219. LANGUISHING LEADERSHIP
(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)
For the past few weeks, if not months, I’ve been hearing the topic of leadership (as it pertains to Churches), being raised, over and over again, from different Christian preachers and teachers, in different forums. When I heard it again for what seemed like the umpteenth time, on the Harbour Light Radio and again on the weekly Monday night zoom meeting that I attend and then again through other Christian mediums, I wondered to myself (as I often do when the Lord seems to be raising a topic repeatedly), why the issue of leadership was coming to my attention so frequently and why I kept hearing about it so often lately.
Did God want me to write about it? I wasn’t sure.
When it comes to Articles, I don’t usually just write material for writing sake or because I know a topic to be important. What I do, is that I usually wait until God places something on my heart to write, as when he does, the issue burns so much in my heart and I am flooded with so much that I want to write, that I usually have to drop whatever I’m doing, find my computer and start typing, just in case I forget certain salient points that come to mind.
When the Lord wants me to write on a topic, he usually gives me the passion to write it and guides me through the process, so that I usually write quickly and effortlessly, not really in my own might or power but by the help of his spirit, the information coming to my mind sometimes even quicker than I can type. As I type, the Spirit also brings to my recollection, key verses that are applicable to the points raised and thankfully, given that I don’t generally know exactly where the scripture
I didn’t really feel called to write about leadership and I generally stay clear from topics that, even if important, I don’t feel that God has led me to write about. I know that he has other Christian soldiers on the field and therefore, that he has led other people to write on the topics that he has not called me to write on and even on some that he has called me to write on.
I therefore forgot about the whole leadership issue, until it came up again at a Christian meeting that I attended on 17th February, 2022. Although I didn’t feel led in those moments prior to write an Article on leadership and so refrained from doing so, when I heard the issue raised again at that forum, after I left and went home, the issue burned on my heart and immediately, the term ‘languishing leadership’ came to mind.
I knew then, that I would most likely end up writing something about it with this very topic but waited until God provided guidance and the drive to write, as he usually does. Needless to say, a few days later, as I read the Word of God in my morning devotions, the very last verse of the very last chapter in Judges (which I happened to randomly turn to and read that morning), stood out in such a way to me, that I knew exactly what I needed to write on.
The verse read:
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
I had a general idea what I would write on but I did not get to it right away. For some reason, I was still reluctant. However, shortly thereafter, while doing something else, the issue of leadership came to my mind again, along with the topic. I decided to stop what I was doing, opened up a page and started to type. I intended to just put points down and return at a later time to write but as has happened with many of the Articles on this page, the few points quickly turned into an entire Article. Before I knew it, the Article was written with the exception of a few areas that needed tweaking and fine-tuning.
The sub-headings of the Article (below) are as follows:
- (i) Languishing Leadership – Introduction
- (ii) Leadership in the Churches Today
- (iii) How Poor, Bad, Illegitimate Or Non-Existent Leadership Impacts On The Church
- (iv) What The Word Of God Says About Bad, Poor, Non-existent Or Illegitimate Leadership
- (v) Biblical Requirements For Good, Effective, God-Approved Leadership In The Church
Except for some paragraphs that I’ve subsequently added and tweaks that I’ve made here and there, this is what I wrote:
If you have a poor leader in the home, it affects everybody in that home. If you have poor leaders in a nation, it affects everybody in that nation. If you have poor leadership in the Church, it affects all the members who attend that Church and undermines the impact that that Church could have had otherwise, on society, for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom agenda.
In the scriptures, bad leadership of nations, like Israel, for example, led to people being affected and sometimes, even completely wiped out. When Israel and Judah had ungodly Kings for example, like Ahab and Manasseh, they made unwise and ungodly decisions and often times, the people were led astray, turned away from God, embraced idolatry and ultimately were punished by God.
The bad leadership of Nabal, almost resulted in his whole household, including his servants being wiped out by David, had Abigail, his wife, a woman of good understanding, not intervened.
Poor leaders over the daughters of Lot, who were married to ungodly men from Sodom and Gomorrah, led to the destruction of those men, along with those daughters of Lot. For, although their husbands received warning in advance of pending judgment and were given the opportunity to flee, in unbelief, they laughed at Lot their father-in-law and chose to remain in Sodom and Gomorrah, to the detriment of themselves and the daughters of Lot who were married to them. Only Lot, his wife (who subsequently turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back while fleeing) and his unmarried daughters, escaped.
There is also the question of whether Lot himself demonstrated poor leadership, in choosing to make his abode and set up his family in an ungodly place like Sodom and Gomorrah, simply because he saw that it was well-watered and therefore seemed like a place to thrive and prosper.
As a result of Aaron’s poor leadership (although he was quite articulate), when Moses was regarded by the Israelites as taking too long to return from the mount where he had gone to spend time with God, he gave in to the sinful demands of the people and made them an idol to worship (Exodus 32:1-6). If nothing else, this demonstrates that being eloquent and articulate and having the ability to charm people with one’s speech, does not necessarily equate with good leadership.
As a result of Eli’s poor leadership in his home, although he occupied the position of priest over Israel, he did not properly order his house aright like the Lord prophesied that Abraham would do. Instead, he put his love for his sons, who did not know God and had no relationship with him, ahead of God’s honour, allowing them to do as they pleased, although he knew that their actions dishonoured God.
The Word of God in 1 Timothy 3:5 rings true in this circumstance, where it states, “(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”
As a result of Eli’s poor leadership over his family, God brought judgment on his entire house.
By contrast, in Genesis 18:19, God prophesied of Abraham, who he had purposed to make a great nation out of, that he would exercise good leadership. In words of commendation, God stated: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.”
These examples of men in the Bible, who (with the exception of Abraham), exhibited poor leadership, highlight the fact that:
- (1) The man that we, as women, agree to marry and therefore put over us to lead in the home is very important;
- (2) Who a nation elects to preside over it and to govern its affairs is very important;
- (3) Who a Church appoints into leadership positions such as Elder/Pastor and Deacon is very important; and
- (4) The quality of leadership at a Church you may wish to attend is very important. For, if the leadership is poor, bad or non-existent, this is something to consider in terms of whether you should fellowship there.
The issue of putting people into leadership, whether at the family, national or Church level is very important, as poor or bad leadership, affects everyone under that leadership and yields adverse consequences.
Leadership is poor, bad, non-existent or illegitimate for example:
- ONE – Where the persons in leadership have occupied positions, when God has not authorized them to do so or has not called them to occupy such positions (e.g. two men or two women claiming to be ‘married’ or in a ‘relationship’ and raising children in a home or Jezebel in the Old Testament, who, although not an Israelite, was married to King Ahab and was allowed to illegitimately usurp his authority); OR
- TWO – Where the leadership is wicked, corrupt, has ulterior motives for being in the leadership, like enriching self, gaining power, influence and recognition for self or lording over people because of a love of control and being in charge (like a dictator); OR
- THREE – Where the leadership is only there because people expect them to be and they consider it their duty but not really because they want to be there or meet the criteria to be there. Contrary to the Word of God, they therefore lead by constraint, meaning unwillingly because it is expected of them and to appease the people; OR
- FOUR – Where the leaders are all about pleasing the people and not God, them being willing to compromise and twist the Word to do so, serving people a false or watered-down message because it is what the people want to hear or withholding truth from them, refusing to warn them and burying their heads like an ostrich in the sand because they don’t wish to offend or to create any kind of conflict or to rock the boat; OR
- FIVE – Where the leaders are bad examples to those they lead, as they themselves disobey the very things they claim to uphold and are therefore hypocritical; OR
- SIX – Where the leadership does not take leadership seriously but regard it as just routine business, them having no real passion or desire to guide, teach and ensure the growth and spiritual nourishment of the persons under their leadership.
(II) LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCHES TODAY
Today in particular, leadership languishes in many Churches and in purported ‘Christian congregations’ because the leadership includes or completely consists of people who were not authorized or called by God to be in those positions from the start or it consists of or includes persons that have deviated from their intimate walk with the Lord or people who have agreed to help out informally here and there with the leadership responsibilities but have not been officially appointed to the position, therefore resulting in a de facto sort of casual arrangement, meaning that the Church is completely devoid of any proper leadership, the person or persons merely sort of ‘acting’ in the position, to get the needful done.
In all of the above such cases, there is languishing leadership because the leadership is poor, bad, non-existent or the arrangement is illegitimate (as it has not been sanctioned by God).
Illegitimate, bad, poor or even non-existent leadership in a Church includes:
- (i) Women who claim to be serving as Pastors, Leaders, Elders, Deacons, Teachers and the like and exercise authority over the Church (including men), when usurping authority over men and speaking in the Church are clearly prohibited in the scriptures; (SEE Article 230 under ‘SINGLE Daughters’ entitled: ‘Women Teaching In The Church – What Does The Lord Command?’
- (ii) Men (and women) who love the idea of having people under them or people esteeming them and so try to use the position to control people and to gain influence or popularity;
- (iii) Men (and women) who prefer to please people over God and so, twist or change the message to tell people what they want to hear or keep silent on important issues that may offend;
- (iv) Men (and women) who are not even saved and therefore, ought not to even be in the Church but are there and in leadership and try to use the position to advance themselves, exalt their flesh and their pockets and to undermine the Word and work of God because they have been commissioned by the enemy do so, as was the case with the wicked people referred to in 2 Peter 2 and the book of Jude;
- (v) A situation where there is no real leader or leaders identified and appointed, only a hold over sort of arrangement by people informally and voluntarily exercising some of the leadership functions because a gap has arisen and it is necessary that someone perform these functions, to ensure some level of Church continuity;
- (vi) Men who may or may not be saved but who exercise two-face leadership, where they hypocritically have one face at home, at work and during the week and then another (a pious facade) when at Church and are content to remain the same, once the people in the congregation continue to be duped and think of them favourably;
- (vii) Men who may be saved but are not at all passionate about reading, studying, meditating and OBEYING the Word of God and not passionate about or skilled in the feeding of the flock with the Word of God, lack leadership ability, spiritual maturity, sufficient wisdom, discernment, decisiveness, humility, self-control and fortitude, are more concerned about and faithful to tradition and how things have always been done, than with truth and what the Word of God is saying, are lukewarm in their Christian walk or backslidden in heart or deluded as to their real spiritual condition or have a cavalier, casual, absent-minded, ‘any-thing goes’ mentality when it comes to leadership, don’t understand the gravity of the post that they occupy, the biblical extent of the responsibilities and the ramifications both for themselves and the people under them but have nonetheless, planted themselves for one reason or another in leadership positions or have agreed to be put in these positions.
(III) HOW POOR, BAD, ILLEGITIMATE OR NON-EXISTENT LEADERSHIP IMPACTS ON THE CHURCH
Weak leadership is one of the reasons why we have so many weak Churches today. Too many persons at the helm are ill-qualified (according to the scriptures) for the positions they hold and therefore, produce weak results.
Let’s get real. You can’t expect to churn out a strong, spiritually mature congregation, if the leadership is not spiritually mature. Lukewarm leadership generally breeds lukewarm people in the pews.
While de facto, informal leaders (who may or may not meet the biblical criteria for leadership) may be necessary as a temporary measure when a gap suddenly arises in leadership, it becomes a problem, when this arrangement continues on indefinitely as the norm, as without proper and clearly designated leadership (as is required by the Word of God), the Church is practically directionless.
Where there is no leadership or no effective leadership because those formally in the position are poor or bad leaders or downright illegitimate because they have occupied positions that they are not authorized or called by God to occupy, it results in a hold host of problems within the congregation.
For starters, the people are like sheep without a shepherd, wandering mindlessly about without any proper direction and guidance, there is no proper accountability, many feel free to do whatever they please, systems that may have been in place are left in ruins, fall down or are disregarded, nobody guards the gates and so satan’s minions creep in unawares, wreaking havoc with the flock, errors are introduced into doctrine, subtly at first but then brazenly and the Church operates aimlessly without a proper, biblical endorsed vision.
In Judges 21:25, it tells us that when there was no leadership, the people of Israel did whatever they thought was right in their own eyes. For, there was no earthly leader to guide, to teach the right way and for them to account to. The scripture states that, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
In Matthew 24:43, Jesus stated, “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.”
Imagine a situation therefore, where those in leadership positions are not watchful or not as watchful as they ought to be or even where a Church is without a ‘goodman’ occupying the fort! That will be a Church merely going through the motions when gathered collectively and a Church that is vulnerable, exposed and lay bare to the enemy’s attacks.
Weak leadership produces for the most part, weak people. Poor leadership results in a situation where people don’t feel pushed or provoked in love to grow, to improve, to let go of the status quo or to advance spiritually but are complacent, in a lull, asleep (instead of being watchful and alert), content to remain babes or carnal with a worldly view and preoccupation and even unsaved, given that there are people within the pews that have sometimes never truly accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
The people are content to remain the same because they don’t see an example they can emulate in the leadership and they don’t feel driven or challenged by the soundness and depth of the Word delivered and the integrity, faithfulness, sincerity and passion in which it is brought forth, to change, to grow, to step up and to move forward in the knowledge of the Lord and his grace because that is the direction that the Church is generally being pushed and moving towards.
This is a tragedy. When the Church’s culture becomes passive because the leadership is passive, this is a tragedy. Yet, if there is no passion from the helm, then there will be no push. It is required that leadership, although not perfect, be the example that people can emulate. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul instructed the Church at Corinth to “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
People want to see the leadership making the effort to live right in the sight of God and to be a good example, not just when at Church but wherever they are including at home. They want to see and know that the leadership is an authority, not just in terms of the position they occupy but in terms of their knowledge of the Lord and the extent to which they obey him.
Although the leadership will not be perfect, will make mistakes and have flaws like every one else and that is perfectly understandable, people want to see that the leadership is sincere, humble, takes the role of leadership seriously and is committed to the call because first and foremost, they are committed in their own Christian walk.
To push a congregation forward and upward in the Lord, one needs to be passionate and to take his own spiritual growth seriously. The mentality of a cavalier, lukewarm, absent-minded, ‘anything goes’ leader (or leaders), eventually trickles down into the congregation, resulting in many of the people being just like him (or them). Also, if the leadership is blind, in that it lacks spiritual foresight and discernment because the leaders have failed to exercise this, many in the congregation will also adopt similar blindness. It is a typical case of the blind leading the blind and so both fall into the ditch. It is a typical case of the leader having no vision and so, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).
In Matthew 15:14, of the Pharisees, who Jesus adjudged as bad leaders, he stated, “…Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
If a leader lacks discernment and spiritual maturity, he will also not have a clue how to pray for the people as individuals in the congregation. The people will be burdened with serious issues of life which threaten their faith walk and he will not know it. Apart from what may be rumoured, he will not have the least inkling of same and be completely clueless. The people will then feel neglected, unloved, uncared for, unattended to and unseen.
If he has not a clue in his own life experience about the reality and realness of spiritual attacks, spiritual warfare and how to use the spiritual weapons that God has provided to fight it, him never being victorious in this in his own life and maybe because he has never really experienced the enemy’s aggressive attacks because he is not considered to be a threat, he will not be in a position to teach it to the congregation, other than merely regurgitating the verses he reads in the Word and giving a comment here and there.
For those that go to him and share their problems, many will still go away dissatisfied, as he lacked the wherewithal and wisdom, to properly counsel them with any depth from relevant portions of God’s Word and to know through the application of wisdom, what should be done practically in that situation.
If the leader does not effectively COMMUNICATE, is not CONSIDERATE about others, lacks COMPASSION and does not really CARE about the congregation, then his leadership will not be good leadership.
In Hebrews 13:16, believers were told “…to do good and to COMMUNICATE forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”. This therefore also applies to the leadership, given that leaders are supposed to be believers.
On consideration, Hebrews 10:24 states, “And let us CONSIDER one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Romans 15:1 states, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Philippians 2:4-5 also reads, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”.
When it came to compassion, Jesus was compassionate, as many scriptures attest. Following after his perfect example, 1 Peter 3:8 tells believers (and therefore, includes leaders), “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having COMPASSION one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” Galatians 6:2 also states, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Caring to the point of having bowels of compassion for others is so important to leadership, that the Lord often refers to spiritual leaders as ‘shepherds’ and the congregation the ‘sheep’ or the ‘flock’. I believe he does it to convey the need for the congregation to be protected by leaders that guard them well and leaders will not feel driven to protect those within their fold unless they genuinely care, love and have deep concern for them.
If a leader lacks COURAGE, then his would also be a failed leadership. In Joshua 1:9, after Moses had died, God spoke to Joshua, as the new leader of the children of Israel, telling him, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good COURAGE; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
If a leader has no backbone, then he will be cultivating only spineless jellyfish but if he is a bully, the atmosphere will be tense and the congregation full of scared or fearful people. Him being regarded as unapproachable and not knowing how to lead in love, people would keep their issues to themselves or go elsewhere for help.
The same holds true if the leader lacks self-control, feels the need to blurt out everything that comes to his mind without restraint, is a railer, loves drama, strife or is a gossiper and therefore cannot keep what he has been told, confidential, on those occasions when confidentiality is important. People will assess him quickly as a man that cannot be trusted and will not go to him with their problems, some of which may be of a sensitive nature.
Finally, if the leader is downright wicked, he will find ways to afflict the congregation, much like Pharaoh did to the Israelites when they were in Egypt. He will exact from them, that which is unreasonable (be this in the form of finances or otherwise) and abuse his position. If he is there to serve himself, he will surely look for ways and means to ensure that this is achieved, even if it means deceiving the congregation, making false promises, telling them what they want to hear and guilting them through great swelling words, of vanity, to do his bidding (2 Peter 2:18).
(IV) WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS ABOUT BAD, POOR, NON-EXISTENT OR ILLEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP
When it comes to a lack of leadership or poor, ineffective, illegitimate, bad or downright wicked leadership, whatever the level, the Word of God (including Jesus who is the Word of God), has much to say, including some of the consequences that will flow as a result.
For example, the Word of God states:
- “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
- “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2)
- “It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:12)
- “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)
- “If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.” (Proverbs 29:12)
- “(If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”(1 Timothy 3:5)
- “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
- “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
- …Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the Lord, and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord.
- And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
- Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
- Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
- I HAVE NOT SENT THESE PROPHETS, yet they ran: I HAVE NOT SPOKEN TO THEM, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
- …I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
- …Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I SENT THEM NOT, NOR COMMANDED THEM: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:1-2,9-32)
- “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
- My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.”(Ezekiel 34:1-10)
- “And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 3: 16-21).
- “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
- But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
- Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
- Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:1-23)
(V) BIBLICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR GOOD, EFFECTIVE, GOD-APPROVED LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH
While the Word of God frowns upon and condemns bad, non-existent, illegitimate or poor leadership, God has faithfully allowed us to have a list of characteristics or traits that should exist in a man (not a woman), so as to make him eligible for a leadership position in the Church.
Based on the criteria or list of requirements provided, it is clear that God takes the issue of leadership of his Church (the flock) very seriously. It is therefore not intended for the faint-hearted or those who know within themselves that they are not eligible, based on their level of spiritual maturity and are therefore not called by God to take up such a position.
In particular, one of the main criteria expressed repeatedly, is that a person occupying the leadership position of Elder/Pastor must have a knack, ability or be inclined to teach the Word of God and therefore, a passion or desire to do so. If a man knows within himself that he does not enjoy doing this and is not skilful in the study of God’s Word and its exposition but regards teaching as more of a duty or a routine and not with excitement but as even a bore or is incapable by reason of his own spiritual immaturity, to delve into and teach deep matters in God’s Word, he should not offer himself for the position. For, one of the main requirements of persons occupying such a position is that they take the Word of God seriously, that they know or are versed in the Word of God and therefore are in a position to teach it and consider it their number one responsibility (which they are passionate about), to feed the people of God (the flock) with the Word.
This does not require earthly degrees of any kind or earthly intelligence and brilliance. It simply requires a humble, spirit-led person, who has devoted his life to growing the knowledge and grace of God, applies himself to quality studying of God’s Word and who God has given a proclivity to teach.
If a person has a cavalier, laid-back approach when it comes to feeding people with God’s Word or just wants to give them milk but to avoid the weighty teachings (meat) because they are too deep for his own understanding or will require too much study to understand, then he has no business offering himself for the position.
Paul lamented the fact that, although he had the capability and desire to teach the Church at Corinth weightier (meat) matters in God’s Word, he could not at that time and could only continue to give them milk (light teachings) because they had not grown sufficiently spiritually and therefore, could not benefit.
- “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal…”
On the whole, when it comes to leadership in the Church, the Word of God states in particular:
- “The elders which are among you I exhort…FEED THE FLOCK OF GOD which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, NOT BY CONSTRAINT, but willingly; NOT FOR FILTHY LUCRE, but of a ready mind; NEITHER AS BEING LORDS OVER GOD’S HERITAGE, but BEING EXAMPLES to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)
- “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.” (Acts 20:28)
- “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; PREACH THE WORD; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and DOCTRINE. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But WATCH thou in all things, ENDURE AFFLICTIONS, DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
- “Let no man despise thy youth; but BE THOU AN EXAMPLE of the believers, IN WORD, IN CONVERSATION, IN CHARITY, IN SPIRIT, IN FAITH, IN PURITY.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
- “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: If any be BLAMELESS, the HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, HAVING FAITHFUL CHILDREN NOT ACCUSED OF RIOT OR UNRULY. 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; But a LOVER OF HOSPITALITY, a LOVER OF GOOD MEN, SOBER, JUST, HOLY, TEMPERATE; 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.” (Titus 1:5-9)
- “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but WHOSOEVER WILL BE GREAT AMONG YOU, SHALL BE YOUR MINISTER: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be SERVANT OF ALL. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
- “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be BLAMELESS, the HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, VIGILANT, SOBER, of GOOD BEHAVIOUR, GIVEN TO HOSPITALITY, APT TO TEACH; NOT GIVEN TO WINE, NO STRIKER, NOT GREEDY OF FILTHY LUCRE; but PATIENT, NOT A BRAWLER, NOT COVETOUS; One that RULETH WELL HIS OWN HOUSE, having HIS CHILDREN IN SUBJECTION WITH ALL GRAVITY. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a NOVICE, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover HE MUST HAVE A GOOD REPORT OF THEM WHICH ARE WITHOUT; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
- Likewise must the deacons be GRAVE, not DOUBLETONGUED, NOT GIVEN TO MUCH WINE, NOT GREEDY OF FILTHY LUCRE; Holding the mystery of the faith in a PURE CONSCIENCE. And LET THESE ALSO FIRST BE PROVED; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found BLAMELESS. Even so MUST THEIR WIVES BE GRAVE, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the HUSBANDS OF ONE WIFE, RULING THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR OWN HOUSES WELL. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”(1 Timothy 3:1-13)
- “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 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. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man FULL OF FAITH AND OF THE HOLY GHOST, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:1-5)
Initially written on 20th February, 2022 and expanded on thereafter)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ Page:
- Note 88 – ‘Ten Red Flags That That Speaker Or Teacher Is A Wolf Disguised In Sheep’s Clothing Or Operating Under The Devil’s Deception’
- Note 165 – ‘The Real Meaning Of ‘Ministry’
- Note 230 – ‘Women Teaching In The Church – What Does God Command?’
- Not 249 – ‘Twelve (12) Indicators Of A Healthy Church’
- Note 284 – ‘Thyatira – My Humble View Of The Letters Of The Glorified Jesus To The Seven Churches – (Part 2)‘
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 18 – ‘Riches, Abundance, Breakthrough & Promotion – Lies From The Pit Of Hell’
- Note 22 – ‘Are You Spiritually Sober Or Intoxicated?’
- Note 27 – ‘You Cannot Command Your Morning Or Day’
- Note 28 – ‘Our Words Have Power – A Lie From The Pit Of Hell’
- Note 99 – ‘Are You Serving The Real Jesus?’
- Note 162 – ‘The Spirit Of Prophecy’
- Note 178 – ‘The Letters To The Churches – Seven Areas To Stand Guard Against’
- Note 190 – ‘Offering Strange Fire Unto The Lord’
- Note 203 – ‘How Important Is Truth To Christianity?’
- Note 207 – ‘Positivity Or Christianity?’
- Note 214 – ‘I Would Thou Wert Cold Or Hot’