The Need for Leadership

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The Need for Leadership 

Do we truly understand the need for leadership?

Judges 2.19

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 3, In the year of our Lord, 2012




  1. Were you here on August 3, 1986? 
    1. If you do not remember,
    2. were you a member of this congregation in 1986?
      1. The reason I ask is because
      2. I preached a version of this sermon back then!
  2. How many organizations function without leadership? 
    1. Governments, militaries, businesses and schools see the need for leadership.
    2. Even gangs see the need for leadership!
    3. When President Reagan was shot,
      1. Vice President Bush was out of town,
      2. so the Secretary of State, Alexander Haig,
        1. tried to reassure the nation that constitutionally
        2. he was in charge until Bush got there.
          1. That created a huge controversy!
          2. It showed the crucial place of leadership in a nation.
    4. All these organizations,
      1. not only have current leaders,
      2. they train new ones.
  3. So should it be with God’s people. 
    1. In First Kings 22 a prophet told a king
      1. that he was about to die.
      2. However, the prophet pictured it
        1. by showing what it was going to be like for Israel
        2. after their leader was dead,

          17 Then he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace’” (1Ki 22.17).

          1. Israel without a king
          2. was like a flock of sheep without a shepherd.
    2. Likewise, a church without leaders is like sheep with no shepherd.
      1. Matthew 9 shows what Jesus felt
      2. when He saw people like sheep without a shepherd,

        36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd (Matt 9.36).

        1. Let us have the heart of the Lord.
        2. Are you moved with compassion?
  4. Let me show you why we need leaders. 


  1. God Commands Leadership 
    1. In Titus 1 Paul reminds Titus of why Paul left Titus in Crete.
      1. He, as a leader, was to appoint more leaders, but
        1. of a different kind,

          5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you… (Tts 1.5).

        2. Part of setting things in order is having
          1. elders, and I would add
          2. preachers,
          3. teachers,
          4. song leaders, and others.
    2. That God wants human leadership is reason enough.
      1. Is that reason enough for you?
      2. Many potential leaders excuse themselves
        1. by saying that one can only be a leader
        2. if he desires it.
          1. Well, that is true, but
            1. God wants everyone to be a Christian,
            2. although you should only become a Christian if you desire it.
              1. Does that mean the people who do not become Christians
              2. will not have to answer to God?
          2. Should not our first concern be what God desires?
            1. What if God wants you to do something, but
            2. you do not want to do it?
          3. Not everyone can or should be a specific kind of leader,
            1. although everyone leads in one way or another, but
            2. what about the people who can be and should be leaders,
              1. yet fail to fulfill God’s will?
  2. Ephesians 4.11–16 – God Gives Leadership for the Church’s Well-being

    11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Eph 4.11–16).

    1. We need leadership to “[equip] the saints for the work of ministry.”
      1. Ministering does not come to us naturally.
        1. We need training and instruction.
        2. Is that not what Jesus did during His ministry?
          1. He equipped twelve men to minister to others.
          2. He equipped them
            1. by teaching them,
            2. by setting an example for them, and
            3. by sending them out to do it.
      2. Now, does the church need ministering?
        1. Most everyone wants ministering, but
        2. the Lord calls all of us to minister to others in some way.
    2. We need leadership “for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
      1. Are you a better disciple of Christ today than you were yesterday?
        1. If so, you can credit the Lord and
        2. church leaders.
      2. I have been down a few times and
        1. various leaders lifted me up,
        2. [such as at North Long Beach]
    3. The church needs leadership “till we all come to the unity of the faith.”
      1. I will explain this more later.
    4. We need leadership “till we all come to…the knowledge of the Son of God.”
      1. Is not the Bible our source of knowledge?
        1. Can I just read the Bible myself and come to this knowledge?
        2. Yes to both questions.
      2. However, there are several things to think about:
        1. Has there not been someone who gave you more insight?
        2. Church leaders accelerate the acquisition of knowledge.
          1. Russell Wilson told Steve Orduno
          2. that he would learn in 2 years at preaching school
          3. what it took Russell 12 years to learn by himself.
    5. The church needs leadership

      “13 till we all come…to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children… 15 may grow up in all things… 16 …causes growth of the body…”

      1. The spiritual maturity of the church needs leadership.
        1. When parents divorce or die,
        2. children miss essential training.
      2. The part I just read from Ephesians 4 can include numerical growth.
        1. Numerical growth can exist, but
          1. it will stay at a small number without leadership
          2. or with less than complete leadership.
        2. I do not know of any congregations
          1. that have numbers larger than 100 or
          2. that have numbers larger than that for very long
            1. without more than one leader.
  3. Progress Demands Leadership 
    1. In Philippians 1 Paul stated one of his purposes as a leader in the church.
      1. This progress he speaks of will not happen
      2. unless there are leaders,

        25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith (Phi 1.25).

    2. Leaders bring out the full potential of the church and its members.
      1. When people with talents are used they grow and develop (Matthew 25).
      2. Leaders learn to see ability in others, as parents and coaches do.
  4. Ezekiel 34.1–6 – The Church Is Vulnerable Without Leadership

    1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them”’” (Eze 34.1–6).

    1. What the Lord said to the shepherds of Israel,
      1. is that without leadership,
        1. His people were vulnerable to several dangers, and
        2. He held the leaders,
          1. which would include those who should have led, but would not,
          2. accountable!
    2. If the qualified do not lead, the unqualified will.
      1. Isaiah 3 addresses the issue of women and children leading,

        1 For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
        Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah
        The stock and the store,
        The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water;
        2 The mighty man and the man of war,
        The judge and the prophet,
        And the diviner and the elder;
        3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man,
        The counselor and the skillful artisan,
        And the expert enchanter.
        4 “I will give children to be their princes,
        And babes shall rule over them.”
        (Isa 3.1–4)

        12 “As for My people, children are their oppressors,
        And women rule over them.
        O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err,
        And destroy the way of your paths.”
        (Isa 3.12)

          1. Women and young people are not to rule the church, but
          2. God will allow it to happen,
            1. if the proper leaders
            2. do not do their job.
      2. Judges 9 shows by a fable the people
        1. asking the good, but the good refusing, and so
        2. the people ask the evil, and they accept.

          7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: “Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you! 8 The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?’ 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?’ 12 Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us!’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us!’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’ 16 Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves— 17 for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; 18 but you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother— 19 if then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” 21 And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother (Jdg 9.7–21).

          1. Gangs fill in the void of a lack of leadership in people’s lives.
          2. Cults do the same.
    3. The church’s unity is at stake.
      1. Without strong leaders false teachers will divide.

        29 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20.29–30).

        1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed (2Pe 2.1–2).

      2. Good leaders unify.
    4. The church will sin.

      19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way (Jdg 2.19).

      33 So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Berith their god (Jdg 8.33).

  5. Leadership Inspires Others 
    1. I was inspired by two preachers to preach.
      1. Russell Wilson indirectly.
      2. Steve Orduno directly.
    2. Every leader in every field
      1. will tell you he was influenced by another leader.
      2. It might even be as simple as reading about another leader,
        1. even as Abraham Lincoln
        2. read about George Washington.
    3. Every time I hear another preacher he gives me new ideas on how to improve.
    4. Example makes a powerful force.
      1. Leaders show how to live.

        3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock (1Pe 5.3).

        12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1Ti 4.12).

      2. We need someone who will show us how to live Christianity.
      3. Train someone, therefore, to do what you do (2Ti 2.2).


  1. What you can do. 
    1. Pray Numbers 27.15–17.
    2. Hold leaders in high esteem (especially in presence of children – 1Th 5.12–13).
    3. Do what you can.
      1. It might be showing friendliness to someone.
      2. It might be teaching.
    4. Be like Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
  2. Follow Christ. 
    1. Someone is watching you.
    2. What will he or she see in you?