This post is excerpted from the participant;s guide of the newest training seminar from Bridgebuilders Ministries called “The Stewardship of Leadership.”: For more details on this program contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” – Hebrews 13:17, NLT
Most of us are familiar with this instruction given to the church by the unnamed apostolic author of the Letter to the Hebrews. It is often trotted out to admonish the church to cooperate with the church’s leadership. But its intent is deeper because it is grounded on a fundamental premise, the leaders of a church are entrusted by God to help the church be faithful to Him and fruitful in its kingdom ministry.
In his instruction to the elders of the church, Peter reinforces this observation,
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly–not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.” – 1 Peter 5:2.
Leadership is a trust. It is not a power position or a place for self-aggrandizement. Leaders in the church are servants—serving God by serving the people of God. The word for such entrusting in the Bible is often stewardship.
The church is intended to be a hierarchy with God at the top and all of us, including those in leadership, required to be obedient to that ultimate authority or power—which is God through His Son Jesus, the Lord of the Church. It has human leaders who are affirmed by the people, who have authority over the people—but the authority is God’s and is delegated to the church’s leaders by Him—and can be withdrawn if they are not faithful stewards of this resource.