Summary: The New Testament pattern for church leadership is not personnel committees, democracy, influential families in the church, or hierarchies. It is simply a group of men known as elders who study and seek to follow God’s Word.
Simple Leadership: Elders
1. We usually think of authority issues when it comes to parents and teens.
2. One teen recently blogged, “Today, my mom screeched at me about my pillowcase being dirty and finished off one long rant with an irate "Who raised you to be such a pig?" Her anger multiplied by ten when I asked if it was a trick question.”
3. Authority issues are a rough spot in most churches; ours has been no exception.
4. Yet God has ordained a very simple structure for church leadership.
Main Idea: The New Testament pattern for church leadership is not personnel committees, democracy, influential families in the church, or hierarchies. It is simply a group of men known as elders who study and seek to follow God’s Word.
I. SPECIAL Honor to Elders (17-18)
A. All Elders are to be RESPECTED (17a)
1. Temptation to view those in authority as OBSTACLES or out of TOUCH
2. Disrespect: an old church tradition, even the APOSTLES!
3. Elders must be involved with and NURTURE relationships (shepherds)
4. CONTEMPT is the opposite of respect
5. Goal: Pray for them and seek to make their job JOYFUL
Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
B. Preaching/Teaching Elders are to be DOUBLE honored (17b-18)
1. TIMOTHY perhaps the main preaching/teaching elder (2 Timothy 4:2)
2. Letter written to Timothy in theory, but really to the CHURCH at Ephesus
3. An allusion to FINANCIAL support (cf. I Timothy 5:3)
4. Illustrated by the TORAH and JESUS
2 Timothy 2:42, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching…”
2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
• The Christian life is not only about the Gospel or following Golden Rule; we want to conform to God’s will in every area, a reason our Bibles are so thick.
• Some things are more important than others, but all Scripture is inspired, all Scripture is profitable, and we need all Scripture to be complete (2 Tim. 3:16)
• Therefore, we need to hear the Bible preached/taught, not just alluded to.
C. This suggests preaching/teaching is the most CRUCIAL ministry
Application: In all relationships, respect breeds harmony and unity, disrespect or suspicion breeds conflict and misunderstanding.
II. Special ACCOUNTABILITY of Elders (19-21)
A. The most important job of an elder is to be an EXAMPLE
1. Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
2. Elders pray for and help shepherd Jesus’ flock, so they are crucial to a loving church. Our board spends the first hour of meetings in prayer for our flock