Relating to Church Leadership

October 14, 2020

Relating to Church Leadership

(Hebrews 13:17)

-Throughout the OT, God provided leaders for His people (Israel) who were to look after the of the people and how the people responded to that leadership often determined blessing or judgement. (Proverbs 29:12, 1 Chronicles 16:22, Nehemiah 9:26-27)

-God has instituted positions of leadership in the NT church as well, and He is greatly concerned that they be recognized and maintained in the manner He has prescribed in .

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

-2 truths we need to establish before proceeding with this study:

1. The need for and positions of leadership are established by God.

2. It is possible that leadership can be either shirked or .


2 Biblical Tasks for Every Believer Relating to Leadership:

1. Recognizing the Authority of Leaders

A. The Command to Obey them that have rule over you

obey (peitho) = allow yourselves to be continually persuaded

*We are required to constantly allow the teaching and counsel of our leaders to be very persuasive in our hearts and lives.

-We should obey as long as it is (see example in 3 John 9-11).

-3 helpful questions:

  • Is my objection a matter of biblically educated conscience or merely ?
  • Is my leadership causing me to sin, or is confronting my sin?
  • Is my leadership issuing commands or merely offering ?

B. The Command to Submit – and submit yourselves

submit (hupeikete) = diligent devotion to placing ourselves under

-The idea here is of taking an and progressive approach to submission.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour 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. And be at peace among yourselves.

-3 Ways to biblically submit to your leadership:

a. “Know” your leaders. (know them which labour among you)

is the idea here.

-(Hiebert) They must not remain in ignorance concerning their leaders, but by reflection come to a full understanding of their true character and work.

b. “Think the world of them.” (esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake)

-This is an outward show of respect due to the nature of their .

c. Don’t fight with them. (be at peace among yourselves)

-Peace results from the effort of members and leaders.

-Peace does not mean absence of disagreement as long as we maintain godly humility and graciousness. (Col. 4:6; James 3:13-18)

C. The of Authority in the Church – for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account

-Imagery from Ezekiel 3:16-21 – watchman unto the house of Israel

-This imagery highlights:

  • Grave Responsibility of the Leadership
  • Tremendous of the Leadership’s Ministry

*Biblical leadership, like “watchmen” warn us of the encroaching of the soul that would wage war against our purity and rob us of our joy.

-Their biblical counsel helps us recognize and fight our enemies God’s way. (Gal. 6:1-6)


2. Helping Leaders to Enjoy Their Ministry

that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

A. How to Bring Them Joy that they may do it with joy

  • in Christ
    • He would love to know everyone who professes Christ possesses Christ. (Matt. 7:21-23; 1 Thess. 2:19-20)
  • Walk in Obedience to Christ
    • 3 John 3-4, For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
  • Cultivate and Preserve in the Body
    • Philippians 2:2, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
  • Pray for Them
    • 2 Corinthians 1:11, Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
  • Personal Love to Them
    • 2 Cor. 7:5-7, For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
  • Seek Their Counsel and Direction
    • Most leaders would like nothing more than to provide timely advice or accountability to their people.
  • Their Reproof with Gratefulness
    • Proverbs 9:8, Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
  • Believe the Best About Their Character and Decisions
    • A loving member will assume the best about his leaders and trust them until some clear words or actions cause him legitimate concern about their wisdom or motives. (1 Cor. 13:7)
    • Refuse to accept or advance . (1 Timothy 5:19)
  • Work Beside Them in Ministry
    • Lighten their load. (Ephesians 4:12)

B. How to Bring Them Grief and not with grief

grief = groaning, i.e. disappointment

  • about salvation (2 Cor. 13:5)
  • Active sin against Christ / failing to grow in Christ as designed
  • Disunity among the brethren (Gal. 5:15, Prov. 6:19)
  • Seeking counsel in the realm of the (Psalm 1:1)
  • Insulting / calloused response to reproof (Prov. 9:7)

*If we do not relate to our leaders in a biblical manner, we will suffer along with them – for that is unprofitable for you.

-Truly we are in this !


Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

*Taken from Life in the Father’s House by Wayne Mack & David Swavely


Save PDF Locally

Click to save a copy of the filled-in notes to a PDF file on your device

Save PDF to Google Drive

Click to save a copy of the filled-in notes to a PDF file on your Google Drive account

(For Apple devices, use Chrome browser or go to SETTINGS>SAFARI and uncheck BLOCK POPUPS.)