Leadership in the Church

Throughout the New Testament, we see the establishment and exercise of leadership within the church. This leadership happens in multiple ways, so it is important to be clear about the various roles and types of leadership that are found in scripture and should, therefore, be implemented within the churches that we establish.

As in the previous lessons, as you teach this to your disciples and to your churches, each of the sections below will likely be a separate 3/3rds Group study, giving you time to help the disciples learn and grow in these lessons.

What types of leadership are found within the church?

There are three main areas where we see leadership within the church. Here are the three that we will study:

  • Jesus is the head of the church
  • Elders and Deacons oversee and lead the function of the local church
  • Jesus gives gifts to the church to strengthen it

Break into smaller groups of 2-3 people. For each of the sections below, read the scriptures listed and answer the questions in the Discussion section, writing down your answers to report back to the larger group at the end of your study.

Jesus is the Head of the Church

Here are a series of scriptures to study and understand the relationship between Jesus and the Church:

  • Matthew 16:13-20
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Ephesians 1:22-23
  • 1 Peter 5:1-4

Discussion

  • What is Jesus’s relationship to the church?
  • What is the role of the church in carrying on Jesus’s plan until he returns?
  • How can we continue to align the leadership of our churches with Jesus and his teachings even today?

Elders and Deacons oversee and lead the function of the local church

Elders

  • Acts 14:21-23
  • Acts 15:22-29
  • Acts 20:25-31
  • 1 Timothy 3:1-7
  • Titus 1:5-9
  • 1 Peter 5:1-4

Discussion

  • What is an elder? What is their role and function?
  • Who should be selected to be an elder within the church?
  • How should the elders be selected? Who chooses them and how do they do it?

Deacons

  • Acts 6:1-7
  • 1 Timothy 3:8-13

Discussion

  • What is a deacon? What is their role and function?
  • Who should be selected to be a deacon within the church?
  • How should the deacons be selected? Who chooses them and how do they do it?

Jesus gives gifts to the church to strengthen it

Here are scriptures that you can read to discover the gifts that Jesus gave to the church so that the body of Christ can grow and be mature:

  • Ephesians 4:7-13
  • Apostles
    • Matthew 10:1-42
    • Romans 1:1-5
    • 1 Corinthians 3:5-15
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 6:1-13
    • Jeremiah 1:1-19
    • Matthew 3:1-12
  • Evangelists
    • Acts 8:4-8
    • Acts 8:26-40
    • Acts 18:24-28
  • Shepherds / Pastors
    • Psalm 23:1-6
    • Matthew 9:35-38
    • Luke 15:4-7
    • John 21:15-17
  • Teachers
    • Ecclesiastes 12:9-10
    • Titus 2:1-15
    • Matthew 7:24-29

Discussion

  • What is an apostle?
  • What is a prophet?
  • What is an evangelist?
  • What is a pastor / shepherd?
  • What is a teacher?
  • Why did Jesus give these gifts to the church?