Building up believers and the New Testament church


The Goal of God

I believe it can help us to review the overall goal of God in the church before considering some of the specific details pertaining to leadership. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:20-23). "For 'He has put all things under His feet.' But when He says 'all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (I Corinthians 15:27-28).

These two scriptures (along with many others) are statements of the ultimate purpose of God. We are to be one "as the Father and Son are one," and all things are to be subject to Christ, so that "God may be all in all." Every detail of the working of God in the church today should be consistent with this overall purpose of God. In other words, this ultimate purpose of God does not begin in the next life, but now. Every movement in leadership should have this goal in mind: that Christ Jesus may be the head of every member, the head of the whole body, and that God may be filling all things. Anytime leadership distracts or deviates from this ultimate goal, we may conclude something is being done in the wrong way.

There are some today who say that since Christ is the head of the church, human leadership of any kind is unnecessary and unscriptural. While this view may be held with the purest of motives, I do not think an honest consideration of all scripture together will support it. On the contrary, I question whether any gathering of significant size can profitably exist without some form of leadership. Others have solved the problem by limiting any gathering to no more than "two or three" members, but I do not consider this to be God's mind. Rather I believe the answer is to see God's plan in leadership and move in His plan in His wisdom and grace. Christ will be exalted to His rightful place, and God's purpose in the church will be realized.