September 14 I Friday
2 Corinthians 7
“These are the twelve He appointed: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John…, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot... —Mark 3:16-18
After two years of ministry, Jesus had between 70 and 120 consistent followers, but it was at this point He designated 12 of them as apostles. These were the 12 people Jesus invested in most for the remainder of His time on earth, and with the exception of Judas Iscariot, they would become the initial leadership of the church after Pentecost.
Jesus did not choose these 12 arbitrarily. The night before selecting the apostles, “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (Luke 6:12). Should we ever be involved in appointing someone to a position of leadership, especially church leadership, the most important thing we can do is prayerfully seek God’s perspective throughout the entire decision-making process.
It is interesting to note that Jesus only appointed the apostles after He had spent two years with them. During that time, they saw Him heal the sick, cast out demons, face the Pharisees and received months of teaching from Him. In this time, they would have grown very familiar with Jesus and His teachings, which echoes one of Paul’s criteria for selecting church leaders. He warns that an overseer or deacon “must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Before entering into a position of Christian leadership, a believer needs to have spent time developing a relationship with Christ, enduring trials and working through doubts. There needs to be a maturity to their faith so they can stand against pride and all the other traps the enemy sets for leaders.
Biblical leadership is servant-based leadership. Jesus taught His disciples, “...the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant” (Luke 22:26 NASB). In the kingdom of God, the way up is down. Jesus Himself, to whom belongs all authority in heaven and on earth, modeled this by washing the disciples’ feet. Biblical leaders do not concern themselves with praise or the limelight but are defined by humility and a willingness to serve in whatever capacity God has placed them.
It is important we remember that there is only one head of the church, which is Christ. In both the Old and New Testaments, whenever God raised up individuals to serve as leaders among His people, they always operated under His authority. The same is true in our churches and ministries today. Whether a lead pastor, Sunday school director or small group leader, biblical leadership starts with submitting to Christ, the true head of the church, as we serve those He has placed in our care.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for modeling what it means to be a leader of Your people. Grow in me a desire to serve, submitting to Your wisdom in both choosing and living out Your kind of leadership.