Last week you may have noticed I put a bit of a news blurb up on the blog about a new season our family is moving into. We’ve moved to New Port Richey, Florida! Why? I’ve accepted the call to be the next pastor of SonRise Community Church. It is a glorious thing to join and be apart of and be called to do. We’re excited, hopeful, and expectant to see God move in mighty ways here. Holly and Jack are adjusting very well already and though all these hopeful things are rising within us, we do feel a bit of home-sickness as we left behind family and friends from Georgia. But we are thankful that God always takes care of us no matter where we are, the past has proven it and so we have hope for the future. Pray for us!
This leads me to begin our last and final mark of all healthy churches – leadership. It is very timely that in a season where I am moving into pastoral leadership we find ourselves discussing this very thing in our 9Marks series. So what is leadership, why is it important, who should lead, and what ought to guide leaders?
The first and foremost thing to say about leadership is simple and brief.
The Bible teaches that each local church should be led by a plurality of godly, qualified men called elders. These “elders” do not have to be old men, but godly men who are called to lead. Ephesians 4:11-12 states these elders are gifts from God to His church. The Apostle Paul lays out certain qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. These things are present in the Bible to show us that leaders are to show the people what the Christian life is supposed to be lived like. They are not perfect men, but exemplary men, who live an example for others both in victory and repentance. Texts which give evidence that this is the case, that a plurality of elders in one local church is the norm are: Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17, 1 Timothy 4:14, 1 Timothy 5:17, and James 5:14.
Elders are to do the following, at least:
- feed God’s sheep God’s word (Jn. 21:15-17),
- guide the sheep (1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 5:3, Heb. 13:7),
- and protect the sheep from attackers (Acts 20:27-29; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Tit. 1:9),
- while protecting both themselves and the church through the wisdom of their plurality (Prov. 11:14; 24:6).
Mark Dever puts it clearly: “The bottom line? Biblical church leadership is important because without it, God’s people are like sheep without shepherds.”