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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Myth of "Church Leadership"

Since early in the year I have been enjoying some great discussions with a good friend and brother in Christ, Lance King. Just recently he sent me a paper of his entitled, “Can Women Lead?”. From Galatians 3:28 Lance suggests that, in Christ, men and women are equal not only in worth, but also in opportunity and therefore women in the church should function in positions of leadership, may be in charge and may hold offices which have traditionally been limited to males.

As I considered Lance’s article and the scriptures which relate to the many facets of this discussion, I became more and more amazed as I noticed something that neither Lance nor I had anticipated. Rather than focussing on the differing gender perspectives, my mind was drawn to the larger question of leadership itself. While “church leadership” has always been a hot topic among Christians, while thousands of books, articles, sermons and seminars have been produced to address this subject and though hundreds of schools have been established for the specific purpose of equipping and training “church leaders”…I was astounded to discover that the Bible has nothing at all to say about mortal men or women becoming leaders in the church which Christ is building, or in any church in your community which may gather around him!

The Lord Jesus never called anyone to be a leader. He never attempted to train leaders, and never assigned any of his disciples the responsibilities of being church leaders!

Before you write me off as an “heretic” or “one who obviously has never read his Bible”, I would simply challenge you to spend a few minutes with your own Bible and a concordance. See if you can find the Lord Jesus or the apostles ever addressing the subject of “leadership” being entrusted to mortal men or women in the church.(Look up all the words “lead”, “leadeth”, “leading”, “led”, “leader”, “leaders”, “leadership” etc)

Then look up words of similar meaning such as “guide”, “guides”, “guidance” and “direct”, “direction”, “directors”.

Then see if the Lord Jesus equips any mortal to be “Lord”, “Dominie”, “Reverend”, “Master” or “Rabbi”.

You will soon discover that only God is qualified to be Leader, Lord, Master or Guide of His blood bought people, the church! That position has already been filled and God is not taking any more applications!! The head is the only leader in a body and all body members are followers of the head. The Body of Christ already has a head and anyone seeking to be a leader in His church is usurping the place of Christ!

Contrary to popular opinion, rather than calling “leaders” and training them how to “manage” their followers the Lord Jesus rather called disciples to follow Him, trained them in following and sent them out as followers who would direct others to follow Him! His followers were never to take “positions of leadership”, “hold offices”, “take charge” of the flock or train others for such tasks. They were rather to enlist more followers of Jesus, train them to listen to Him, obey Him and to teach others to do the same!

As I read my Bible, it seems clear that there are some tasks in the church which God has assigned exclusively to males (i.e. elders of churches, among other things, must be husbands of one wife) and other tasks which He has assigned exclusively to females (i.e. older women are to teach younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home etc). But no gender-specific task has to do with leadership! They have to do with responsibilities of followers of the Lord Jesus.

There are no restrictions by way of age, ability, gift, race or gender upon those who would be the greatest or the best followers. May each one of us who belong to Christ be more diligent than ever before to be followers of the Lamb!

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