Summary: This message presents an overview of the types of leaders that God wants for the church.
George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “Some people see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not?” Many churches across America are in desperate need of visionary leadership. Leaders who refuse to settle for the way things are and are willing to press on toward something better. The church needs leadership that is anticipatory rather than reactionary. We desperately need leaders who are constantly driving beyond their headlights, with the desire to connect with and reach our ever changing culture. Casting vision to others is tough because most people will not get on board until they see the boat. So the challenge is to cast a vision in a way that people can take ownership of it. Once we catch the vision God will use it to cause us to commit our time, talents and treasures to the cause. This series was designed not only to challenge our concepts of leadership within the church but to build a desire to ditch the status quo in favor of a healthier and more Biblical pattern. Today we are going to tie the last four messages together and work toward developing a new and exciting vision for the future of the church.
I. Elders who are shepherds rather than decision makers.
A. Today’s church needs shepherds, who nurture, equip and empower people for ministry.
1. These are men who take Jesus’ challenge to Peter very seriously.
2. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” (John 21:15-16—NIV)
3. Jesus himself is the Good Shepherd, and now he commissions Peter to care for the flock that belongs to Jesus, for they are my lambs … my sheep.
4. This is a charge that Peter accepts and follows for the rest of his life as evidenced by 1 Peter 5.
5. Peter’s task (and the task of a church elder/pastor) is more than just saving the lost. It includes nurturing the saved.
B. The church needs shepherds who help give the people the tools and the training that they need to effectively minister in the church.
1. Congregations usually take on the priorities of their leadership.
2. A leadership that reaches out to the community will more often than not build a church that reaches out to the community.
3. When we chose men to shepherd we need to make sure that we chose those men who will mentor and equip people to use their lives to honor God.
4. Leaders must remember that they are not in front of others to make an impression on them. They are not seeking to draw attention to themselves. Their purpose is to serve God and to help His people learn to do the same.
5. When a leader works for God without the thought of reward, they demonstrate their suitability to be leader.
II. Leaders who are actively leading ministries in the church.
A. Teamwork is the key to success in the local church.
1. If the elder’s time is consumed by shepherding, how is he going to have time to oversee all the different ministries in the church?
2. The Jerusalem Christian community had witnessed considerable growth; and as is so often the case with rapid increase, administrative problems developed.
3. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:2-4—NIV)
4. Often the present passage is seen to be the initiation of the diaconate. The word “deacon” (diakonos) never occurs in the passage. The word “ministry” (diakonia) does occur several times
5. Shepherding, mentoring and equipping are full-time jobs and to effectively accomplish these tasks the other ministry tasks of the church need to be delegated to other qualified individuals.
B. Every Christian may not be called to Shepherd but every Christian is called to ministry.
1. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13—The Message)