Ministry Resources

Working with Leaders

Working with Leaders

Kim had been a member of his church now for more than a year. He had learned so much! He began to think of the leaders in the church who had helped him. He thought of the ones who had encouraged him to develop and use his gifts. He thought of those who had taught him God’s Word. He thought of those who had led him in singing praises and worshiping God along with the other believers. What good examples they were of workers for the Lord!

As he thought over these things, he found that he wanted to know more about the kinds of leaders there were in the church. He wanted to know God’s purpose for each one. He also found that he wanted to know his responsibilities towards his leaders. They had given so much of themselves to him.

This lesson will help you discover more about why the church needs leaders. It will help you understand what kinds of leaders there are and how you can work with them so that God’s wonderful purposes for the church can be carried out.

The Leader’s Work

Where there is work to be done there needs to be a leader. God has appointed some in the church to be leaders (Ephesians 4:11). It is a great responsibility to be a leader in the church; leaders will have to give God an account of their service (Hebrews 13:17).

The duty of a leader is to see that the work continues. He works together with those under him to see that the job goes smoothly.

The Pastor

Under God, the leader of a church is the pastor. What does the pastor of the church do? He leads, he feeds, he teaches, and he watches.

He leads. The pastor leads by example. “Be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). One of the best ways to learn is to watch someone who knows how to do something. It is very important that the pastor live right and do his work right. It is easy to see that an entire church could be led astray if the pastor is not a good example. He leads the people in the ministries of the church and in meeting many needs. He must guide the young, help the weak, give special teaching, and explain salvation. He may not do all this himself, but he leads.

He feeds. The pastor spends time in prayer and Bible study in order to prepare the spiritual food the church needs. From God’s Word he feeds each person, the one who is mature as well as the one who is a new believer. He must preach all the truths of the Bible; he cannot preach just what people want to hear, for some do not want to hear the truth.

He teaches. In 2 Timothy 2:24 we read that one who is the Lord’s servant must be “kind toward all, a good and patient teacher.” When a pastor teaches, he explains truth to his hearers. He makes plain what God is saying in His Word. Those who are taught can teach others and be workers with the pastor (2 Timothy 2:2). Teaching is a great responsibility (James 3:1).

He watches. The work of a pastor is often compared to the work of a shepherd. A good shepherd is concerned about every sheep, but a hired man runs when there is danger. The good shepherd, though, stays with the sheep. In the same way the pastor who is only working for his pay will not care what happens to the church. The pastor who is like a good shepherd, however, watches so that nothing destroys the believers.

Our Responsibility

There are four ways we are responsible to our leaders:

Obey the Word they preach.

Honor them.

Support them.

Work with them.

Obey the Word they preach. The pastor has the sacred work of preaching God’s Word. As members of the church, we are to receive it into our hearts and obey it (Romans 6:17, 1 Peter 1:22). The Word benefits us only as we receive it, believe it, and obey it (James 1:22-25).

Honor them. The Bible teaches us to honor our leaders. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 tells us to “pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do.”

One way to honor pastors or leaders is to refuse to find fault with them. If there is a problem which concerns a leader, our duty is to go to him directly. We are not to turn against him or speak evil of him. Remember that the leaders are appointed by God and are God’s gift to the church. We honor God when we honor the leaders He has given.

Support them. One way to support our leaders is to pray for them. They need God’s help against Satan’s power. They need God’s help to preach effectively. Another way to support them is by giving our money and gifts. This is God’s way of providing for His workers. In the Old Testament the men serving in the temple (who were called Levites) were supported by all of God’s people sharing in providing their wages (Numbers 18:21, Deuteronomy 18:1-5).

We also support our leaders by faithfully going to church. When a pastor labors to preach the Word, to pray and minister, he depends upon the church body to stand with him. Hebrews 10: 25 tells us to keep up the practice of gathering together: “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.”

Work with them. We are responsible to follow the orders of our leaders and obey them (Hebrews 13:17). When we do this, God’s work goes forward. We must not be like the Israelites, who complained against their leaders Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:l-4). Instead, we should be like the people who followed Joshua’s orders and won great victories (Joshua 6:1-21; 8:1-23).

The Benefits Received

God Is Glorified

When God’s people work together with their leaders He is glorified. The unity of the body that comes when everyone is in harmony is a testimony to the world that Jesus was sent from God (John 17:21). It brings Him real glory. In Psalm 133 we read that God commands His blessing to come upon those who are living together in unity. It is a mark of godliness when people live and work together without strife and division. It is when God is in control that there is peace and harmony. That is why God is glorified.

The Church Is Built Up

Unity among believers makes it possible for God’s will to be done in the body. It takes the entire church working together to do what needs to be done. In Ephesians 4:16 we read that “when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.” This means that each part must work with every other part. Each member must share his or her ministry with the whole. When Christ is in control, “the whole body is nourished and grows as God wants it to grow” (Colossians 2:19).

The Workers Are Strengthened

The ability to work in harmony with the body is a sign of meekness. A person who is meek does not get angry quickly, is patient, and submits to those over him or those who work with him. This meekness is a sign of strength, not weakness, because a believer who can work with leaders becomes stronger. God gave leaders such as pastors to the church in order to make the church strong and prepare each member for his or her work (Ephesians 4:11-12).

The workers who are the greatest blessing to the church are those who submit themselves first to God, then to their leaders, and then to one another. When workers in the church do this, they will find themselves becoming the kind of mature people described in Ephesians 4:13-14.