Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

Spiritual Leadership

by Bill Blankenship

There are many people in our world today who claim to be spiritual leaders. However, not all of them are led by the Spirit of God and are not of Godly theology. Within the evangelical church, we need strong, committed, born-again, dedicated, God-fearing leaders, who affect the spiritual growth of others as they put their faith and trust in the God of all creation.

Leadership is important in every area of life and the church is no exception. God’s design for His church is the calling of certain people to be leaders to guide His church. In Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12, we find all Christ followers have spiritual gifts that equip them in their service to God. Even though gifts may differ from one to the other, they are given for the good of the whole church, and in order for God to accomplish His will in and through us.
Spiritual Leaders are responsible to lead God’s Church:

In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul reveals God’s intent for spiritual leadership. This gift has been granted to a group of people who God has given a responsibility for leading His church. This is evident in these scriptures: Ephesians 4:8 (NKJV) “Therefore He says: when He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:11 (NKJV). “And He Himself gave (gifted) some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.”

Further, Paul expounded in detail the purpose of the spiritual leader in Ephesians 4:12-16 (NKJV); “These ministry leaders are responsible for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

So, why did God gift these ministry leaders with the responsibility of leading the church? In His divine plan, He knew we all would need someone to lead us. He tells us in Isaiah 53:6 that “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way.” A flock of sheep without a shepherd (or leader) will wander off on their own in all directions. There is a danger when one sheep wanders off because it has no way to defend itself, and it becomes an easy prey for the enemy to attack and destroy.

God has gifted certain ones as spiritual leaders to lead Christ-followers by equipping them with an understanding of God’s Word, thus giving them the ability to perform the work of the ministry. As we accept our place and position in the Church, we become unified in faith and knowledge and begin to take on the likeness of Christ. We grow in God’s Word and become mature Christ followers and no longer children, being deceived by cunning, crafty people who try to persuade us to follow every worldly doctrine. We learn to love, speak the truth, and grow up in all things of Christ, who is the Head of the Church. Christ-followers are the Church, and, when working together, the body grows and edifies itself in love.

Spiritual Leaders are to serve willingly, eagerly, and as good examples:

 We use the name ‘shepherd’ for a spiritual leader. Peter proclaimed in 1 Peter 5:1-4 (NKJV): “The elders who are among you I exhort, I am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and to the partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

The Apostle Paul also proclaimed in Acts 20:28-30: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (spiritual leaders), to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

The Holy Spirit calls and appoints spiritual leaders, and they are to shepherd the church, which Christ built and purchased with His own blood. This was ordained by God because He is sovereign and knew, just as the Apostle Paul, that after Christ’s ascension, Satan would begin to work by devouring as many as possible by speaking perverse things, causing confusion and discord in our world and in the Church.
A good spiritual leader will take time to keep himself spiritually fit, as Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV), “But reject profane and old wives’ fables and exercise yourself toward godliness.” A spiritual leader is not exempt from Satan’s attacks nor the fleshly temptations of the world. He must always be in prayer and continue in the Word daily, to strengthen the spiritual muscles needed to perform as God has designed.

Spiritual Leaders need the prayers of the flock:

Notice what Paul says to the Ephesian spiritual leaders in Acts 20:28 (NKJV): “Therefore take heed (guard) yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Spiritual leaders are humans, just like everyone else. That is the reason the Hebrew writer says in Hebrews 13:7 (NKJV): “Remember (pray for) those who rule over you (your spiritual leaders) who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follows, considering the outcome of their conduct.”

If you want a joyful, spirit-filled shepherd (spiritual leader), who confidently leads the congregation into a deeper relationship/fellowship with Jesus Christ, and demonstrates a passion for revival and for reaching the lost, then you must pray for him and his family. Ask the Lord to give our pastor(s) and their families peace for every day in every event in their lives. Ask the Lord to equip our pastor(s) with everything needed to do His will and lead the church as He desires.

God has not called us to consider ourselves more highly, or to criticize or damage our pastors (spiritual leaders).  God has called us to love and care for them, and to be submissive to their leadership as anointed by the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual Leaders and Accountability:

Accountability is essential for all Christ-followers, which includes our spiritual leaders. The disciples became accountable when they decided to leave all and follow Jesus. He helped them to realize that they were primarily responsible to the Creator of life. After Jesus’ ascension, they were motivated to work for eternity and not just for mere human reason. They were serving a higher power than those in authority of the day.

Jesus taught accountability in many of His parables, stories, and sermons. Jesus holds individuals accountable according to their gifts, talents, and their level of exposure to the truth. I am reminded of the “Parable of the Talents” found in Matthew 25:14-30 (NKJV): “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise, he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So, he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ …… He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ ……“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant’ …… take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

These servants received according to their ability. Even the servant that received the one talent had the ability to produce more but did not. Every Christ Follower has certain gifts and abilities and will be held accountable accordingly. Romans 14:12 (NKJV) “So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.”

Spiritual Leaders need to remember that they are held accountable as well. Just as the spiritual leader holds the Christ-followers in the church accountable, so the leader is held accountable by their followers. We see in Acts 17:11-12 that the Apostle Paul preached in Berea, and the people of Berea were open-minded and eagerly listened to Paul’s message. But, they searched the scriptures to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Then many of them believed. They searched the Psalms, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and many of the scriptures from the Old Testament scrolls. They were holding Paul and Silas accountable for what they were teaching. They listened, they searched, and they believed.

Christ-followers should always listen to the spiritual leader’s teaching and search the scriptures to see if he is teaching the truth and, then, believe and apply the teaching to their lives. Not only should they hold the spiritual leader to the truths of the scripture, but, they should look for essential characteristics of true godly leadership. Some of these are: a passion for prayer, a faith that endures, a love for the Lord and His Word, a zeal for proclaiming God’s Word, a heart for service, a commitment to holiness, and a passion for lost souls.

Both the spiritual leader and the followers are held accountable by God. A spiritual leader who neglects to remember this will tend to become a self-centered leader, seeking to promote his own self and agenda.

We are all held accountable to put our complete reliance on God for the forgiveness of sins. No one is able to pay the penalty for their own sins. No one is able to boast that they deserve higher recognition from the Lord because we all owe our salvation to Christ, our Savior. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


God’s gift to His Church is the spiritual leader(s) who is ordained to be an overseer of the flock, providing protection from any wind of doctrine that Satan might try to slip into the church through his cunning and crafty ways. They are required to teach and equip the Christ-followers to perform the work of the ministry. They are to love the church (body of Christ) and show compassion by leading and loving through the truth of scripture. Hearing the truth may sometimes hurt, as we are challenged to repent, change, and move forward in our spiritual walk. I am reminded of the saying, “The truth only hurts, if it is supposed to.”
I thank God every day for the spiritual leaders He has gifted to Lewis Memorial Baptist Church. I am equally thankful for the Christ-followers, who love, care, pray for, and follow the spiritual leadership. May we rejoice and be glad for God’s great love and care for us.

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