God gives the church some KEYS on leadership in Paul’s narrative in Acts 20.
Paul the great Apostle who saw himself as the “least of the Apostles” shares his view of ministry and the minister in this emotional passage. The Elders from Ephesus have traveled down to Miletus at Paul’s bidding so that the old master could see some of his disciples one more time. He knew that this would be probably be his last opportunity to strengthen these men in their role as “elders” of the Church in Ephesus. This timeless passage is also a charge to all of us who lead God’s Flock and instruction in general to the Church of God. What should God’s leaders strive to be? What should the Church look for in leaders?
For the sake of brevity I am going to share this in outline form. YOU can fill in the blanks as you study the Word in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
First of all, what was Paul’s perspective on MINISTRY? Acts 20:17 – 28
1. Leaders are SERVANTS – Acts 20:18-19
- Tender (tears)
- Patience (in suffering)
2. Leaders are to be FOCUSED on the SCRIPTURES – Acts 20:20
- It is PROFITABLE
- It is should be PROMINENT – It has priority – publicly and privately
3. Leaders are to be concerned for the LOST – Acts 20:21
People are saved by the preaching of the Gospel Message which is “Repentance towards God and Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
4. Leaders should be an example of a LIVING SACRIFICE – Acts 20:22 – 27
- Submitted to the Spirit in Foreboding circumstances- 22
- Believing the Word while facing Fear – 23
- Fervent toward God – 24
- Suffering the Loss of Friends – 25
- Free in his conscience because of his love of souls over self – 26
- Focused on the Word not matter what – 27
Paul lived a life of Service, being true to the Scriptures, concerned for the Salvation of souls as an act of self-sacrifice because of the MINISTRY.
Secondly, Paul shares his perspective on the MINISTER. Acts 20:28 – 3
What are the PRIORITIES of a Leader?
1. The First Priority of a Leader is to GUARD Himself. Acts 20:28a
How does a leader guard himself?
- PRAY MUCH (do a word study on prayer)
- STUDY HARD (The Word of God should be the leaders focus. This is where all believers “hear” from God.) see: Col. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:16; Rom. 10:17 Just for starters.
- SUBMIT TO THE HOLY SPIRIT – be controlled by, grieve not, quench not, walk in, pray in…etc.
2. Secondly, GUARD the Flock of God. Acts 20:28b – 31
- The TASKMASTER is the Holy Spirit – 28
The Holy Spirit assigned you and HE will enable you. It is God’s church not yours, but you are to guard it like it is! The price paid for the church is the “Blood of God” and therefore the leaders accountability is great! Remember you are a shepherd under the CHIEF Shepherd.
- The TERMS – 17, 28 Three Terms and ONE office (cp. 1 Peter 5:1-5)
OVERSEER – Watch Dog
ELDER – Old Dog
SHEPHERD – Gentle Dog
- The TASK – 29 – 38
Shepherd – Feed the Word, Lead by example, Defend the Faith
Oversee – exercise authority (Hebrews 13:7, 17)
Elders – Watch and Warn vs. 29 – 31
Pray and Study – vs. 32
Be Free from the Love of Money! vs.33 – 35
LOVE deeply vs.36 – 38
All of us as leaders will do well to follow Paul’s example and have a proper perspective on the Ministry and Ministers.