Summary: In this sermon, we look at two passages that describe Paul's leadership, and then we glean leadership principles from them.
A. The story is told of a tribe of Native Americans who came to their Chief one autumn and asked him if the winter was going to be cold or not.
1. Not really knowing for sure how cold the winter would be, the chief replied that the winter was going to be cold and that the members of the village needed to collect wood to be prepared.
2. Being a good leader, the chief went ahead and called the National Weather Service and asked, “How cold is this winter going to be?”
3. The National Weather Service representative said, “This winter is going to be very cold.”
4. So the Chief went back to his people and encouraged them to collect even more wood to be prepared.”
5. One week later the Chief called the National Weather Service again and asked, “Is this winter going to be a very cold winter?”
6. “Yes,” the representative replied, “it’s actually going to be a very, very cold winter.”
7. So the Chief went back to his people and impressed on them the need to find every scrap of wood they could find.
8. Two weeks later the Chief called the National Weather Service again and asked, “Are you absolutely sure, that the winter is going to be very, very cold?”
9. “Absolutely,” the representative replied, “even colder than we thought because the Native Americans are collecting wood like crazy!”
B. This story raises the question of leadership: Who is leading who?
1. Are the leaders truly leading the followers? Or are the followers leading the leaders?
a. Does the dog wag the tail, or does the tail wag the dog?
2. One of the simplest definitions of leadership is this: leadership is influence.
3. And because all of us have influence, all of us are leaders to one degree or another.
4. You and I are leaders to the degree that we influence others, either for good or for evil.
C. One of the greatest biblical leaders of all time is the Apostle Paul.
1. Today, as we continue our study of the life of Paul, I want us to focus on his example of leadership.
2. Paul encouraged the Christians he led to follow him as he followed Christ, and that is an excellent model for leadership.
3. My hope for today’s study is that we can learn to lead like Paul led.
4. Today, the format for our study of Paul’s leadership will come from two passages of Scripture.
a. We will look at Paul’s last meeting with the Ephesian elders, and his final words to them.
b. And we will look at something Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica as he reminded them of the way he ministered among them.
5. Let’s read both passages and give a little background about each and then let’s point out the leadership principles of Paul that we can glean from the two passages.
I. Paul’s Leadership Passages.
A. The first passage that reveals the principles of Paul’s leadership is Acts 20:13-38.
1. 13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.