Church Leaders and the Holy Spirit
One may wonder that since every Christian has the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit teaches each of us the truths (John 14:26), do we still need church leaders today? The answer to this question is: Yes, the New Testament supports that we do need church leaders.
The apostle Paul likens the church to a body with many different parts and a head to direct the body. Each part has a very important role to the functionality of the whole body (1 Corinthians 12:7). God’s children are equal, but they do not all have the same role in the church. God puts people and distributes His gifts as He sees fit, not according to human expectations (1 Corinthians 12:11).
The Holy Spirit Gives Spiritual Gifts
The Holy Spirit is represented in the Bible as the One dispensing the spiritual gifts. “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11).
The Lord appoints different offices and spiritual leaders within the church (1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 2:2). In Ephesians 4:11, Paul groups pastors and teachers together, structuring them with dual responsibility, to shepherd and to teach.
In the early church, even after many years in the faith, believers still needed teachers (Hebrews 5:12). The church at Antioch had “teachers” as one of their leadership roles (Acts 13:1). The apostle Paul called himself a teacher (1 Timothy 2:7; Titus 1:11). Jesus Christ Himself was the great pastor-teacher, shepherding the flock and teaching them. And we are to follow His example (1 John 2:6).
The New Testament does tell people to obey the leaders in the church and to cooperate with their leadership. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
The head of the church is Jesus Christ, and all leaders within the church should seek His will in all things, in their own lives as well as in the functioning of the congregations. The leaders are to be Christ-like in their leadership, which means that they must seek to help others first. To the church leaders, the Lord says, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2).
In His service,