Leadership in God’s Kingdom

Leadership in the kingdom of God’s is not the pursuit of fame, power, glory or the praise of man. This may be the concept of leadership from a secular view point, but it is far from what we are to seek after as people of God. (Luke 22:24-27 NLT)  And they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. {25} Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ {26} But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. {27} Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant.

Leadership from a godly perspective equals service and sacrifice. Whoever believes that being the leader is about the glory of leadership has never really led. A leader in God’s Kingdom is not about ascending to some height of glory, but rather taking on responsibilities that others will never know. (John 15:13 NKJV)  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Pastor Gerald Brooks “Leadership is about giving your heart. As a leader you have the privilege of spending time that others don’t have to spend. You get to make sacrifices that others are not required to make. You’re required to lead when others get to leave, and you must give your best when you’re not at your best.”

(2 Corinthians 12:12-15 NLT)  When I was with you, I certainly gave you every proof that I am truly an apostle, sent to you by God himself. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. {13} The only thing I didn’t do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong! {14} Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you.  I don’t want what you have; I want you. And anyway, little children don’t pay for their parents’ food. It’s the other way around; parents supply food for their children. {15} I will gladly spend myself and all I have for your spiritual good, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.

The greater the authority the greater the responsibility. John Maxwell defines leadership as influence, or the ability to gain followers. The greater your influence as a leader the more people will follow you, the greater number of people who follow you the greater potential for good and harm.

If you do not learn to love others and serve them before you become a leader, you will abuse and hurt people if you ever do become a leader. (James 3:1 NLT)  Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.

(Luke 12:48 NLT)  “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.

In order to be a good leader we must first learn to become a good follower. While scripture gives us many tremendous examples of godly leaders, and principles of leadership, there is very little teaching that tells us how to be a great leader. What we do find is a great amount of teaching on how to be a follower and a servant.How can we ever expect people to follow us if we are not first willing to follow? (Luke 16:12 NKJV)  “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

If you can learn to be a great follower, you are on your way to becoming a great leader. (Luke 9:23-24 NLT)  Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. {24} If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.

(John 12:26 NLT)  All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And if they follow me, the Father will honor them.

It is not wrong to aspire to become a leader; we just have to make sure we grow into leadership. This is why Scripture lays out some specific requirements for those who would aspire to lead God’s people. Leaders must first be proven before they are given authority to oversee God’s people. The apostle Paul by the Spirit of God laid out some of the qualifications for those who were being considered as leaders in his letter to Timothy.

Leadership requirements for undersheperds, or pastors. (1 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT)  It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. {2} For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. {3} He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. {4} He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. {5} For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

You will notice that the pastor must be a person of proven character. Someone who is above reproach. Leaders must be people of integrity, because if you lack integrity it will become evident as your leadership responsibilities increase. Most leaders who fall have failed to deal with integrity issues in their lives as they progressed.

Leadership requirements for elders in the church. (1 Timothy 3:6-7 NLT) An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. {7} Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devil’s trap and be disgraced.

An elder represents those who are spiritually mature. Every pastor is and elder, but not every elder is a pastor. However those who are placed in a position where younger believers are placed in their care need to be held to a higher standard as well. We cannot place a young believer in such a position because they may fall prey to the trap of pride. You will notice that an elder must maintain a good reputation among those within their community. It brings great reproach upon God’s kingdom when those in places of authority lack integrity within their community.

The requirement for deacons (helpers in the church). (1 Timothy 3:8-13 NLT)  In the same way, deacons must be people who are respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers and must not be greedy for money. {9} They must be committed to the revealed truths of the Christian faith and must live with a clear conscience. {10} Before they are appointed as deacons, they should be given other responsibilities in the church as a test of their character and ability. If they do well, then they may serve as deacons. {11} In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not speak evil of others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do. {12} A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. {13} Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

A deacon is a person who oversees task ministries. In the book of Acts, chapter 6 we see the first appointment of deacons after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. These were deacons, or people who were appointed to manage a food distribution ministry to widows. Acts 6:1-7 (NLT) But as the believersrapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” 5 Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith).6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. 7 So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

You will notice that while this ministry may not have the appearance of something we might typically consider very spiritual, these men were chosen based upon their integrity, and wisdom and not necessarily their ability.

We want to be sure that when we become leaders in an area of ministry, that we are godly examples to those around us, as the natural outcome of leadership is reproduction. The aim of discipleship from a Hebrew perspective is not simply to know what your master knows, but to be like your master. Our goal as believers is to become like Christ, not merely to know about Him.

In like manner we want to reproduce ourselves in others. We need to be able to pass onto other believers what we know, and what we do as well. (2 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT)  Timothy, my dear son, be strong with the special favor God gives you in Christ Jesus. {2} You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.

(1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT)  You should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.

People who follow you will become like you, be it good or bad. “We teach what we know, we produce what we are.” John Maxwell

(1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV)  Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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