Let's Select Church Leaders!
Let’s Select Church Leaders!
Acts 1:15-26; 6:1-7 NIV
Thesis - We should select as church leaders those who are Spirit-filled, have the character of an elder and have appropriate spiritual gifts.
Ethical Objective - To cause the church to select leaders who are Spirit-filled, have the character of an elder and have appropriate spiritual gifts.
We passionately believe All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). I also believe what the Scriptures don’t say is useful for teaching. Take for instance what the Scriptures don’t say about elections and voting.
The word election is used four times in the New International Version of the New Testament (Romans 9:11; 11:28; 2 Peter 1:3, 10) and deals with our being chosen by God for salvation after we choose to meet the conditions of repentance and faith. The word elect appears 11 times in the NIV New Testament (Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 22, 27; Romans 11:7; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1) and refers to those who have chosen Christ and been chosen by Him.
Nowhere in the NIV New Testament will you find the word voting. And the word vote appears only in Acts 26:9, 10 where Paul testifies before King Agrippa: I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them (emphasis mine).
Nowhere in the Bible do we see elections and voting in the way in which we typically think of them in our culture. The kind of elections and voting we’ll do tonight and next Sunday afternoon are not taught in scripture. Electing leaders is a cultural, denominational and legal practice – not a scriptural one. While elections and voting don’t violate any scripture they often fail to express God’s will. In place of elections the New Testament offers us a model of selection. Look with me, in the New Testament, at
I. The background for selecting church leaders.
A. Acts 1:15-26 records the selection of Matthias as the replacement for Judas. (Read Acts 1:15-26.)
1. Peter laid out the qualifications (vv. 21, 22).
2. The whole church (v. 15) made nominations.
a) Then they nominated two men (v. 23) -Williams
b) Having nominated two candidates (v. 23) -Jerusalem Bible
3. Then they prayed and cast lots to find God‘s will (vv. 24-26).
a) The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:33
b) Remember this was pre-Pentecost.
B. Acts 6:1-7 records the selection of the deacons. (Read Acts 6:1-7.)
1. The apostles laid out the qualifications (v. 3).
2. The whole church made the selections (vv. 2, 5).
3. The apostles did the installation (v. 6).
In addition to giving us the background of selecting church leaders the New Testament gives us
II. The basis for selecting church leaders.
A. Church leaders need to be looked for among the people – look ye out among you (Acts 6:3, KJV).
1. “Look ye out is literally ‘look at, visit, or inspect, for the purpose of discovering the necessary qualifications.’” -Ralph Earle quoting Joseph Alexander
2. “Among you—literally, ‘from among you’—emphasizes the fact that care should be exercised in selecting church officials.” -Ralph Earle
B. Church leaders don’t have to be men.
1. The Jewish roots of the early church needs to be considered here.
2. I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. Romans 16:1
C. Church leaders must be Spirit-filled (Acts 6:3).
1. “The words ‘full of the Spirit and wisdom’ evidently refer to guidance by the Holy Spirit and skill in administration and business, which, singly and together, are so necessary in Christian service. While Christian ministers wish such qualities were more characteristic of their own boards and councils, it is only fair to say that boards and councils often wish their ministers were given more ‘to prayer and the ministry of the word!’ A pattern is set here for both lay leaders and clergy, and God’s work would move ahead more efficiently were it followed more carefully.” -Richard Longenecker
2. “We direct our local churches to elect as church officers only persons who profess the experience of entire sanctification and whose lives bear public witness to the grace of God that calls us to a holy life; who are in harmony with the doctrines, polity, and practices of the Church of the Nazarene; and who support the local church faithfully in attendance and with tithes and offerings.” Manual 2005-2009, 39
3. Spirit fullness allows leaders to act unselfishly and without favortism.
D. Church leaders must demonstrate the character of elders, overseers (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
E. Church leaders must give evidence of appropriate giftedness.
1. Graduates of P.O.I.N.T. #201 know that the nature of the church determines its function (at least it should). Since the church is a body it should function on the basis of spiritual gifts not elected offices.
2. Appropriate spiritual gifts are:
a) Administration (1 Corinthians 12:28)
b) Discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10)
c) Faith (1 Corinthians 12:9)
d) Leadership (Romans 12:8)
e) Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)
3. The benefits of selecting leaders on the basis of spiritual gifts:
a) It puts the best people in leadership.
b) It causes the body to work as it should.
(1) Acts 6:7
(2) Ephesians 4:11-13
As we come to our NMI meeting tonight and our annual church meeting next Sunday afternoon let’s come not to express our will but to express God’s. May God help us to select, not elect, leaders for this next year.
*Jackson, MS – 11/17/02
Bangor, ME – 03/08/09