Building up believers and the New Testament church


"From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church" (Acts 20:17). "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you--" (Titus 1:5). "So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed" (Acts 14:23).

In the book of Acts, as we read the account of the founding of the church, it becomes apparent that the leadership of the various churches was put in the hands of elders who were pointed out by the apostles. They were evidently men who met the qualifications listed in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, and from the account in Acts 20:17-35 they were given a very serious charge: to "shepherd the church of God." I do not believe that any gathering of God's people can profitably exist without some leadership, and the larger a gathering grows, the more important it is that this leadership be established in God's order. The purpose of this article is to briefly review God's plan for leadership in a local gathering, and to encourage the establishment of God-ordained leadership. Although this is a challenging subject, I believe it is critical to the growth of any assembly, and that a neglect of God's order will have serious consequences. Let us search the scriptures with a heart to obey God as He sheds light on our pathway. God's testimony will be strengthened, and each member will be blessed as a result.