Relationships of the Believer
LESSON TWENTY – CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS
Lesson Goal: Our goal in this lesson is to better understand what the qualifications and responsibilities of congregational leaders are.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEADERS
1. Read Acts 6:1-4–1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of Allah in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
a. What problem appeared in the Jerusalem congregation?
b. As leaders in the congregation, what did the 12 Apostles say should be done?
c. Why did the Apostles not want to distribute food themselves?
d. What was the main work of the congregation leader? (See verse 4)
2. Read Hebrews 13:17–Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
In looking after the congregation, leaders should always keep in mind that they are going to have to give a what to whom?
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHURCH LEADERS
3. Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7–1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of Allah’s congregation?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as Iblis. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the trap of Iblis.
a. According to verse 2, the overseer is to have what kind of character?
b. Write in the spaces below any five characteristics of the leader or overseer mentioned in the passage.
c. Are there any academic qualifications or degree requirements mentioned for leaders in this section?
d. Which of the below qualities is most necessary for a leader?
1) Highly educated.
2) Wealthy and from an influential family.
3) A disciplined and holy life.
4) Knowledge of many facts from Al-Kitab.
e. A good congregation leader should have which areas of his life under control? (Check all that apply)
1) His family life.
2) His sex life.
3) His finances and money.
4) His temper.
f. Considering the different characteristics of a congregation leader, which quality do you feel especially lacking in your life? How could you improve in that area?
Up to this point we have been dealing with overseers. Overseers were primarily concerned with the spiritual condition of the congregation. Their main work, like that of the apostles, was prayer and the ministry of the word.
There is also another kind of leader mentioned in Scripture. He is called a deacon and his special area of concern is to assist the overseer in the practical running of the congregation. Again, we saw in Acts 6 that the deacons there assisted the disciples by taking charge of the actual distribution of food. In our next section we shall look at the characteristics of this group of leaders.
4. a. According to Acts 6:4 what was required of the seven that were to be chosen to help the disciples?
b. Why do you think such high spiritual requirements were needed for those who would be distributing food to the needy?
5. Read 1 Timothy 3:8-10–8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
a. In the spaces below write down any four necessary qualities of a deacon.
b. If your local congregation has a giving fund, what kind of a person should be entrusted with looking after the money collected?
6. a. In your local congregation do you have recognized leaders?
b. What qualities has your congregation looked for in choosing its leaders?
c. How might you help the focus to be more on the qualities of 1 Timothy 3?
TO MEMORIZE – HEBREWS 13:17
17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.