Although we see Jesus as the head of the Church, this does not mean that there is no Human element in the leadership of the Church. In order to properly explore Christian leadership we must look at two very fundamental principles.
MULTIPLE LEADERSHIPThe truth is that the Lord expresses His Lordliness within the Body of Christ through "multiplicity" of leadership.
Leadership is an expression within the Body of Christ of the Lordliness and authority of Christ, so it is with the Godhead itself that we should begin to examine the truth of leadership.
No one would deny the truth that The Father, Jesus and the Spirit are all equal, all in perfect unity, all absolutely essential to the perfect running of the entire universe and yet are separate in person from one another. It is this "multiplicity" within the Godhead which finds its true expression within the Church in "multiplicity" of leadership.
If we look at the pattern of the Heavenly Temple as revealed to the Apostle John we see that the Heavenly Host is lead in worship by 24 "elders" (Revelation 4 & 5). Do we not pray that the Lord's will "be done on earth as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10) ? If His will in heaven is for His heavenly host to be lead by multiple elders should not His earthly host (the Church) have the same pattern ?
If we consider the revelation of Israel under the old covenant we see that the Lord expressed His leadership through three different "offices" among His people. These are:
Now let us consider the pattern within the early Churches. If we begin with the Church in Jerusalem we see that from the very beginning it had multiple leadership, simply because it was founded by the 12 Apostles.
In the Church at Antioch we see that it was lead by "certain teachers and prophets" (Acts 13:1). The important thing to note was there was more than one "ministry" in operation within the Church and within these ministries there was more than one person operating the gifts of God.
When Jesus sent His ministers out into the world He sent them out in pairs I.e.. Paul and Barnabas, Peter and John, Paul and Silus, Barnabas and Mark etc. So that when each Church was established it was through the joint ministries of a group of people.
When each Church was established those who started the Church in each case "Ordained elders in each Church" (Acts 14:23). The word is "Elders" not "an Elder".
God's pattern for Church leadership was, is and always will be expressed in "Multiplicity". It is for this reason that the revealed word speaks of 5 different ministries in Ephesians 4:11. The Lord needs all 5 operating within His Church for Him to fully express His Lordliness. Without any one of these the perfect wheel will be broken and the Church will loose something vital, the full expression of Christ within it.
The true revelation of God's divine leadership is best represented with a wheel. Christ is in the centre as the "hub". The leadership is the spokes supporting the rest of the structure, while the rest of the Church is the outer rim in contact with the "World".
As the wheel moves each part takes it in turn to bear the weight of the rest. As the wheel moves each of the various leaders takes it in turn to uphold the Church before the Lord, and most importantly Jesus is always the centre of focus for the Church. In this no one man ever becomes more important to the Church than Jesus Himself.
So where did this idea of one leader taking authority over God's people come from ? Basically it is a manifestation of Satan's desire to be worshiped as God. In Isaiah 14:13-14 we see Lucifer's great sin. He says in his heart "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit on the mount of the congregation .... I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High".
This type of attitude finds perfect expression in the "classical" Pyramid Structure. Every organisation in the Western World models itself on some form of Pyramid structure with one man at the top and all the others in "submission" to him. And who is ultimately at the "top" of the whole pyramid ? Satan " the god of this world" of course.
This structure was perfected by the Roman Empire. Unfortunately when the Empire fell it passed its structure onto its "child" the Roman Church under the rule of the Popes. Ever since then the various Churches have perpetuated this basic model which has its origin with Satan himself, who wanted to be the only one to receive glory.
Within a pyramid structure, the only way for someone to move up the structure is for those above them to be "displaced". With multiple leadership it is easy for someone to "grow up into the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-16) because the other leaders are not "displaced" but rather the "circle" of leadership simply enlarges to make room for those whom our Lord has chosen to lead His people.
The whole of scripture is permeated with the truth about "multiplicity" of leadership within God's design. If we persist in denying this truth then we are rebelling against the will of God.
CHARACTER OF LEADERSHIPThe character of the leaders within the Body is absolutely vital. Leadership is not about "having the anointing" as many Pastors believe. We are all "anointed" by the Holy Spirit. Leadership is a quality of Character.
The requirements for leadership can be seen very clearly in the character of Nehemiah. We will consider the traits which Nehemiah showed:
Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.