Summary: What are church leaders called to do?
When you think about people you would like to see as a possible Elder and Deacon candidates in this church, what exactly are these men supposed to do?
Are church leaders supposed to run a church like a corporation? Do they sit in the ivory tower and rule on high?
Are the leaders called to be board members or is there something more. Are the leaders a group of men how sit in a room and vote for things or is there something more to being a church leader.
Last week we looked at what kind of qualities a leader in God’s church should possess, today we are going to look at the various ministries a leader in the church is called to do.
If the church will rise and fall with its leadership, it is important that not only the leadership knows what it is called to do, but the church also has an understanding of the calling of the leadership of God’s church.
Being a leader in God’s church is a tough job. It takes a lot of time, you are subject to a lot of criticism and you are called to deal with many uncomfortable situations.
You are trying to motivate and depend on people who are not drawing a pay check, but are volunteering to serve.
Leaders in God’s church are responsible for what goes on in God’s church. The leaders have to make financial decisions; they have to have a vision for the future as well as being willing to take people out of their comfort zones at times.
The focus of this message will deal with the various ministries an Elder in the church should be focused on.
As far as deacons are concerned, their position is one of a servant. The word means servant. They are not leaders in the same sense as an Elder; they are the ones who are called to deal with the physical needs of the church and the church body. The deacons do not have the responsibilities or the same authority the Elders have.
Let us look at four important ministries of an Elder in God’s church!
I. SELF-DEFENSE MINISTRY (ACTS 20:28)
When the Apostle Paul called the elders from the church at Ephesus to come meet with him in Miletus, he shared some things they needed to here.
In verse 28 of Acts 20 Paul tells the Elders the following: "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
One of the important ministries of an elder in God’s church is the ministry of self-defense.
I am not talking about getting your black-belt in karate or some other martial arts, but instead we are speaking of protecting yourself spiritually.
Paul encourages the elders to be on guard for themselves.
To guard means to attend to, to be cautious, and to keep watch.
Gareth Reese in his commentary on the book of Acts states: Elders are to be cautious, to give attention first of all to their own life and faith. Any leader has temptations peculiar to his position, and connected duties to his office. The faithful ministry of any elder must grow out of a faithful life. Hence the first concern must be to establish their own faith. (Gareth Reese, Acts Commentary, page 750, College Press Publishing, 1976)
Effective ministry is not mere outward activity; it is the overflow of a rich, deep relationship with God. (John MacArthur Jr. Acts Commentary)
We all, but especially leaders in God’s church need to give special attention to their faith. We all have weaknesses. If we let them go unprotected, it will cause is trouble in the long run. We have to do everything we can to protect ourselves from the traps Satan lays out for the leaders in God’s church.
Guarding ourselves is to be an active guarding, we are not to wait until we are attacked, we are to look for the enemy to come and stop him before he gets into our lives.
The way we can defend and protect ourselves is by reading God’s Word. We need to make sure we are accountable to one another; we need to make sure we are not afraid to share some of our struggles with sin with others we trust so that we can receive encouragement to be able to overcome what temps us.
We can protect ourselves with prayer. Have you ever been tempted and in the midst of the temptation, just called out for Satan to leave you alone? There is power in prayer.