Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.

Acts 20:17

In the middle of the 20th century, the Church of England commissioned a report entitled Towards the Conversion of England. The goal was to discover what was taking place within the parishes of the Anglican Communion. In that report, the writers came very quickly to the topic of leadership, on which they observed, “A spiritual leader can often make an astonishing difference.”[1] The adjective “spiritual” is crucial. If the church is going to flourish in the world, it must have spiritual men in the position of leadership. Although we are distanced from that report by many years, and although a lot has changed since then, the strategic necessity for spiritually mature leaders, in whatever country or denomination we are in, has not changed. No church of Jesus Christ progresses beyond the spiritual progress of its leaders.

Every sports team has a captain or equivalent. Each member of the team may be equally valuable, but someone has to lead. Without a captain, a team loses direction and will often lack the discipline needed to win. The same is true in an orchestra: without a conductor, it risks losing coordination and any meaningful sense of harmony.

The necessary role of leadership is true in every area of life—and it’s no different with God’s people. Jesus was the leader of a group of twelve disciples. When He ascended to heaven, Peter and James appear to have become the leaders of the apostles and the church in Jerusalem. The apostles then established leadership in the local churches. When Paul wrote to Titus, he was very concerned that the right kinds of men were appointed to positions of leadership within the church (Titus 1:5-9). If an error was made in who was appointed, then the resulting damage would not be easily undone. And when he had limited time near Ephesus, it was “the elders of the church” who Paul summoned to Miletus in order to encourage and exhort.

Without good leadership, chaos easily follows. Many of the unsolved problems in the life of local churches can be traced back to defective leadership. Conversely, the resolution of problems almost always can be traced back to effective leadership.

If success depends upon the quality of leadership, then Christians should care deeply about leaders within their local church. Christ purchased the church with His own blood, and it is through the church that God intends to display His glory in the world and to the spiritual realms (Ephesians 3:10). Take time, then, to pray for your leaders. Consider how you can actively encourage them to faithfulness and in their labors. Be someone whom to lead is an occasion for joy and not groaning (Hebrews 13:17)—for your leaders’ sake, and for yours.

As a thank-you from us for your gift, we'll send along this month's resource: Sowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Lead Bible Studies by Peter Krol

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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.