would
be leaders in the church today.
There are many good men in the church who want to see the church grow
and prosper, but all have not learned the importance of leadership. It
is the purpose of this article to point out some Bible requirements for
men to qualify for the kind of leadership the Lord wants in the church.
In Hebrews 13:7 we are told, "Remember them which have the rule over
you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow,
considering the end of their conversation." The Revised Standard
Version says, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of
God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith."
One of the first things we need to understand is that there is no
official office in the church called "leader". Leadership is an
ability. Some have the ability to lead, and others do not. Some may
have the ability, but are not qualified for other reasons. Some would
like to be leaders in the church, but do not have the ability or the
In our worship services we have men who lead singing. We have others
who lead prayer. In both of these capacities these individuals are
leaders - song leaders and prayer leaders - but they occupy no official
position. So it is with other leaders in the church.
AN ELDER MUST BE A LEADER
In order for a man to be a qualified elder in the church, he must be a
leader of men. But men can take the lead in the Lord's work who are not
EXAMPLES OF LEADERS
In the Bible we have examples of men who were leaders in carrying out
the will of God. Jesus is the most notable example of all. The apostle
Paul said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (I
Corinthians 11: 1). Christ was the supreme leader because He was the
Son of God and was always an example in doing the will of His Father.
He said, "And he that sent me is with me: The Father hath not left me
alone; for I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29).
Again, He said, ". . .I seek not mine own will, but the will of the
Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30).
In the Old Testament, Moses was a leader of the children of Israel,
because God selected him to deliver His people from slavery in the land
of Egypt and to lead them to the place of "milk and honey". At first
he offered excuses. He did not think the people would believe that God
had chosen him for this job. When that excuse didn't work. he
complained that he was "not eloquent" and was "slow of speech" (Exodus
4:1. 10-16). But God would not take "no" for an answer and promised He
would be with him and qualify him to serve as a leader of his people.
Moses became the great deliverer with the help of God and the assistance
of his brother, Aaron, and served God in that capacity for forty long
In the sixth chapter of Judges we read the account of another
successful leader chosen by God. His name was Gideon. He was told to
fight against the Midianites who were the enemies of God. Gideon did
not hesitate to rally an army of 32,000 ready to go to war. But God
told him he had too many. All were given permission to return home who
really did not want to fight. That day Gideon lost 22,000 of his men.
However, he was still ready to go against the enemy under God's
direction. But he was told he still had too many men. A simple test
was given. Only three hundred passed it, and with this small force
Gideon successfully fought against the enemy of God.
In the New Testament the apostle Paul, who at one time "made havoc of
the church" (Acts 8:3) became one of the greatest proponents of truth
the world has ever known. He was a natural born leader of men. Before
his conversion he was known as "Saul of Tarsus" and was the archenemy of
Christ. And when he was converted and became an apostle of our Lord,
when it came to leadership he stood head and shoulders above all other
apostles and wrote more books in the New Testament than any other man.
He urged other Christians to follow him as he followed Christ.
A MAN OF GREAT FAITH
One of the requirements for a person to be a leader in the church is
great faith. A man of weak faith is not, yea cannot be, a leader
among Christians. The apostle Paul expressed a powerful faith when
he wrote, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth
me" (Philippians 4: 13). Solomon said, "Trust in the Lord with all thine
heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
Knowledge of the scriptures is an absolute requirement to be a spiritual
leader. Jesus said, "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into
the ditch" (Matthew 13: 14). A person is going to have to know what
the Will of God is if he is going to help lead others to heaven.
HE MUST HAVE WISDOM
Wisdom is needed for a leader to do a good job, whether he is an elder
or not. Wisdom is the proper or best use of knowledge. The writer of
Proverbs said, "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get Wisdom; and
with all thy getting, get understanding" (Proverbs 4:7). The apostle
James wrote, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth
to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him"
(James 1: 5).
HE MUST BE A GOOD EXAMPLE
A leader must be an example. Paul wrote to Titus and said, "In all
things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing
uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity" (Titus 2:7). Jesus taught his
apostles, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness"
(Matthew 6:33). A person is not a leader if he is not strong
spiritually and does not set a good example for others to follow.
Paul wrote, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might"
(Ephesians 6:10). Again, he says, "Not slothful in business; fervent
in spirit; serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).
HE MUST BE IMPARTIAL
One must not show partiality if he is going to be a leader in the
church. The apostle Paul wrote Timothy and said "I charge thee before
God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe
these things without preferring one before another doing nothing by
partiality" ( I Timothy 5:21). Solomon wrote, "He that justifieth the
wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination
to the Lord" (Proverbs 17:15). "He that doeth wrong shall receive for
the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons"
(Colossians J:25). One cannot be partial if he is to be respected as a
faithful leader of the Lord's people.
HE MUST BE STABLE
One more requirement for a man to be a respected and efficient leader is
that he must show stability. He must not vacillate. He cannot be
fickle. James says, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways"
(James 1:8). Paul writes, "My beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye
know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58).
In conclusion, let me say this: There is a dire need for good, sound,
scriptural leadership in the church today, men who know what is right
and will stand for the truth. We need leadership that puts the Lord and
the church first in their lives. We need men who are good examples, who
command respect because they are genuine Christians and who are
concerned for the salvation of souls and the strength and growth of the
church. With This kind of leadership the Lord will bless His people and
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