What does a leader in God’s church do?
This is an important question for the church. It helps the church know what to expect in a leader and what kind of leader they should be looking for. And it is an important question for the leader as well. There are so many different things we as leaders can be doing that it is easy to become distracted and lose sight of exactly what we should be doing.
It helps me to regularly go back to the Scriptures and look at what it describes leaders as doing and what it tells leaders to do.
Here are 25 different passages to think through with some categories to describe the specific tasks, with the responsibilities that are repeated in bold print.
1. Acts 6
While this passage describes the work of the twelve, at this point, they seem to be functioning a bit like elders in a local church.
Administrate: They came up with plans to serve and care for the needy. They saw a potential problem in the church and came up with a plan to help resolve conflicts that had arisen in the church.
Leadership Development: They helped identify gifted men to serve the church.
Praying and Teaching: They made sacrifices in order to devote themselves to the ministry of the word and prayer.
2. Acts 11:28-30
This is the first actual mention of elders in the book of Acts.
Administrate: These elders were representing needy believers in handling and I assume administrating of the finances that were given for their good.
3. Acts 15
Here the elders are functioning as a team with apostles
Protect: These elders are involved in examining theological issues,discussing and debating doctrine, giving instruction on theological matters and helping resolve doctrinal debates. Doing this well will require intense study of God’s Word on a regular basis.
4. Acts 20:17-38
Paul is giving instruction to elders on the basis of his own ministry to them.
Shepherd: He is to with the people on a regular basis. He spends time with them. He knows them. He is emotionally involved in their lives.
Suffer: He suffers for the advancement of the truth. He serves God in suffering.
Teach: He courageously teaches the truth. He teaches God’s Word publicly and he is engaged in private in home instruction of God’s Word. He declares the whole purpose of God.
Evangelize: He tells people who don’t know about Jesus the gospel and call on them to respond. He does this with great earnestness and care. He is reaching out to the lost.
Protect: He guards believers from error. He protects God’s people from false teachers who arise within the church. To do this, he has to know what is going on in people’s lives, he has to be alert to danger, he has to know the truth well enough that he can spot error, and he has to develop endurance. He needs to be a good counselor who can help people understand when they are wrong.
5. Acts 21:17ff
Lead in Missionary Efforts: They listen to reports of missionaries and give spiritual and practical direction for the benefit of the congregation.
6. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Lead: They have charge over people in the Lord which must mean at the very least that they are helping the congregation obey God in specific areas of life.
Teach: They give instruction which means they must study and know God’s Word and be able to counsel the congregation.
7. 1 Timothy 1:3-7
Protect: They are to stop people from teaching the church wrong ideas. They are to keep the church from falling into the trap of just speculating and arguing instead of serving God and seeking to advance the cause of Christ.
Teach: They are to teach people so that their lives will be changed from the inside out. This means they must study and know God’s Word, be able to instruct, exhort and also to be able to tell people when they are doing wrong. They need to be actively involved in discipleship of others.
8. 1 Timothy 1:18-19
Pursue Spiritual Growth: They are to believe the truth, stay true to the gospel, stay holy. They are to daily be discipling themselves for the purpose of godliness.
9. 1 Timothy 3:1ff
Model: They are to be a man of godly character. They are to be a man that the congregation can look to in order to see how to follow Christ on a daily basis.
Disciple Family: They are to manage their own household well.
Administrate: They are take care of the church of God.
Develop Relationships: As far as possible they are to maintain a good reputation in community.
10. 1 Timothy 4:8ff
Teach: They are to point out truth to believers. They are to prescribe and teach Word of God.
Model: They are to be an example to other believers in the areas Paul describes.
Administrate: They are to plan and lead corporate gatherings. They are to give attention to reading Scripture, teaching Scripture and exhorting believers from the Scripture.
Pursue Spiritual Growth:They are to take pains with being godly and show everyone what it looks like to grow spiritually. They need to be with the people enough that the people will know how they are doing spiritually. This also means they must pay close attention to their own spiritual condition and pay close attention to their teaching to make sure it is biblical. They can’t just do this once, they must be doing this day in and day out.
Disciple: They are to work with different individuals in the church differently depending on their position.
Administrate: They help church administrate care for needy, specifically widows.
11. 1 Timothy 5:17ff
Lead: They are to guide the church somewhere.
Teach: They are to work hard at preaching and teaching.
Disciple: They are acknowledge and set aside appropriate men for the work of the ministry.
Pursue Spiritual Growth: They are to keep themselves free from sin.
12. 1 Timothy 6:10-14
Pursue Spiritual Growth: Specifically, they must actively flee greed and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
13. 1 Timothy 6:17ff
Teach and Counsel: They are to instruct the rich.
Protect: They are to guard what has been entrusted to them and to the church.
14. 2 Timothy 1:6ff
Pursue Spiritual Growth: They are to keep spiritual gift alive and maintain it.
15. 2 Timothy 2:2ff
Disciple and Develop Leaders: They are to take what they have learned from the Scriptures and train other men to be able to train other men in the Scriptures
Pursue Spiritual Growth: They must allow the things of the world to distract them from their main purpose.
16. 2 Timothy 2:15ff
Teach and Counsel: They are to remind people of the truth. They are to accurately handle the word of truth which requires study and care.
Protect: They are to be serious about telling people not to have foolish arguments.
Pursue Spiritual Growth: They are to avoid worldly and empty chatter, cleanse themselves from silly arguments and flee youthful lusts.
17. 2 Timothy 3:14
Pursue Spiritual Growth: They are to continue in the truth and work at growing in their knowledge.
18. 2 Timothy 4:1ff
Teach: They are to preach the word.They are to reprove, rebuke, exhort, be patient and instruct. They are keep doing what is right even when it is hard and refuse to compromise and do the work of an evangelist.
19. Titus 1:9,10
Protect: They are to hold fast to the truth, to exhort in the truth and refute those who contradict the truth. This means they must be working at knowing the truth, being able to communicate the truth and must have a deep concern for the truth.
20. Titus 2:1/3:1
Disciple: They are to help the congregation understand how to live in a way that matches what they say they believe. This requires that they develop relationships with people in the congregation.
21. Titus 2:7
Model: They are to be an example of good deeds. They are to be around people enough that they can see your life and actively seek to do good.
22. Titus 3:10
Protect: They are to deal with people who are factious.
23. Hebrews 13:17
Shepherd: They are to keep watch over people’s souls. This of course requires that they get to know people so they understand where they are at spiritually and how they need to grow.
24. James 5:14
Pray: They are to visit and pray for the sick.
25. 1 Peter 5:1ff
Shepherd: They are to shepherd the flock, exercising voluntary oversight eagerly according to the will of God for the good of the people.
Model: They are to prove to be an example.