Biblical leadership 4/5

The fourth component that I would like to emphasize is shared leadership; particularly shared leadership between pastors and elders, pastors and the congregation, and men and women in ministry. The way that shared leadership would ideally occur in a situation where I had influence in is that the pastors and elders would work as a team to teach, care, and empower others in the congregation to become mature, healthy followers of Christ. While this might look similar to the “first among equals” concept that Strauch argues for,[1] I do believe that there is a distinction between the terms and office of pastor and elder. A large part of my reasoning comes from Paul’s letters to Timothy where Paul instructs Timothy on pastoral issues such as dealing with appropriately handling the gospel, false doctrines, orderly worship, and qualifications for elders. Timothy is not viewed as an elder, but as the leader in Ephesus who was there to “command certain persons not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:3-4). In any case, it is good for elders to be able to fulfill pastoral duties in case of a pastoral absence.

Pastors should develop leaders who could be potential elders, and model godly character that is beneficial for people in all leadership roles in the church. This will help the shared leadership be stretched out among the congregation. Congregants should be invited to be doing the ministry in order to use their spiritual gifts because pastors should “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:12).

The last issue of shared leadership that I would like to delve briefly into is shared leadership between men and women because of the complimentarian versus egalitarian issue that is so highly debated. I think that it’s unwise to fall into either extreme. One extreme occurs where women are relegated to organizing potlucks and serving in the children’s ministry, and men do the “important stuff.” The other is when submission in ministry, marriage, and families is a completely foreign idea to both men and women, therefore causing the ensuing chaos which often engulfs churches that don’t have a balanced and directed sense of what the Bible teaches for pastors and other leaders in the church. Most of the spiritual direction and care that I received as a child was from caring, godly women. Since most of my official duties and roles in a church have involved leading youth I have seen godly men and women who serve students act as shepherds and give direct, personal care in times of need. Therefore, I believe that we must have a shared role as men and women together in ministry, using our spiritual gifts to serve others and to create a lasting impact for Christ’s kingdom. Furthermore, since I see a distinction between pastors and elders I don’t have a personal conflict with a woman being in a pastoral role.

[1] Strauch, Alexander. Biblical Eldership. Littleton. Lewis & Roth Publishers. 1995. 45-50.

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