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Is leadership biblical?

Active
Here is an article that you may or may not agree with but I am just going to post it here. If thats ok.

You are welcome to respond...I think it raises some good points. Sorry but this kind of business language creeps into the church and I really dont like it and I would urge you to search scripture and see what kind of words you are using to describe things. And how you relate to each other as brothers and sisters in the body of christ. Because when I go to church I dont want to find myself in the middle of a religious amway meeting.

Is "Leadership" Biblical?
 
Active
Would you mind sharing why you agree with him? I don't want to login to that site to read his article.
 
Loyal
God did give us people as "gifts" for the Church, but calling them leaders is a problematic thing:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" Eph 4:11-15

For each of those five gifts [positions] God has His idea of what each one of them is to do with their gift [in their position]. The difficulty is similar the ones that face a young married couple that wants to live according to God's will. What is it that God wants? How much of a person's own carnal ways get in the way of doing it as God would have him to do it?

Moses, if you will, was a leader, but he received his instructions directly from God. Even the time to move and the direction to move in the wilderness was determined by God through the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud. The leadership in the Church as in the home ultimately should belong to God even if He does uses some man of flesh to implement some things.

Some husbands misread by accident, ignorance or on purpose their role in the home. Similarly and for the same reasons some people in the positions in the Church, especially the five cited in the verses in Ephesians 4, also misread their roles.

The Bible provides help to do all of these things right, but the Holy Spirit must also be involved to do this things right, whether it is to lead or teach or preach or to be a good husband.
 
Loyal
The article is by David Fitch - who is always thoughtful and provocative - and I think the title is a bit misleading. He makes five points that demonstrate how different the World's conception of leadership is from the New Testament. Here's some extracts and subheadings.

  1. THE WORD "LEADER" ITSELF IS GENERALLY AVOIDED IN THE NT
    Within the context of the church (with the notable exception of Hebrews 13:17, 24) we don't find the word used. Likewise, the NT writers generally avoid using secular or Old Testament (LXX) titles for authoritative office. The NT instead uses the term *diakonia(servant, service) to label people in leadership far more times than any other term in the NT (for example, Rom 11:13;16:1;1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6;6:4; 11:23; Eph3:7;6:21; Col 1:7,23; 4:7,12; 1Th 3:2; 1 Tim1:12; 2 Tim 4:5,11). The NT writers therefore used a word to describe leadership in the church which contrasted violently to the current secular notions of office.

  2. WHENEVER THE WORD "LEADER" IS USED IN THE NT IT IS SUBVERTED BY THE CHURCH.
    The NT the word "leadership" takes on the element of leading by character not coercion, by submission not hierarchy in reverence for the Lordship of Christ.

  3. JESUS HIMSELF SUBVERTED THE TERM "LEADERSHIP."

  4. CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP IS DEFINED BY THE POSTURE OF SUBMISSION- TO THE WORLD THIS IS NOT LEADERSHIP

  5. THE BUSINESS MODELS OF LEADERSHIP WILL HANDICAP US FROM LEADING INTO MISSION
To my understanding, his first four points are undeniable. For me the question is, what should we be doing differently in the way we lead and are led?
 
Loyal
I think the title is a little unfortunate. It's not a call for anarchy in the church. He does not argue that there should be no such thing as a leadership, but that the biblical way of leadership runs completely counter to the way that the world thinks of "leadership".
 
Loyal
The word "pastor" derives from the Latin noun pastor which means "shepherd" and relates to the Latin verb pascere - "to lead to pasture, set to grazing, cause to eat".[2] The term "pastor" also relates to the role of elder within the New Testament...

In five New Testament passages… the words relate to church workers:

John 21:16 - Jesus told Peter: "Shepherd My sheep" (NASB).

Acts 20:17 - the Apostle Paul summons the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus to give a last discourse to them; in the process, in Acts 20:28, he tells them that the Holy Spirit has made them bishops, and that their job is to shepherd the flock of God among them.

1 Corinthians 9:7 - Paul says, of himself and the apostles: "who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?" (NASB)

Ephesians 4:11 - Paul wrote "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers" (NASB)

1 Peter 5:1-2 - Peter tells the elders among his readers that they are to, "shepherd the flock of God among you" (NASB). Bishops in Western Christianity often bear a formal crosier in the form of a stylised shepherd's crook as a symbol of their pastoral/shepherding functions.

Pastor - Wikipedia (not an endorsement of this site nor of all material contained within)

So, what is the definition of "shepherd"?

The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. "In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1 Samuel 17:34 ).", Deane's David.

Shepherd Definition and Meaning - Bible Dictionary (not an endorsement of this site nor of all material contained within).

Shepherd – (v.) to guide, direct, lead, steer; to tend as a shepherd; to guide or guard in the manner of a shepherd (M-W Dictionary). “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters…” (Ps. 23).

Human shepherds (pastors, bishops, elders) of God’s people, among their other responsibilities, lead the people to drink in the Word of God (their spiritual food and drink). They lead them, in the power of God’s Spirit within them, to paths of righteousness.

Read in Ezekiel 34 the dangers of the people of God being without shepherds (leaders):

So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

The Greek Word translated in these verses as “leaders” means “to lead.”

Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Hebrews 13:24 Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings.

Jesus is our chief shepherd, but he has assigned men within the body of Christ to be our shepherds (leaders, guides, overseers), under his guidance and authority, and as led by the Holy Spirit, and to do with us, in a spiritual sense, what human shepherds of literal sheep did. They are Christ’s representatives, his ambassadors, his under-shepherds given to the church for our spiritual growth and maturity (Eph. 4). They are not only to direct (lead, guide) us in the ways of God, according to his Word, in the power of his Spirit, but they are also to lead by example, as did Jesus (1 Pet. 5).
 
Active
Pastor is just ONE of the five positions God gifts to the church.

I have no problems with shepherds if they are following the chief Shepherd. I do have a problem with wolves in sheeps clothing, often calling themselves 'leaders'.
 
Loyal
@Lanolin - I am going to repeat here something I shared in another post, because I believe it is worthy of repeating:

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater?" It means, "Don't discard something valuable along with something undesirable." Or, it "is an idiomatic expression for an avoidable error in which something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, or in other words, rejecting the essential along with the inessential" (wikipedia). Just because someone uses something in a bad way doesn't mean we should discard it all together, in other words. Yes, there are many people who will abuse what is good and turn it into something which is bad, but we must not throw out "the whole kit and caboodle," meaning everything, just because we don't like one aspect of something or how someone uses it. There will be good leaders and bad leaders, good counselors and bad counselors, good bishops and bad bishops, good pastors and bad pastors. Words will be used in good ways with good meanings, and they will be used in bad ways, with bad meanings, but we can't throw out the words altogether just because they are used, as well, to mean something bad. So, just because you are not keen on the word "leader," because you have experienced people using it in a wrong way, doesn't mean it should be discarded altogether. We just need to use the word in the right way.
Yes, pastor is one position within the church, but elders (bishops, I think is another word for them) were also to shepherd the people. So, shepherd (to lead) is not just a position, but it something people do, i.e. it is not just a noun, but it is also a verb. I do, also, have a problem with wolves in sheep's clothing, so I empathize with you on that, but we can't throw out the term "shepherd," which means leader, guide, etc. just because there are false shepherds among us. We just have to distinguish which ones are the true shepherds and which ones are the false ones, and we must teach what is true, and expose the lies of Satan, so that others, too, will be able to distinguish between the good ones and the bad ones.
 
Active
I am not throwing out the term shepherd, pastor or bishop,if you read my posts, I am talking about the word leader or leadership.

Please read my posts am very particular about the words we use cos we need to go by the Word not just make our own meanings out of it.

If the bible says we are to be servants, then that means servants, not leaders. It is totally different!!!!!
A pastor feeds the sheep and the lambs. Did Jesus say to Peter, lead my sheep, lead my lambs? No he said FEED!
 
Loyal
I am not throwing out the term shepherd, pastor or bishop,if you read my posts, I am talking about the word leader or leadership.

Please read my posts am very particular about the words we use cos we need to go by the Word not just make our own meanings out of it.

If the bible says we are to be servants, then that means servants, not leaders. It is totally different!!!!!
A pastor feeds the sheep and the lambs. Did Jesus say to Peter, lead my sheep, lead my lambs? No he said FEED!
A shepherd leads the sheep to the pasture where they can eat.
 
Active
Also if the Bible says Jesus is the son of God, we cant short circuit that and leave out that He is fhe son And God is his Father!!!

Otherwise you end up in a catholic quandary where you can say Mary is the mother of God. UM no..,Mary is the mother of Jesus. She is the mother of the Son of God.

We are not only servants but when we become adopted by God we cry Abba! (Meaning father or daddy) and become His children...sons and daughters and brothers and sisters in Christ.

We dont follow someone else who makes themselves a leader and call him pope. And we dont make ourselves leaders. If someone is to be a pastor they need to be called by God to pastor.
 
Active
A shepherd leads the sheep to the pasture where they can eat.
ONLY if they are led by the holy spirit Sue.

We dont make our own way. Also Jesus said feed.

Havd you ever been on a sheep farm? Do you know in nz, there are actually few true shepherds? The farmers actually use dogs to chase the sheep into fields and fence things off with barbed wire. They arent calling fhe sheep by name and protecting them. Sometimes they leave the sheep out in the cold to die! Basically ghey use dogs to bully the sheep into going here and there. This is what I see in some churches too, people make themselves leaders and then invite wolves or sheepdogs to 'lead' the sheep.

In bible times, true shepherds did not use dogs to herd their sheep. They actually chased the wolves, lions and bears away.
 
Active
Also about sheep, a shepherd has to herd the sheep...he cant leave them alone but the sheep need be together and not go off in all directions. A sheperd would use a crozier or hook to guide the sheep, this is a rod or staff of psalm 23. In winter a shepherd will feed his sheep he cant lead them as sheep naturally find grass wherever they can eat it but grass is hard to come by in winter. So, the shepherd needs to be making hay.

I dont see any of this language in church circles that talk about leadership. They really seem to talking about something else. Mostly themselves.
 
Active
In KJV bible it will mention rules. Or rulers. If you are a teacher or head of the house you know you need to have some ground or house rules. If everyone is led by the holy spirit, we will be in submission to these rules the ruler or the person laying down the rules is just ensuring people stick by them. They dont lead anyone astray. You cant really MAKE anyone follow you.

In church articles that talk about leadership they seem to have all fhese strategies for growing the church (especially financially) but I tell you only God gives the growth. And that growth is spiritual not monetary.
 
Active
And if you know anything about sheep, the sheep are going to find fhe grass right...(thAt God has provided! )but the shepherd is behind the sheep. Not in front of them, leading. But behind fhem looking after them. Not telling fhem what to do as sheep when they are hungry dont actually need to be told to eat!

I guess people dont really understand how a shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. People seem to think all you need in church is someone who can act as a figurehead. But we already have a head..that head of the church is Christ.
 
Active
The article is by David Fitch - who is always thoughtful and provocative - and I think the title is a bit misleading. He makes five points that demonstrate how different the World's conception of leadership is from the New Testament. Here's some extracts and subheadings.

  1. THE WORD "LEADER" ITSELF IS GENERALLY AVOIDED IN THE NT
    Within the context of the church (with the notable exception of Hebrews 13:17, 24) we don't find the word used. Likewise, the NT writers generally avoid using secular or Old Testament (LXX) titles for authoritative office. The NT instead uses the term *diakonia(servant, service) to label people in leadership far more times than any other term in the NT (for example, Rom 11:13;16:1;1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6;6:4; 11:23; Eph3:7;6:21; Col 1:7,23; 4:7,12; 1Th 3:2; 1 Tim1:12; 2 Tim 4:5,11). The NT writers therefore used a word to describe leadership in the church which contrasted violently to the current secular notions of office.

  2. WHENEVER THE WORD "LEADER" IS USED IN THE NT IT IS SUBVERTED BY THE CHURCH.
    The NT the word "leadership" takes on the element of leading by character not coercion, by submission not hierarchy in reverence for the Lordship of Christ.

  3. JESUS HIMSELF SUBVERTED THE TERM "LEADERSHIP."

  4. CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP IS DEFINED BY THE POSTURE OF SUBMISSION- TO THE WORLD THIS IS NOT LEADERSHIP

  5. THE BUSINESS MODELS OF LEADERSHIP WILL HANDICAP US FROM LEADING INTO MISSION
To my understanding, his first four points are undeniable. For me the question is, what should we be doing differently in the way we lead and are led?
Ok to answer your question what should we be doing differently, well I dont know, how about praying!! Spending time with God?

Proverbs tells us that we are to have wisdom and that wisdom will lead us in the paths of righteousness. This is from God, not our own understanding.

Paul had to junk everything he learned as a pharisee and spend about 14 years wih God learning before he was sent out on mission. He has to pray every day! I very much doubt Paul had a church growth strategy and statisicians calculating how many people he could convert in a day, or run focus groups asking how we can relate to the gentiles and their felt needs.
 
Active
Be interesting if church adverts just said wanted apprentice shepherds, servants and caregivers or guides not leaders.

There is a lot more to being a shepherd than simply being a leader. Because no sheep should be led astray.

Instead of church leadership conferences why dont they have church servanthood conferences.

Anyway you get my drift.
Jesus says whoever wants to becomes great in the kingdom of God must be as a servant. He was washing the feet of everyone. Jesus never said to his disciples, I want you to be leaders. MAtthew 20:25-28 Jesus explained his role.

Mark 9:35 Jesus says whoever desires to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Again in Luke 22:25-30

Jesus talked so many times about servants and serving our brothers and sisters that Im very surprised that suddenly churches are totally ignoring this and concentrating on leaders. Puffing them up.

This is a kingdom we are talking about not a business enterprise. Does the King have leaders? No, the King has servants and heirs.

Perhaps people in america dont quite understand how a kingdom operates since they are a republic. Maybe thats why churches in america are run like corporations. But I tell you a Kingdom is not run the same way as a profit driven business. Since our Lord is already rich beyond compare He has no need to make a profit! He has the riches already!

Another aspect of the Kingdom of God is that it is a family. In a family are there leaders? Well God shows us how He expects the family to operate, with family members in submission and reverence for each other. He wants children to obey their parents in the Lord, and expects elders to teach those who are younger, and brothers and sisters to love one another.
 
Active
Interesting the word pastor comes from latin..meaning shepherd, pascere, to FEED.

In the Bible bishops are 'overseers' does this mean they are leaders, well no. An overseer is not someone who leads, they are someone who watches over someone else. Somebody who looks after someone.

What does it mean to look after someone, isnt this pastoral care. Do pastors actually lead. Well not really. They feed. I know its only one letter 'f' but you cant change what Jesus said just because some evangelical church strategy book tells you that you need leaders in the church. Um..why not just invite wolves in.

Stop getting in the way of God and let Him lead.
 
Loyal
Have you ever been part of a church where there is no effective leadership - nobody agrees on who takes responsibility/decisions/articulates a vision? It's a horror! Division, confusion, and disappointment breed so easily in such an environment - even when everybody is working with a good will and to the best of their ability.

Leadership is a necessity in any group of people. It's just that the biblical pattern of leadership is radically different from the world's.

Here's Peter's instructions:

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because,

‘God opposes the proud
but shows favour to the humble.’
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Elders serve, the rest of us submit. All of us model ourselves on Jesus' example and look to him for our reward.
 
Loyal
Our pastors [leaders?] and other ministers need to be first called by God rather than by other men or to achieve some selfish ambition. When they have been called then they need to understand that first they are ministers [servants] rather than rulers or bosses. Having been called and having really understood about being servant they then need to understand that they too have someone over them who is the real Leader. We all call him Jesus. They need to stay in touch with their Head, their Shepherd and follow Him and learn from Him to properly work in their own calling with regard to the people.

That is for the shepherds and ministers of called positions [especially those five positions as per Eph 4:11], but then there are the people. The people as I believe has already been said are to subject themselves to ones God has called to be over them. This is a necessary thing, but it is also a voluntary thing.

The problem people find too often is that those with positions "over" others abuse their positions or don't even know what authority are really supposed to have according to God. What do the people do then? Recall what the apostle Paul wrote:

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." I Cor 11:1

To me this means to be always aware of what we should be doing according to Christ. Likewise follow those to whom we have subjected ourselves, but only insofar as they are following Christ. If they are missing the way themselves, that is where we stay on the road where Christ leads us instead on the wrong road behind our "ministers". This again is not saying to boot them out or to leave that assembly... although leaving may become necessary as God directs. Before getting involved in such a thing [booting out or leaving] be certain that that is God's direction for you!

Remember that David who was anointed by a prophet of God to be king over Israel, when he twice had the opportunity, would not kill King Saul and would not allow anyone else to kill him. It is not that Saul was doing things right, it was very simply that David realized that Saul had also been anointed as King of Israel by God's prophet. David saw his own job was simply to follow God and let God take care of all of the details including getting rid of the wrongfully directed although properly anointed King Saul.

David left it in God's hands. We may well be God's hands at times, but before we take action as God's hands to depose someone who according to God and according to our own submission, we had better be very sure that God has made us into His hands for such a purpose.

The ministers who are called by God are necessary to accomplish the purposes described in Ephesians 4:12-15, but unless God gives us specific personal direction to do otherwise, we need heed the following admonition:

"... Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." Psalm 105:15

 

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