3 Leadership Lessons from England in the World Cup

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3. You have to put energy and experience into defence.  The natural attitude of a leader is to advance, to take ground and to win.  But while we are called to be pioneers and move forward, you have to also ensure that no one is going to advance on you.  England did not have defenders that were able to play at international level and keep the other teams away from their net.  As a leader, always make sure that the people you have in place are able to do their jobs.  David had a mighty man whose only job was to defend a lentil field.  That seems a bit mundane, but if you are going to win a war you need lentils.  If you are going to win a football match, you have to defend your goal.  If you are going to lead a team think carefully about your assets, your direction and your plans and work out what needs defended (it might be unity, it might be a culture, it might be a structure or USP) and make sure it is defended by your best people.

2. Don’t appoint on the basis of potential but on the basis of results.  Hodgson got carried away with the dream that his young, fresh defenders could make headway, and appointed on the basis of potential rather than results.  It’s the same with Wayne Rooney – who has only ever scored 1 World Cup goal (which let’s face it was a tap-in!) yet has been the hope of the England team because of his potential.  As a leader you have to appoint on the basis of results, not personality.  Jimmy might not be your favourite small group leader, but if his group is growing in size and depth over and over, then that’s probably who should take on the supervisor role.  Your best salesman is your best salesman on the basis of results.  Your best players have to be the ones that get results.  Yes we need to develop young talent, but you do not develop people by putting them in positions they are not ready for.

1. A team needs a leader, not just a coach.  A coach can encourage individual players and get the best out of them, but let’s face it England has better players than any of the teams it lost to.  It needed a leader to show them how to work as a team, to work them in the right places and ensure that people fit together.  Most people do not know how to find their place and do not know what they do best and where their strengths and weaknesses are.  You need leadership who can be honest with you, who care about building a team that works, rather than exalting individuals.  A coach is great for building a person or a group of persons – but a leader builds a team.

Pastors and Elders III: What Paul taught the Elders

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I said in the first post in this series (https://benjaminconway.net/2014/05/19/pastors-and-elders-ii-the-elders-conference/) that we would find out what Paul taught the elders at Miletus.  And I give you my word that before this series is over we will look at Acts 20.  But due to emails and questions that have arisen from the first post, I am going to answer some more questions first, laying a foundation to what we will say later.  In Acts 14.23, it says that Paul ordained elders in the churches.  Part of being a healthy New Testament church is having elders ordained by a pastor or apostle.  In fact I would go as far as to say that if you do not have ordained elders, then you are not going to a church.  Certainly the apostle Paul did not know a church without pastorally ordained elders!  So elders are vital to any discussion of church health and leadership.

Today, I want to answer the question what is an elder.  Great question – glad you asked, and glad the answer is in the Bible!  Every church should have several elders.  In James 5.14, sick people are told to call the elders (more than one – notice the “s” at the end) of the church (just one church, notice the lack of “es” at the end!).  So a church should have some elders, and everyone in the church should know who they are.  Eldership should not be a secret! Titus was told to ordain elders in the church as well.  If you read Acts 15.1-2 you find out that the early church had apostles and elders.  There was a plurality of elders in Jerusalem and they worked with the apostles.  They had a discussion on the role of the law in the church – and Peter was the spokesman for all the apostles (see v. 7) but James (see v. 13) was the spokesman for the elders.  Apostles – along with prophets, teachers and evangelists – are travelling ministries.  Elders – along with pastors – are local ministries.  James, functioning as the chief elder, was the pastor of the Jerusalem church.  Later in history, you find James takes the title of pastor of the church of Jerusalem.  And we can see that role developing here in Acts 15, and in Acts 21.18 when Paul visits Jerusalem with the phrase “James and all the elders”.  That’s how a church should be run with “Pastor, and all the elders”.  To meet Paul, James brought all the elders.  They were all elders, but James was in a different role and office: James was the pastor – ruling over and shepherding the elders.  Pastors are appointed by Jesus (Ephesians 4.11) but elders are appointed by pastors or apostles.  Elders are to help the pastor oversee the church and love and disciple people.

The Bible tells us: Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. (Hebrews 13.7).  The elders are supposed to rule over the people – not in an arrogant hard-hitting way, but in the way of leading them to the Word, helping them be disciples, inspiring them to dream and challenging them to life the dream.  They are supposed to teach in their house groups and they are supposed to both teach the Word, based on the apostle’s or pastor’s teaching, and then set an example for the faith.  That is the role of an elder in one verse:

  • Rule – through love and grace, make disciples. 
  • Teach the Word of God to people, based on what the apostles and pastors are teaching
  • Set an example of faith for people to follow

That is what a Biblical elder should look like.  They are not necessarily preaching – that is the role of the pastor and the 5-fold – they are not necessarily running the show, but they are looking after people in their house on a regular basis, showing love, setting an example, ruling in love and teaching the Word.  

Next week: what are the requirements of being an elder