A Discussion Guide for Church Leaders and Followers!

A few weeks ago I started creating discussion guides that Faith Church’s small group leaders could use if they wanted to guide their group through a further consideration of a recent sermon.  Last week I introduced the sermon saying that the concept of “majority rules” could be good, but also really bad.  Faith Church is congregational, but that doesn’t mean the congregation votes to approve every decision in the life and ministry of our church.  Instead the congregation approves leaders, which I suspect is the case at your church too.  And that raises a lot of questions about the hows and whys of leadership.  Here is a discussion guide that you can use to study the concept of leadership in the church.

  1. What kind of person should become a leader in the church?
  • In the story in Acts 6:1-7 we realize that not anyone can be a leader in the church.  Instead there is a very specific criteria for who can be a leader.  In verse 3, the apostles give us the first description of what the next generation of leaders should be like.  Full of the Spirit and wisdom.  Next in verse 5 we learn another criteria for choosing these new leaders.  They had to be full of faith.  Paul would later further describe what kind of person can become a leader in the church when he wrote to two young pastors.  See 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. How are the lists in Acts 6 and Timothy/Titus similar or different?
  • Follow-up Question: Summarize the kind of person who can become a church leader in one phrase.  At Faith Church we synthesize the passages listed above by saying that church leaders must show beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are spiritually mature.
  1. How do you become a leader at Faith Church?
  • Back in Acts 6:1-7, the Apostles called a church congregational meeting and asked the church to select seven leaders based on the qualities we discussed above. Then it was up to the church to decide on selecting these seven.  At Faith Church our Nominating Committee administers a process of selecting leadership candidates through applications, interviews, prayer and discussion.  Once a candidate has proceeded through those steps, their name is placed on the congregational meeting ballot, and the congregation elects them by simple majority.  How does your church select leaders?  Is your congregation structure intentional about making sure only the spiritually mature can become leaders?
  • If you are a leader, how can this passage and process be a safeguard for you?
  • If you are not a leader, what can you learn about yourself and the possibility that God may have gifted you to be a leader? Read Romans 12:3-8 and discuss.
  1. How should church leaders lead?
  • What does the word deacon mean? The word deacon give us an important clue as what a leader should do. Deacon means servant.
  • Remember what Jesus told his disciples at the last supper? Peter was there that day.  When Jesus came to wash his feet, do you remember how Peter reacted? Read John 13:1-17.  What can we learn from this story about how leaders should lead?
  • It is possible Peter remembered the Last Supper when he wrote 1 Peter 5:1-5. Read that, and discuss what he says about how leaders should lead.
  • Leaders also set the example. Paul would say a couple times in 1 Corinthians, “imitate me” or “imitate me as I imitate Christ”.  Paul would also say to Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and purity.”  Leaders, are you setting the example?
  1. How should non-leaders support leaders?
  • Read Hebrews 13:7 and 17. What principles does the author of Hebrews (we don’t know for certain who wrote it) say a congregation should apply when supporting leaders?
  • Remember what Peter said? In 1 Peter 5:1-5, pay special attention to verse 5.  What principles does Peter teach followers to adhere to?
  • How will you support your leaders when you disagree with them? There are some clear warnings in Scripture.  What cautions can we learn in the following two passages:  Proverbs 6:16-19, Matthew 13:24-43?
  • In Acts 15 there was a sharp disagreement in the church. What was the disagreement?  How did they respond to and solve the disagreement?  What principles can we learn from this?
  1. No matter if you are paid staff, volunteer leaders or non-leaders, all must be committed followers of Jesus. What will it look like for you to “deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow him”?

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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