“This is a sick world that hates leadership. Everybody thinks they should be able to text message the president and boss him around. It’s a weird day, from social networking to continual comments to consumerism. People don’t want to follow a leader, all they want to do is criticize a leader. They don’t want to even recognize leadership. And some Christians will even say, “I don’t believe in leadership.” Really? Do you believe in God? Because God’s in charge. So you’ve got to recognize at least one leader.”
(The Resurgence Blog: Every Team Needs a Leader).
Over the past few years I have been in conversations and received a bunch of emails from Christians about the topic of leadership in the church. Mainly from Christians trying to sell me about the need for no clear leadership or leaders in the church. Some have been from people who felt hurt or were disciplined by a church, some were from people who didn’t want anyone to tell them what to do or disciple them, and some, ironically, from church leaders.
One funny email declared that there is no command or example of leadership in the church in the New Testament. Another person was declaring that there was no formal leadership in the church using 1 Timothy 3. I found that odd because in 1 Timothy 3 it talks about the office of overseer and the qualifications to oversee the local church (v 1-7) as well as the qualifications and testing of people before they are allowed to become deacons in the church (v 8-13). Granted, there isn’t a handbook in the New Testament going into detail about these two offices, but it is clear that there was an established leadership structure within the local church in the first century at the times of the apostles.
The Resurgence blog Every Team Needs a Leader is well worth reading as it expounds on this subject. I have put two more excerpts from the blog below, but encourage the reader to go to the Resurgence link to get the full context and the full argument of its writer.
So this plays itself out in the government of a home. Mom, dad, the kids are equal, but dad’s supposed to lovingly, humbly, sacrificially lead. In the church, elders, members, deacons are equal but the elders are supposed to lead. In a community group, everybody’s equal, but the community group leader is supposed to lead. In a redemption group, everybody’s equal, but the redemption group leader is supposed to lead. On a worship team, everybody’s equal, but the team leader is to lead. In a serving team, everybody’s equal, but the team leader leads. So there are teams that have leaders, and leaders, according to ministry, they do doctrine: what do we believe and not believe? Direction: where are we going and not going? And discipline: what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior? That’s what a lot of leadership is: doctrine, direction, discipline…
So every team needs a leader. In this day when authority is jettisoned and leadership is despised, and everybody thinks that they’re smart, and everybody thinks that they should be obeyed. Everybody still believes in leadership, they just think that they should be the leader. So we have a day of complete anarchy. It’s like the days of the judges, everybody did what was right in their own eyes.