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Leading from the Second Chair (part 5)


The other thing I’d like to add concerning leadership in the church is that the most dominate model for leadership in the New Testament is parenting. Consider Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12, “As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s good news but our own lives, too. Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s good news to you. You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God—that we were devout and honest and faultless toward all you believers. And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleased with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy.” (NLT) Notice the “family” words in the passage.

Sometimes I hear that church is like a business and should be run by CEOs. Others suggest church is like an athletic team that should be run by coaches. Others still compare the church to the military (think “Onward Christian Soldiers”) which is led by generals. I’ve even heard that church is like the government, and should be led as a democracy in which the will of the majority prevails. While each of these proposed models were part of first century culture, Paul did not look to business, sports, the military or the government as a model for church leadership. He looked to the family, and observed that families are led by parents. That’s the model he chose.

What does this say about how churches should operate? What does this say about how churches should be led? Those are good questions. But maybe we’re missing a more basic question: what kind of organization is the church? Maybe the nature of the organization determines the nature of leadership for the organization. It all depends on what you’re after.

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