Being a leader is not a position of hierarchy, control, importance, or an elevation of importance over others. Being a leader is a role of responsibility for the sake of those that God has given you to lead. Leadership is a gift to the body, not a position to be served. It is a responsibly that is given to those who have a grace to lead for the sake of serving God’s will and purpose in a body of believers. The apostle Paul gave specific instructions to those who serve as overseers in the body of Christ.
Acts 20:28-32 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to 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. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
It is the Holy Spirit that qualifies leaders. Leadership is a grace given by God to shepherd the church. The heart of a shepherd is the heart of a sheep, since their first role is one of a sheep to the Chief Shepherd and a sheep to others in authority who are sent representatives of Jesus in the flesh. If a leader cannot be a sheep, they cannot serve the flock with a shepherd’s heart. To be a good leader, one must first be a good follower. There are no independent shepherds in the body of Christ. True shepherds are dependent upon the voice of the Chief Shepherd wherever His voice can be heart. This means that true overseers are connected to the voice of God in the expression of others. They are not meat eaters! They do not see leadership as something that gives them their identity. They find their identity in Christ and thus they lead with security in their hearts. They seek to give life to others, not to take it. Wolves are people who see others as a means of satisfying their own personal needs in some way. Leadership is not a position of finding one’s needs satisfied by those they lead. They find their needs met in God their Father and thus they lead others in a way that connects them to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. An overseer must seek to guard the flock of God from those who would seek to take advantage of them for their own personal gain. This means they must guard their own hearts towards becoming leaders who lead do in the world. Worldly leaders lead to be served, while leadership on the kingdom of God is the role of a servant to the Father’s will and a servant to assist those they lead in connecting to God in their own lives.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Members on the church must recognize those who have been sent into their lives as representatives of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Leaders have a responsibility of shepherding the flock and it is important that everyone works together to prevent any hindrance of the Spirit in this task. Church members must be at peace with their leaders and with one another. Leaders must be at peace with the members of the congregation and with other sent authority in their own lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Shepherd’s rule with a rod of iron. That means, they are uncompromising in the character, nature, way, power, and authority of Christ. They serve metaphorically as overlays to the things that are natural carnal objectives of human will. They crush things that are lifeless and false as examples in who they are and in the way of their lives. They serve the will of God in bringing the people to God as their Father, even as Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, gave His own life in asking for the nations for the glory of His Father’s name.
Revelation 2:26-28 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations– ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter’s vessels shall be broken to pieces’–as I also have received from My Father; “and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Psalms 2:8-9 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ “
God does not break us! He breaks the things that prevent us from becoming who we were meant to be in Christ. We lost our lives to truly save them. We laid them down to find them in Christ. As leaders who serve as overseers in the church of God we must lead to see everyone find their true life in Christ. We must stand as shepherds in the responsibility of leading people into the path of purpose and destiny in Christ.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson