Growth Groups Week 1

Nurturing God’s Family  Planting, Establishing, and Leading                            Local Churches       Practical Principles from The Pastoral Letters                                                    “Recognize, train, and follow godly leaders.”                                                                                                       1 Timothy 3:1-16                                                 Even a cursory reading of our Old Testament reveals that na-tions and institutions rise and fall in accordance to how they are led and governed. Local churches are no different. Everything depends upon leaders and how closely they are attuned to God’s heart and order.             We complicate things with layers of tradition, but Paul lays out a relatively simple pattern in which each local church appoints, trains, and follows men of good character: a  two-part structure which can bring unity and peace to any local church whose members joyfully embrace it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What are Paul’s key points? Elements of godly leadership include. . . ✓ Motive: Do they joyfully and sincerely serve others?  vv. 1, 8, 13   ✓ Character: Are their lives under control and godly? vv. 2, 3, 8   ✓ Reputation: Are they esteemed colleagues / citizens? vv. 7, 10, 11 


✓ Experience: Are they tried, good leaders of homes? vv. 4, 5, 6, 12, 14-16

  ✓ Faith: Can they teach and /or defend the faith? vv. 2, 9    ✓ Teamwork: Can the elders lead as one, the deacons support, in culturally relevant, practical ways? vv. 3:1, 8, 11   What is the Big Idea?    A church is established as it identifies, trains, and follows godly men who are proven teachers and shepherds in their homes and community, aided by like-minded others who serve the flock in concrete ways.                                                                                     How do we apply these principles?  

  1. God alone creates leaders. The risen Christ, through His Spirit, gives and empowers men to lead His church (Eph. 4:1-16). Ours is to recognize, train, and follow them. Why do some churches ignore this and appoint unqualified leaders? What safeguards can insure that the qualified leaders become the true leaders? Also, why is such a great emphasis placed upon godly leadership in a home before appointment to church leadership?


  1. What’s in a name? The New Testament pictures each church led by a team of men, “elders” (pl.), also known as “overseers,” or “pastors,” all terms for the same office, not a hierarchy (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-3). How do you think these three terms were formed into a hierarchy of positions when, at first, they described the same position? Why were New Testament church leaders never called “priests”? Most churches are part of a denomination. What are the reasons for this, and what are advantage/disadvantages?


  1. Who’s Number One? The love of power and the desire to control others runs deep within us. Jesus always corrected his erring leader wannabees by reminding them that (1) Leadership is rooted in loving and serving others, not controlling them, (2) the greatest leader is the one who serves the best, and (3) He Himself is the pattern for leadership in in laying down His life for others. What kinds of self-sacrifice do you think of when applying

these principles to leaders? How has godly leadership helped you? What suggestions do you have for leaders?

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