New Testament Leadership – Author Lloyd Crooks

 

Let us look the difference between institutional leadership and the type leadership in the church in Pauls day.

Act 23:2  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.

Act 23:3  Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?

Act 23:4  And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?

Act 23:5  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

Notice, the danger of a hierarchal structure, position based leadership, is that there was no moral accountability, he was empowered by his position in the organisation without a demand on morality or character.

Notice how Paul relates to him, by his position and office rather than him personally, which, as can be seen, demonstrates the abuse of the position by the High Priest.

The other thing we notice is that the High Priest commanded Paul to be struck, this is the natural order when one works out of positional and hierarchical leadership.

In contrast look how Paul the Apostle speaks to the brethren. Not once does Paul speak from the authority of his ministry as an Apostle.,

Rom_12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

1Co_1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Eph_4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

1Th_4:1  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

 

The term command is very rarely used by Paul the Apostle we notice the term exhort

2Co_9:5  Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

1Th_4:1  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

Notice the Apostle doesn’t use his office to command, but operates on a basis of relationship, with an understanding that we are all under the leadership of Christ.

Jesus states quite clearly the church should not model itself on a hierarchical basis which is after the world.

Mat 20:25  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

Mat 20:26  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

Mat 20:27  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Mat 20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

 

The term exercise dominion  literally means katakurieuō to lord against, that is, control, subjugate: – exercise dominion over (lordship), be lord over, overcome.

The term exercise authority katexousiazō to have (wield) full privilege over: – exercise authority.

This type of leadership, which is modelled by the world, should never be seen in the Church.

Let us see a similar situation but let us note how the apostles relate to each other.

 

Gal 2:11  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

Gal 2:12  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

Gal 2:13  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

Gal 2:14  But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

 

Note how Paul is relating to Peter. In one sense Peter is a senior apostle but he doesn’t fear him because they are brothers. Look how Paul and Peter speak about each other.

(2Pe 3:15)  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

 

Gal 2:7  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

Gal 2:8  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

Gal 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

 

Notice when Paul speaks about Peter, James and John he never refers to them by office or title but brothers.

In fact, nowhere in scripture is the term office or position mentioned.

Let us therefore look into a scripture commonly used to justify the use of an office.

1Ti 3:1  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. KJV

1Ti 3:1  πιστος ο λογος ει τις επισκοπης ορεγεται καλου εργου επιθυμει

 

1Ti 3:1  Faithful is the Word: If anyone reaches out to overseership, he desires a good work.

 Literal Translation Version

 

The term office is not in the original and the focus is on the work not the position

Let us look at some other scriptures.

Act_13:2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

 2Ti_4:5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

 Eph_4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

 

Ministry is a verb and not a noun

The structure of the church is interrelated by gifting’s and anointing to discharge God’s calling.

Look at the local church and the development of ministry from the book at Acts.

We initially see the Apostles, then a development of disciples which leads to the

appointment of ministers to serve the church.

 

(Act 6:3)  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

 

Then we see the ministry of the Evangelist as personified in Phillip. We also notice

the flexibility and sensitivity of the Church to the Spirit.

Phillip was appointed by the apostles to serve the local church at Jerusalem. But yet he finds himself preaching in Samaria – he was not locked into Jerusalem or his ministry.

The Church in Jerusalem was mature enough to recognise the call on Phillips life.

 

The next stage is the role of Prophets and teachers

 

Act_11:27  And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

Act_13:1  Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

The next development is the ordination of Elders in the Church

Act_14:23  And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Act_15:2  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Act_15:4  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

Act_15:6  And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

 

We notice the link between the Apostles and Elders. The Apostles establish

Churches in areas which have not heard the gospel, then after establishing a church those who were mature in the faith would be appointed Elders.

 

Notice the role of the Elders who where local leaders

 Act 20:17  And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Act 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

 

Notice Paul is speaking to Elders in this passage, the term overseer relates to the work of oversight episkopos the term feed  ποιμαίνω to tend as a shepherd which relates to pastoral work.

Now out of this one passage which the New Testament sees episkopos and Poimaino as works or ministry, —– the modern church has created offices such as positions of pastor and Bishop.

 

Elders

In fact the duties of the elder is best exemplified by the following scripture:

1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

The qualifications are Tit 1:5  For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Tit 1:6  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

Tit 1:7  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

Tit 1:8  But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

 

Notice that the focus of the qualification of an Elder is his character his home life and  the only gift mentioned is teaching. Now for the church to appoint such a one would mean that they knew him and his family well. Remember they went from house to house breaking bread and having fellowship.

 

This was not a two meeting a week at a building, but a real relationship and fellowship.

To day some of us may have a closer relationship with their workmates than with those who we spend time with for two hours on a Sunday.

I was driving to work thinking about gifted ministry and the thought came to me of denominational apostles versus God called Apostles in fact this can go for the whole of recognised ministry. Let us look at the differences.

 

Apostle

God calls Apostles primarily go into areas where the gospels is not known they are building Christs church and recognise that his Church is established where the gospel has never been.

Rom_15:20  Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

1Co_3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

1Co_3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

Denominational Apostle  

 These are ordained by the denomination to support and establish the denominations Doctrine practice and polity. Let me give you an example…. a denominational

Apostle will go into an area with say five churches which believe the Bible and seek to  live godly lives and on the fundamentals of the faith, there may be very little

difference in belief, but he seeks to establish a church in that area. You see the difference with Kingdom building and denominational building.

 

Evangelist

 The embodiment of an Evangelist is Phillip they are not limited to a local church Phillip was a minister initially to serve the Church in Jerusalem but the Lord led him to Samaria.

Act 8:5  Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Act 8:6  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

Act 8:7  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

 

The transition from local church to preaching the Kingdom to those areas which had not heard the Gospel.

The key signs of a God called Evangelist are the following:

  • Preached Christ
  • Miracles
  • Healing
  • Casting out of demons
  • Preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God
  • Baptizing

 

 Prophets

 The primary role in the local Church is to encourage and strengthen the brethren

Act_15:32  And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

Act 13:1  Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Act 13:2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

We also see how the prophet was recognised by the local church not in terms of a set position but by gifting also notice their key role in setting forth the Apostle.

 

Act 13:2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Act 13:3  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Act 13:4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

 1Co 14:3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

 

 The order of the Prophets operating in the church as follows

 (1Co 14:29)  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

(1Co 14:30)  If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

(1Co 14:31)  For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

 (1Co 14:32)  And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

 

We also notice that the prophets did not offer a directive word i.e telling people what to do 

Look at the prophesies of Agabus.

Act_11:28  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

 

Notice that when he prophesied he did not tell the Church what to do but what would happen.

Look at another prophesy from Agabus concerning Paul the Apostle notice all he speaks about is the future not to give direction.

(Act 21:10)  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

(Act 21:11)  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

“The reason being that every believer has open access to the presence of God and is responsible to know God for himself”

 

Pastor who teaches

 As stated before the local church leadership consists of Elders who function in the work of

pastoral oversight. The primary role of the elders are as follows:

1Ti_3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

2Ti_2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

 

We see the primary gifting of an Elder with pastoral/oversight is teaching. Pastors who do not have the ability to teach are not pastors in the biblical sense.

With regard to the pastoral duties they are best exemplified in the following scripture:

1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

 

We see how the Elder and the epispiko otherwise known as Bishop is one and same:

Tit 1:5  For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Tit 1:6  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

Tit 1:7  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

Tit 1:8  But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

 

 Comments

 

Lloyd Crooks brings us challenging insight into the biblical model of leadership which is nothing like the worlds form of leadership. Take a fresh look at the words of Jesus “It shall not be so amongst you” Matthew 20:26. Jesus rarely uses such a strong term as this in the gospel records. He uses it for good reason and it warns us that He has given clear guidance on the leadership that exists for His bride.

 

If you love our Lord you will consider carefully how he wants us to relate to brothers and sisters.

 

We are looking forward to more from Lloyd Crooks at gatheringsaints.

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