the weblog of Alan Knox

Expectations for Leaders

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in blog links, elders | 5 comments

Expectations for Leaders

Felicity at “Simply Church” is working through a series on leaders.The series has been very good so far. She is asking good questions that believers/churches should consider as they seek to recognize/appoint/follow leaders.

One of her posts asks “What do we expect of our leaders?

Since Rick recently requested (in a comment) that I continue writing about my understanding of leadership among the church (and the implications of having official elders), I thought I would share my comment on Felicity’s post here:

I expect the same thing from leaders that I expect from everyone else: living their lives in demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The people that I follow (imitate, learn from, whatever) – that is, leaders – I do not follow because they have been chosen or recognized or appointed, but because they are consistently obedient to Jesus Christ and they are a good example of living in him through the Spirit.

What do you think? What do you expect from leaders?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-1-2011


    I have three comments concerning your response to Felicity. First, I think that your initial point concerning expectations is correct. But, I wonder whether it isn’t the case that it is not really a question of whether we should expect less or the same of leaders as we do of anyone else, but rather that we should expect more from leaders. Second, I think that there is a difficult problem in your criteria of who you are willing to follow, namely, that you make yourself the sole arbiter of who is worthy of being followed. Third, while your statements “consistently obedient to Jesus Christ” and “a good example of living in him through the Spirit” sound good, the rub will be who gets to define what qualifies as consistent obedience and Spirit-led living. One might of course say that Scripture sets the standard (and I would agree). But establishing an ethical standard from Scripture is not always an easy task and there is often a fair amount of difference of opinion even among godly and competent interpreters. Some issues are fairly easy (e.g., we ought not murder or steal) but what about watching an “R” rated movie or being a Republican or Democrat? Some would take fairly hard stands on these and other issues and conclude that this or that does not display consistent obedience or leading by the Spirit. This raises another issue, that is, your approach to following means that one must be spiritually mature to be able to recognize whom one should follow. The Scriptures a replete with examples that suggest that people are often not a good judge of who is worthy of following. I am not sure I have great answers but I suspect that following requires both accepting those who are recognized as leaders by the body and evaluating whether they are worthy of that recognition.

  2. 2-1-2011

    I’m glad you posted this comment. As I read Felicity’s blog and your comment, I thought about posting it for you.

  3. 2-1-2011


    Actually, I agree with what you’ve said. In fact, one of the benefits of the church recognizing elders is that I (as an individual) know who the church as a group recognizes as being a consistent follower of Jesus Christ. Even if (and especially when) someone is immature, the elders are there as examples. There are times, of course, when I (as an individual) am not a good role model or not a good judge of the will of God. In those times, it’s good to have this group of people that church as a whole has recognized.

    So, in that case, I do follow their example because the church has said they are good examples. Of course, if I or someone else knows that they are not being good examples, then neither I nor others should follow them, even though they have been recognized/appoints. (This last point was the point that I was making in my comment above.)


    Thanks. You can always use anything that I write.


  4. 2-1-2011


    “I do not follow because they have been chosen or recognized or appointed, but because they are consistently obedient to Jesus Christ and they are a good example of living in him through the Spirit.”

    My thoughts exactly. I am assuming, “a good example of living in him through the Spirit”,implies real servant-hood.

    Most, of those I know who hold pastoral positions, would adamantly agree, but, at the same time carefully defining servant-hood as “being in charge and having authority”, as in CEO, or boss, etc..

  5. 2-2-2011

    Aussie John,

    Jesus redefined leading as serving. In exchange, the church today often redefines serving as leading.



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