I have been thinking about this subject of leadership.  There several sides to this discussion:  1) Elderships that act as a "board of directors" and are out of tune with the congregation 2) Elderships that do not "lead" in any sense 3) Elderships that are focused on the business model and have no conception of servant leadership and 4) Elderships that concentrate ( i.e. do ) the work of deacons and ignore spiritual development of the flock.

 

When elders are "appointed" ( in the NT example by the evangelist---???? where did this example go??), concentration is given to his character ( Tim. and Titus), but almost nothing is said about what elders are to do.   Clearly, one trait of leadership ( never mentioned that I recall in the many elder selection processes I have personally witnessed) is that of vision: Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perishf: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.   I am well aware that "vision" here is also translated "revelation".  But, even with this connotation elders are seldom selected based on their ability to interpret and implement the "vision/mission/revelation" of God for his people.  Where is the training for what elders/leaders are actually to do??

In my view one of the greatest deficiencies in the church is the lack of qualified/trained elders/leaders.

 

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Garth,
That may sound good as a sound bite, but what does this really mean in practice. If you examine the role of a "shepherd" you find one of the very first characteristics is that of a "leader"--- just examine the words of Ps 23 the great example of a Shepherd.

And, what does it mean in practice that Christ is the leader of the church? Of course Christ is the head of the body and "the leader"--and we have the scriptures to guide us. What does this mean about the leadership in practice of elders??

You need a much more complete explanation to determine what you have in mind.



Garth Hope said:

I prefer it if we leave Christ as the leader of the church.

 

I personally think that elders many times need to get a vision of the role of shepherds.

 

Just my opinion of course ...

The psalmist say, "He leads in the paths of righteousness for His names' sake . . . "

The primary leadership is in a way of life--showing people how to live like Christ, righteously, for the glory of God. Note that all most all of the qualities of elders have to do with character.

 

Check out John 10 - the sheep know the shepherd's name, he lays down his life for the sheep.

I would characterize  the leadership function of elders as "sacrificial servant leadership".  There is really both what are characterized as "Shepherding" functions and what are typically called "Leadership" functions. I have further separated these functions into: 1) Preparing equipping functions 2) Spiritual Guarding 3) Oversight and 4) Caring functions.  See the PDF presentation I have attached to the beginning of this discussion.

 

Of course the above DOES NOT address the functions of the Pulpit Minister who has Apostolic or Evangelistic gifts.  More importantly it does not address the interaction between the pulpit minister and the eldership.

Dad, I understand your categories. But I would not separate shepherding from leadership, as if these were somehow distinct. By shepherding in people's personal lives through servanthood, counseling, mentoring, friendship, etc., shepherds earn the right to speak into people's lives.

 

It is hard to see how a group "leads" in the classic sense. What you usually get are a series of compromises, lowest common denominator, etc. Lynn Anderson makes the point that in the OT God appointed leaders, but in the NT, apparently, according to how we typically view leadership, God switched to a committee.

I don't have all the answers here, but it seems like in reality we are reluctant to empower any leader. It goes against our democratic tendencies as Americans.

Relative to Shepherding and Leadership:  You probably would not separate shepherding from leadership because a true biblical understanding of shepherding includes leadership ( He leads me beside the still waters......).   But, typically leadership as popularly understood is not Shepherding ---.

 

You have a point about elderships acting as a "committee" with dysfunctional habits.  In the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni ( http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0787960756/179-6828596-7266354?Subscri... )

one of the major dysfunctions is operating by consensus.  Your point about the reluctance to empowerment is also accurate ( whether deacons as example of appointment by apostles or others).   There are team principles that would prevent such errors, but elderships are not trained for this at all


James Nored said:

Dad, I understand your categories. But I would not separate shepherding from leadership, as if these were somehow distinct. By shepherding in people's personal lives through servanthood, counseling, mentoring, friendship, etc., shepherds earn the right to speak into people's lives.

 

It is hard to see how a group "leads" in the classic sense. What you usually get are a series of compromises, lowest common denominator, etc. Lynn Anderson makes the point that in the OT God appointed leaders, but in the NT, apparently, according to how we typically view leadership, God switched to a committee.

I don't have all the answers here, but it seems like in reality we are reluctant to empower any leader. It goes against our democratic tendencies as Americans.

The two things  mentioned were to be able to teach and to demonstrate he had a well run family.  The other features of the elder had to do with his personal life... Titus was told an elder should demonstrate he can manage his family well.  He should be a good teacher in sound doctrine and stand up to the person who misleads the church.  That's it from Paul as I see it.  I see little direction for the elder.  But he is the pastor.  If we were to take the warning of Acts 20 to the Ephesisan elders, Paul's main concern was not for the Elders to allow false teaching to take place and cause a rupture in the church.

 

I would conclude that the emphasis  the Bible places on Elders is making sure what is taught is the best spiritual food given to the flock.  They should be experts in handling the Word of Truth.  Bill b

 

During the next two centuries the church elders did not do too well.  Origen got the church on the kick of baptizing infants, for example.


The word "sound" in sound doctrine is a word that means "healthy." It has taken on a popular meaning not intended in the text. Everyone knows, for instance, that a church that is looking for a preacher who preaches "sound doctrine" is a really conservative church.
The types of teaching that are warned against are things such as the denial that Christ came in the flesh and substitution of the doctrine of grace for that of the doctrine of works. And there was a moral issue behind this--these teachers were seeking to lead others astray for their own financial gain. They had a corrupt character. The Bible actually does not talk about "false teaching," but about "false teachers." We have all probably taught something that we later believe was incorrect.

Bill Bowman said:

The two things  mentioned were to be able to teach and to demonstrate he had a well run family.  The other features of the elder had to do with his personal life... Titus was told an elder should demonstrate he can manage his family well.  He should be a good teacher in sound doctrine and stand up to the person who misleads the church.  That's it from Paul as I see it.  I see little direction for the elder.  But he is the pastor.  If we were to take the warning of Acts 20 to the Ephesisan elders, Paul's main concern was not for the Elders to allow false teaching to take place and cause a rupture in the church.

 

I would conclude that the emphasis  the Bible places on Elders is making sure what is taught is the best spiritual food given to the flock.  They should be experts in handling the Word of Truth.  Bill b

 

During the next two centuries the church elders did not do too well.  Origen got the church on the kick of baptizing infants, for example.

Here is an interesting article on this subject of leadership that you raise.

Thanks for sharing that link.  I tend to agree with Fitch's perspective (the article that your link discussed).  I generally try and avoid using the the word "leader" around the church.  It's too ambiguous.  We have elders, deacons, ministry leaders, we lead prayers and the guys passing the communion plates are also "leading in worship".  Businesses have leaders, and their role is fairly well defined, but not so with church leaders.


In the past year I taught a series on the Pastorals and posed the same question.  The "qualifications" of elders are given twice, but where is their job description?  I recently heard someone describe the elders' responsibilities as "church administrators".  That job description gave them permission to oversee every aspect of the church from where the snow shovels were stored, to how long the service was, to the size of the missions budget, to whether the church secretary could use her budget to buy new letterhead.  When you're the "administrators" delegation becomes more difficult.

 

On the other hand if you're the "shepherds" concerned for the spiritual well-being of the flock, then do you care about the snow shovels or letterhead?  Yes, the missions budget or length of worship service might still be a concern, but primarily as they impact souls.

 

However, I think in this discussion the term leadership refers to "planning" and setting the vision and direction of the church.  Whose responsibility is that?  Just the elders?  Elders and minister (evangelist)? Do deacons have a role in the decision making?  Do members have a voice?  What does the Bible say?  Romans 12:8 refers to the spiritual gift of leadership.  Is that only found within the eldership?  How do we allow others to exercise this gift?

 

Sorry if that's just a bunch of random thoughts that don't really address the initial question, but thanks for asking it.  If anyone finds an elders job description in 2 Titus somewhere, please share it with the group!

James Nored said:

Here is an interesting article on this subject of leadership that you raise.

Hi,

    " Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1"                                                                                                                                 A Very  Dearly Beloved Brother  a very Blessed greetings in the most matchless name of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, i deem  it as a great hounour to talk to you after a long time, i consider this back  as a divine connection from the lord after a long time, i was so blessed to see what you have been doing for the expansion of the kingdom of God and i was touched by it, i was in much prayer and intersession before i am writing to you this way, i  am praising Jesus for your zeal in serving him and also leading many into the lords kingdom by  preaching uncompromisingly the powerful word of the lord and making the bride ready for the coming king, i am pondered in my spirit when i prayed to hook up with you and work under your leadership for the glory of God here in India. please do let me know the way we can get in touch and do great things for Jesus, i am in much prayer in the spirit seeking  his face  for his divine leading, thank you once again for your toil for the mighty name of the lord,                                                                                          

Hi,

    " Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1"                                                                                                                                 A Very  Dearly Beloved Brother  a very Blessed greetings in the most matchless name of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, i deem  it as a great hounour to talk to you after a long time, i consider this back  as a divine connection from the lord after a long time, i was so blessed to see what you have been doing for the expansion of the kingdom of God and i was touched by it, i was in much prayer and intersession before i am writing to you this way, i  am praising Jesus for your zeal in serving him and also leading many into the lords kingdom by  preaching uncompromisingly the powerful word of the lord and making the bride ready for the coming king, i am pondered in my spirit when i prayed to hook up with you and work under your leadership for the glory of God here in India. please do let me know the way we can get in touch and do great things for Jesus, i am in much prayer in the spirit seeking  his face  for his divine leading, thank you once again for your toil for the mighty name of the lord,                                                                                          

Hi,

    " Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1"                                                                                                                                 A Very  Dearly Beloved Brother  a very Blessed greetings in the most matchless name of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, i deem  it as a great hounour to talk to you after a long time, i consider this back  as a divine connection from the lord after a long time, i was so blessed to see what you have been doing for the expansion of the kingdom of God and i was touched by it, i was in much prayer and intersession before i am writing to you this way, i  am praising Jesus for your zeal in serving him and also leading many into the lords kingdom by  preaching uncompromisingly the powerful word of the lord and making the bride ready for the coming king, i am pondered in my spirit when i prayed to hook up with you and work under your leadership for the glory of God here in India. please do let me know the way we can get in touch and do great things for Jesus, i am in much prayer in the spirit seeking  his face  for his divine leading, thank you once again for your toil for the mighty name of the lord,                                                                                          

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