Thinking Through Church Leadership
As we approach our AGM it is good for us to be reminded that as Christians we are to think of ourselves as ‘servants of the Gospel’.
The term ‘ministry’ we are use to using simply refers to ‘service’. Thus, all those who are truly Christians are ministers’. Baptist Churches have historically been noteworthy in promoting and trying to facilitate this Biblical emphasis of whole Church ministry.
When it comes to leadership roles in the Church the Bible emphasises two main roles, that of Deacon and Elder. These are designed to complement one another to facilitate this whole Church ministry (e.g Acts 6:1-7; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; 5:17-25; Hebrews 13:7-17; James 3; 1 Peter 5:1-4). The first role, Deacon is simply another term for servant.
However, as a leadership term it refers to a particularly recognised responsibility in overseeing practical support to the ministry of the word. The second term of Elder, which is also interchangeable with Pastor or Overseer, identifies those particularly recognised by the Church to fulfill the responsibility of leading in the teaching and preaching of the word of God.
It is this latter ministry which is meant to be the central and shaping element of the life and development of the Church.
The goal is that all in the Church are not only growing in understanding and conviction of God’s truth but also sharing it with others in love for the total building up / maturity of all (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Ephesians 4:11-16). As well as thinking about those who the Church needs to be serving as leaders in the support of the ministry of the word it is also good for us to be thinking about those who might also be suitable to serve in the leading of the ministry of the word among us and beyond us or our upcoming AGM the particular leadership roles up for appointment by the Church pertain to Deacons.
I encourage you to read through the passages that focus on this role such as; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8—16. They are instructive in helping us to see that such leaders are to be mature Christians who display consistent godly character and serve as examples to the congregation. This includes a commitment to supporting and being shepherded themselves by the ministry of the word, promoting the godly unity and purpose God is seeking in his people and having wisdom for decision making concerning the outworking of ministry through the Church.
Finally I thank God that those who have been serving as deacons have been very supportive and displayed a humility in service and in desiring to grow in the word. I encourage you to pray that this will continue and increase so that as a whole Church we may grasp and pursue the goal of God’s glory in his Church (Ephesians 3:20-21). Keep this mind as we move through our series in Ephesians which God has graciously given us for this very purpose!