Last night in our Antioch class we talked about some of the more “official” leadership roles that are talked about in the New Testament Church. I, being more of a layman than a theologian, appreciated our conversation as we drilled down on what those roles were, what they did, and how they apply to our churches today. Here’s my take-away (in no particular order, that’s important).
- Prophet > The Speaker
Pros: speaks “supernaturally” the Word of God (that’d be biblical truth) into people’s lives to encourage and/or challenge people. Some might call this “forth-telling”
Cons: speaks “supernaturally” – could be abused, especially by those who tend to “fore-tell” (predict pretty much anything).
- Apostle > The Builder
Pros: Church planter, messenger, ministry starter, idea generator
Cons: Massive ADD, not necessarily a finisher, closely tied to Evangelist, needs a Pastor as a team-mate
- Elder > The Spiritual Overseer
Pros: Keeps others accountable, protectors of the church
Cons: “With much power comes much responsibility” Could use position to rule rather than oversee
- Deacon > The Servant
Pros: Does a lot of the hands-on tasks of the church
Cons: Easily over-used and/or unappreciated
- Teacher > The Equipper
Pros: Gives the church the tools they need to do the work of the Gospel
Cons: Could compete with other leadership roles for position
- Pastor > The Guidance Counselor
Pros: Like a shepherd, he is caring, patient, understanding
Cons: Like a shepherd, he is more interested in the flock than taking some ground or building something, needs an Apostle or Evangelist as a team-mate
- Evangelist > The Gatherer
Pros: Natural people-person, gathers people and is able to communicate (the Gospel) clearly and emotionally
Cons: Narcissistic, can become toxic if he stays in one place too long, needs a Pastor as a team-mate, and/or Elder accountability
Could people have multiple leadership tendencies? I believe, Yes (Pastor/Teacher, Apostle/Evangelist, Pastor/Elder, etc.).
Is one leadership style more important? Yes/No. I believe each role has a vital purpose in the building & growing of the Church of Christ. At one point in time one leadership style may emerge as more prominent, for example: When planting a church, the Apostle or Evangelist leader will be the prominent role, however as the church is established, the Pastor/Teacher becomes more prominent.
PS – I’m still trying to figure out “Bishop”. I’m thinking maybe Denomination Leader, or church network pastor?