7026 church, leadership of

7026 church, leadership of

Jesus Christ is the absolute head of the church. He sets leaders in the church to enable the whole church to grow into maturity. Christ’s authority in the church is acknowledged more by the church’s obedience to God than through any particular form of government.

Jesus Christ alone is head of the church

Col 1:18 See also Mt 23:8-10; Eph 1:22; Eph 4:15; Eph 5:23; Col 2:19; Heb 3:3

The Holy Spirit directs the church

Ac 13:2 See also Ac 15:28; Ac 16:6-7; Ac 20:28; Ro 8:14; 1Co 12:11; Rev 2:7,11

The appointment of leaders in the church

God calls and equips leaders Eph 4:11 See also Mt 16:18; Ac 1:24-26; Ac 9:15-16; Ac 20:28; Ac 26:16-18; 1Co 12:28; Gal 1:15-17

Delegated leadership Ac 6:3-6; Ac 14:23; Tit 1:5

The appointment of apostles Mk 3:13-19 pp Mt 10:1-4 pp Lk 6:12-16 As founders of the church: 1Co 9:1-2; 2Co 3:3; Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14 As leaders of the church: Ac 2:42; Ac 15:6,22-23; 1Th 2:6; 2Pe 3:2; Jude 17

Prophets as leaders Ac 15:32 Judas and Silas were leaders in the Jerusalem church (Ac 15:22). See also Ac 11:27-30; Ac 13:1-2; Ro 12:6 The role of prophets as leaders is distinct from the gift of prophecy, which was in principle available to all; 1Co 12:28; 1Co 14:29-30; Eph 3:5

Evangelists as leaders Ac 21:8 See also Eph 4:11; 2Ti 4:5

Pastors and teachers as leaders Ac 20:28 See also Jn 21:15-17; Ac 13:1; Ro 12:7; 1Co 12:28; 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:9; Jas 3:1; 1Pe 5:2 Pastors are also called “shepherds”.

Elders as leaders 1Ti 3:1 “Elder” and “overseer” or “bishop” are more or less interchangeable. See also Ac 11:30; Ac 14:23; Ac 15:2,22; Ac 20:17; 1Ti 5:17; Tit 1:5; Jas 5:14; 2Jn 1

Deacons as leaders Php 1:1 “Deacon” means “one who serves”. See also Ac 6:5-6; 1Ti 3:8

Qualifications for church leadership

The first apostles were witnesses of Jesus Christ’s life and resurrection: Ac 1:21-22; Ac 10:41; 1Co 9:1-2; 1Co 15:7-8; 2Pe 1:16 Qualifications for elders and deacons: Ac 6:3; 1Ti 3:1-12; 1Ti 5:17; Tit 1:6-9; 1Pe 5:1-4

Responsibilities of church leaders

To preach the gospel Ro 1:15; 1Co 1:17; Gal 2:8; Eph 3:8; 1Ti 2:7

To teach sound doctrine 1Ti 4:6,13; 1Ti 5:17; Heb 13:7

To give direction in church life Ac 15:2,6,22-23; Ac 16:4; Ac 20:28-31; 1Ti 5:17; 1Pe 5:2

To be an example in loving service Mt 20:26-28 pp Mk 10:43-45; Mk 9:35; Jn 13:13-15; Heb 13:7; 1Pe 5:3

To train and appoint other leaders Ac 14:23; 1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 2:2; Tit 1:5

To pray for the sick Jas 5:14

To exercise discipline in the church 2Co 13:10; 1Th 5:12; 1Ti 1:20; 1Ti 5:20; Tit 3:10; 3Jn 10

The church’s responsibilities to its leaders

To respect and submit to its leaders Ac 16:4; 1Th 5:12-13; 1Ti 5:19; Heb 13:17

To pray for its leaders Eph 6:19; 1Th 5:25

To support its leaders financially 1Co 9:7-14; Php 4:15-19; 1Ti 5:17-18

The corporate government of the church

In choosing leaders Ac 6:3-6

In implementing decisions Ac 15:22-29

In building up the church Ro 12:4-8; 1Co 12:4-12,27; Eph 4:3,7-16; 1Pe 4:10-11

In discerning true and false teachings 1Jn 4:1-3; 2Jn 10; Rev 2:2

In exercising discipline Mt 18:15-20; 1Co 5:4-5; 2Co 2:6-8; 2Th 3:14-15

The structure of the church

The pattern of church life Ac 2:42 See also Ac 2:46; Ac 5:42

The house church Ac 1:13-14; Ac 12:12; Ac 16:40; Ro 16:5; 1Co 16:19; Col 4:15; Phm 2

The local church Ac 13:1; Ro 16:1; 1Co 1:2 It is unknown whether there were subdivisions of the church in towns such as Corinth; 1Th 1:1

Churches in a region Ac 9:31; Ac 15:41; 1Co 16:1; 2Co 8:1; Gal 1:2,22; Rev 1:4 Normally the NT speaks of “churches” in an area rather than of a unified regional structure.

The universal church Mt 16:18 Referring to the local as well as the universal church: 1Co 12:28; Eph 1:22; Eph 3:10; Eph 5:25

See also

2212Christ, head of church
3035Holy Spirit, presence of
5217authority in church
5326government
5745women
7706apostles
7715deacons
7720elders in the church
7734leaders, spiritual
7784shepherd
7797teaching
7939ministry
8342servanthood

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