How Should We Treat Our Church Leaders?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority and the Church, Part 7

by David Wright on February 1, 2011

David Wright, AiG–U.S., explains how we should treat church leaders who faithfully guide their flock according to the Bible.

But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13, NASB)

Today’s big question: how should we treat our church leaders?

Scripture reveals that God has given church leaders authority to shepherd the flock. This authority, though, is nothing like a dictatorship—church leaders are to watch over our souls (Hebrews 13:17). This means they are in charge of leading us spiritually. This serious responsibility should never be taken lightly, especially since one day they will have to account for their ministry over those placed in their care.

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11–15)

Since this passage refers to all believers, it can be applied to our church leaders. If a pastor builds on the foundation of Christ with perishable materials, much of his work will be for naught. Every action of church leaders concerning their church has to be based on the Word of God; otherwise, in the end, their work will fail. For example, what will happen to the pastors and people of the churches that view the Bible as merely a moral guidepost, not as the Word of God? Will they ever truly repent and receive Christ as Lord and Savior?

If a church leader has followed and correctly applied the Word, he will be rewarded. His work will survive the fire. If your church leaders are following Scripture, applying it to their lives and to the church, it is indeed a leadership you can follow.

If our church leaders are living and leading biblically, our job is to show our support. Many pastors burn out, because they are over-burdened and feel their work goes unappreciated. Although we may disagree with them at times, we must not contend with them in order to bring them to the point of grief. Let us be kind and submissive to our leaders. For when we do, it is profitable for us in that their leadership will be soothing to our souls. Then they will take joy in the position God has given them.

Today’s big idea: appreciate your church leaders who build on the foundation of Christ according to the truth of God's Word.

What to pray: intercede for your church leaders that they will build on the foundation of Christ with fireproof materials.


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