Paul & Church Leadership Free Essay Samples & Outline
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Essay on Paul & Church Leadership
Any institution must have a leader and rules for administration. Even churches are not exempt from this and pastors must also learn to be leaders and administrators in addition to being preachers. Leadership can be defined as shepparding people to follow your vision (Barth, 2010 ). Administration on the other hand is more about paperwork and management of the institution to ensure it adheres to the laws of the land and all logistics are taken care of. It involves issues like budgeting, finance, human resources and the like.
Paul in his letters talked about the behavior of a minister. One of the points he urged is that a minister continuously purifies himself. Paul instructed Timothy to purify himself continually by separating himself from those things that would distract one. (2 Timothy 1:6). For example, pastors can easily start concentrating on the wrong things to avoid the true and hard work of the ministry. Even lay people can suffer from this syndrome whose symptoms are fatigue, boredom, laziness and the like. Ways a minister can avoid these things is by discipline in doing tasks like reading the bible, personal prayer, having a person to account to, studying or increasing one’s knowledge in leadership and ministry (Barth, 2010).
Another characteristic of a minister is to be compassionate. Work without love, Paul in first Corinthians chapter 13 highlighted is fruitless and useless (1 Cor13,1-3). In Ephesians Paul urges pastors to show love to one another with humility, gentleness, and patience as it’s the key to a godly church.
Another character of a minister according to Paul is that a minister should be persevering. One they must stick to the true word or doctrine regardless of the circumstances and guard the word with the help of the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:13-14). He urges ministers to avoid distractions but keep their eye on the prize (2 Timothy 2:3).
Paul also taught about church should be administration. He taught that that the church is to be ruled by elders, and that these elders are accountable to one another and to God. Paul while in Ephesus told the elders to watch over the flock and guard it against false prophets (Acts 20:28-30). He taught that Christians should obey those in authority as it is God who put them there.
Also Paul taught that there are different kinds of leadership positions and structures in the church where all are called to fit. He likened the church to a body which has different parts all joined together to perform tasks as one. Each part is important and cannot be ignored. On different leadership positions, Paul illustrated this by showing how some people were called to be prophets, others evangelists, others apostles and others pastors and teachers (Eph 4:7-12). Different people are needed for the work of God and that is why God gave people different gifts. God did this to prepare people for the work of Christian service or to build the church or body of Christ (Eph 4:13). Paul went ahead to show the importance of everyone i.e. everyone was necessary to the church and had a role to play.
Leaders were to serve the Christians by teaching the right doctrine and protecting them from false teachers while Christians were to change their ways and live a life worthy of being children of the Kingdom (Eph4:23). Also Paul talked about the domestic order and how proper structure of authority must be maintained in households. He taught how husbands and wives are to relate to one another. He taught that wives should subject to their husbands and that husbands were the head of the house. He also talked about how children should relate with their parents saying they should be obedient to them. (Eph 5:9-6:7).
The church was to be administered so that it could become God"s dwelling place. God was to be the cornerstone of the building (Eph 2:19-22). The goal of the church was to honour God and bring him glory and not to bring glory to ourselves. For example Paul in letter to the Ephesians prayed that Christ would make a home in the people’s hearts (Eph3:17) and that God gets the glory – “Now … to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:19-20 ).
Paul also taught that the child should be administered with humility and not authoritarian rule. He emphasized how all are equal and no one should think himself better of the other or look down on another. He emphasized this by saying that it is by grace that we are saved and not because of our own works - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God … For we are God"s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Today church also faces some of the problems Paul highlighted in the epistles. For example, the purpose of the church has been distorted. The purpose of churches is to lead people to God. However, some churches try to achieve a big following by promising people prosperity and riches as opposed to the true purpose of Christianity which is to worship and glorify God (Lim, 2013). This touches on doctrine issues which pastors are twisting to suit themselves. They want to be famous and are driven by attracting huge offerings by saying only the pleasing parts like the prosperity that comes when one serves the Lord - “Seek First the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” – Lk 18-6-12) but avoiding to tell the whole truth especially the one that hurts like suffering and persecution.
Another issue that plagues the church today is administration. Churches today are run like corporations instead of communities or places of worship and pastors have become CEO’s instead of sheppards (Frank, 2009). Pastors have become sole proprietors of their churches often with family members thus the church becomes lead like an asset - which has to remain in the family hands and not as an institution that belongs to God and has apostolic foundation of the early church as Paul emphasized in the epistles (Lim, 2013 ).
Pastors or churches are now focusing on achieving the wrong objectives of being rated as the best church or one with the biggest followers or one with the biggest humanitarian projects i.e. seeking worldly praise rather than making God the cornerstone of the church (Frank, 2009).
Paul warned the church not to become a structure or a show of power and authority and rules but it should be more about the individual and people. The focus should be trying to please God and concern for my neighbour by bringing him to God through by showing him love (Barth, 2010). In conclusion, being a Christian is not just about being forgiven one’s sins but it is about playing your part in building and spreading God’s kingdom in the world through concern for our neighbor and living in a way that is pleasing to God.
Thomas Edward Frank (2009). Leadership and Administration: An Emerging Field in Practical Theology IJPT, vol. 10
KarYong Lim (2013). Generosity from Pauline Perspective: Insights from Paul's Letters to the Corinthians. ERT 37:1, 20-33
Tom Barth (2010). Crisis Management in the Catholic Church: Lessons for Public Administrators. Public Administration Review
The Holy Bible - Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.