Summary: A look at the neccesity of having Christ-centered leaders who lead by example.
SERIES: “GOD-GIVEN GUIDELINES FOR GROWING A GREAT CHURCH”
(Based on Bob Russel’s When God Builds a Church)
TEXT: 1 PETER 5:1-4
TITLE: Guideline #3: “HAVE CHRIST-CENTERED LEADERSWHO LIVE BY EXAMPLE"
INTRODUCTION: A. Tom Landry was head coach for the Dallas Cowboys for almost 30 years. The
USA TODAY headline that announced his death in the year 2000 read: “Landry’s
Death Leaves Texas-Size Legacy.”
The Cowboy’s personnel director said, “He was a man of substance who knew
what his priorities were in life.” Landry told people: “Football is down the list with
me. My religion comes first. My wife comes second. Then football.”
Tom Landry was tremendously successful as the Cowboys head coach. One
commentator said, “Landry’s legacy is far more than that as the NFL’s third-
winningest coach. It is more than two Super Bowl triumphs. We remember him for
what he stood for as a person. Decency. Dignity. Honesty. Loyalty. Go ahead – try
to find a Tom Landry in the NFL these days.”
Landry was once asked how he dealt with setbacks. He answered, “I suffer after
losses, but fortunately do recover quickly. My relationship with Christ gives me a
source of power I would not have otherwise.”
Tom Landry provided the significant leadership he did through strength of
character and faith with his priorities intact. He knew that football was just a game
and that integrity mattered on the field and off. As former Cowboy Drew Pierson
said, “Landry was a teacher. He taught a lot more than football.”
B. Over the last several years, I have spent a considerable amount of time studying
churches that are growing.
1. Some experience a big boom and then a big bust.
2. The ones that have grown and keep growing are the ones I’ve continued to study.
3. The guidelines you’ve heard me speaking about are the principles that are
consistent in every congregation that is growing spiritually and physically
--Amazingly, all these guidelines are the same ones that are given to us in the New
Testament and implemented in the 1st Century church.
4. This morning’s guideline concerning Christ-centered leadership is the guideline that
makes all the others work.
a. You can implement every other guideline except this one and the guidelines will
b. Studying congregations the way I do, I see a desperate need for good leadership
in most churches.
c. In fact, one of the Christian publishing houses recently concluded that the
greatest need in Christian churches in America is the need for leadership.
5. Too often we look for gimmicks, programs, and ideas that will make our church
grow, while God is looking for consecration and genuine commitment among the
C. Our text this morning speaks only about elders.
1. However, as I read the New Testament and its God-given plan for the church, the
same general principles apply to leaders all around.
2. Whether you know it or not, YOU are a leader
a. Someone is watching you and learning from you.
b. It could be a child, a grandchild, a co-worker, a neighbor, or anyone else
--Your life is leading someone in a direction whether good or bad
C. Bill Hybels makes a very important observation:
When God wanted His people delivered from an oppressive Pharaoh, He used a
leader named Moses. When He needed Jerusalem’s wall rebuilt, He used a leader
named Nehemiah. When He wanted His people to experience a golden era, He used a
leader named David. When He wanted to build a temple, He used a leader named
Solomon. When He needed a statesman-prophet, He used a leader named Isaiah. And
when He needed a fearless church planter, He used a leader named Paul.
Throughout history, whenever God has needed someone to initiate, organize, and
carry out an important project, He has called upon leaders. And since His priority
from Pentecost to today has been to build a redemptive community that would flourish
in the midst of a resistant culture, it makes sense that He would turn to leaders again.
After all, who’s going to cast the vision of or creatively imagine the future for a
biblically functioning community? Who’s going to uphold the value of prayer, make
sure the sacraments are honored, and insist that spiritual gifts are in use throughout the
church” Who’s going to coordinate ministries, establish small-group structure, lift
high the importance of worship, and inspire the church to reach out to spiritually lost
D. To be a great church, we have to have Christ-centered leadership.
1. We have to develop leaders that will guide this congregation for a long time.
2. We need leaders who are sold-out for the cause of Christ
3. We need leaders who are deeply respected by all who know them
4. We need leaders who are committed to making this congregation a church built on