the weblog of Alan Knox

Leaders with Everyone Else

Posted by on Aug 19, 2010 in discipleship, elders, scripture | 3 comments

Today I’ve been talking about leaders… specifically the emphasis that is placed on leaders in today’s church. We don’t typically see that emphasis in Scripture.

Yes, there were leaders in the NT church and there are a few passages that speak directly to or about leaders. But, primarily, the NT authors addressed all believers… whether leaders or not.

I think this passage from 1 Thessalonians is becoming one of my favorite passages about leaders in the church. Why? Because the passage about leaders is directly followed by a passage about everyone:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 ESV)

Of course, I would translate it a little differently. The phrase that the ESV translates “are over you” is actually the phrase “lead you.” Also, the word translated “brothers” would probably better be translated “brothers and sisters.”

It’s also interesting that Paul writes exhortation in the plural: “We urge you…” instead of “I urge you…”

One more thing… in discipleship terms, the strongest command in this passage is probably “admonish” which is a command given to both all “brothers and sisters” and to “those who lead you.”


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

  1. 8-19-2010

    My favorite verse on leaders is 1 Tim. 3:1
    Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.

    Oversight is for ANYONE to consider and seek to qualify for from the list that follows, not just those who “feel” a call from God to not do “secular” work. In my opinion no such “call from God exists” because it does not square with God’s Word. I “felt” this call at one time but repented of it based on God’s Word. Every passage I have heard given for this tradition can be shown to be bogus application or interpretation.

    The task is ONLY oversight – not over-talking, over-deciding, over-visioning, over-bossing, over-counseling, over-lecturing, over-anything-else. It’s simply oversight. Any brother who works a job can do that with far more authenticity and reproductivity with a small group of saints than any hired man can with 100+ people.

    I feel a sermon coming but I’ll repent of that also.

  2. 8-19-2010

    I’m so thankful for your blog and these entries in particular on leaders/elders/gatherings/church structure. Actually the whole entire blog really – I can pour over this “stuff” forever. They have really impacted and challenged me and affirmed decisions we were making as well. We have stepped away from the “church” we helped “launch” … have stepped away from the whole attractional model and are meeting in our home and other places with brothers/sisters and taking steps to worship together and live life together.. through all these changes & decisions – I’ve been so thankful for your blog that spurs us on and gives us scriptures and perspectives to go look up and dig deeper into. Anyway – THANK YOU – that’s all!! 🙂 We are still in the Wilmington area (just outside) and hope to catch up with you at some point in our NC travels! 🙂

  3. 8-19-2010


    You said, “Any brother who works a job can do that with far more authenticity and reproductivity with a small group of saints than any hired man can with 100+ people.” Wow… that’s a good statement.


    Thank you for all of your encouragement.