Jesus And His Elders

We had an odd little hat in our home growing up that had two bills on it. It didn’t make any sense to wear it, or was it comfortable to wear. But, on the front of it it said, I’m their leader, which way did they go?! It made a good point in a fun way.

Leaders are all around us. I think it’s impossible to go somewhere and not encounter a leader or an entity that is being lead. It’s more likely noticed if it has poor leadership is it not? We recognize good leadership, have you ever been to Chick-fil-a at lunch time?

It’s no different in your church. To a large degree churches are successful or not on account of their leadership. This has been our area of focus this week in class, Church leadership.

There are three basic forms of church leadership.
First is Congregational / Independent. This would be a majority of Baptist, Bible or Non- denominational churches. It may have a board or group of deacons or elders that help make decisions but it’s main characteristic would be that it’s guided by a form of CEO pastor leadership.
Secondly, is Episcopalian. This would be the Roman Catholic, Methodist and Anglican type churches. These churches likely have a hierarchal structure.
Finally, Presbyterian. This is a form of government that is run by elders. It is representative in nature. The Elders are equal in power and make decisions for the church as a group. Presbyterianism has had great influence in our country. It is not coincidental that our American government is a representative form of government!
The word ‘presbyterian’ comes from the greek word ‘Presbuteroi’ found in 1Timothy 3:1. This refers to the ‘office’ or ‘position’. ‘Episcopi’ is the greek word translated ‘Overseer or Pastor’.

Through out the New Testament we see the apostle Paul giving instruction to appoint elders in the new churches that are being planted. Timothy himself was appointed to his ministry by a council of elders in 1 Tim 4:14. In 1 Timothy 3 Paul gives to Timothy a rather lengthy list of qualifications for a man ‘who aspires to the office of overseer’. In Titus 1 there is another list of qualifications for elders. Paul tells Titus to ‘put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town’. Paul directs him to appoint Godly mature men to help these new churches grow.

Advice for these elders can be found in Acts 20:28. Paul exhorts the overseers or pastors, ‘Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained by his Blood.

The Church belongs to Christ. It is his body (Col 1:18). He appointed twelve to go and preach, make disciples and plant churches. They in turn appointed men to care for and to protect Christ’s Church. Let’s pray more and more that churches will look to Scripture for an effective way to lead and care for God’s flock.

Lastly, notice that it is the Holy Spirit that has made these men overseers. God is establishing his church by His Spirit. Let us not despise the leaders of our Churches but pray for them, after all, the Holy Spirit has seen fit to put them there for our good.

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