Part I. Servant-Leadership
Church POLITY refers to the structure of the local church. While this may seem like a secondary
issue, it is very important to the health of any assembly. One of the most critical areas of
church structure is leadership.
Dr. Lee Roberson has been quoted to say that “the church rises or falls
It is evident from the Scripture that Christ is the Head of the Church (Acts 4:11, 1Co 11:3, Eph 1:22, Eph 4:15, Eph
5:23, Col 1:18, Col 2:10, Col 2:19).
In fact, Christ is the only head. A body with more than one head is an
aberration…a mutant. Therefore,
there are not many heads or even little
heads. Under Christ, all are
servants of God and of one another
Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of
the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only
use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Church “leadership” in the local assembly is no exception –
the so-called leaders in the body are servants; their calling is not to a position but to a purpose. A pastor is not “the boss,” nor is he
the “authority.” Christ is “the
boss;” the Word of God is the authority; and, a pastor is a servant for the
flock of God, the Church.
The student of the Word will discover that God has entrusted the care of
the flock to two groups of servants, generally referred to as bishops and deacons.
the bishops are the servants whose primary duty it is
to feed the flock with the Word of God,
andthe deacons are the servants that care
for the physical necessities/endeavors of the assembly so that the feeding of
the Word is not neglected.
The bishops and deacons are a “servant-team,” whose shared
responsibility it is to ensure that the flock is fed and cared for and thereby
Let’s look at what the Scripture has to say about these
Biblical Terms for servant-leaders
There are four primary words used in the Bible in
reference God’s servant-leaders - these words are translated variously as
Presbuteros (Elder ) indicates
the character of the servant-leaders.
The word is a comparative
(like: big-bigger, bright-brighter…) of Presbus which means old.
Therefore presbuteros literally means older or elder. It is used as a noun and signifies - One who is comparatively more mature than
Servant-leaders are to possess a greater degree of spiritual
maturity and skill in the Word of God than a novice believer.
Episkopos – Overseer,
Bishop indicates the responsibility
of the servant-leaders.
The word comes from the Greek word Skopos – to peer, to spy, to watch. It means - One who visits/checks in on or one who keeps watch - a sentry, a
watchmen, a supervisor/superintendent.
The servant-leaders are charged with keeping watch over the
flock, for the cause of safety, protection and order.
Poimen – Pastors indicates
the activity of the servant-leaders.
The word poimen literally means Shepherd, one who tends a flock. It is only once translated as “pastors” and that is in
Ephesians 4:11 and is poimen-didaskalos (pastor-teachers) Elsewhere it is translated shepherd [Jn
10:14, Heb 13:20].