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Should the church have “leaders”? If so, to what extent can church leaders learn from the business world?

In answer to the first question, the Bible does speak of leadership in the church. “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” (Heb.13:7). This and other verses clearly teach that the church has leaders (”them which have the rule over you”), whose faith is to be followed (insofar as they follow Christ).

As to the second question, we should exercise caution about embracing the business model of leadership wholesale (Luke 22:25-26). Many of us have been burned by ecclesiastical CEO’s and still bear the scars. However, every Pastor and Christian leader has tasks which overlap with other professions – reading, studying, communicating, administration, time management, etc. There is much we can learn from the lessons which other professions have discovered in these areas by God’s “common grace” (or “providential gifts” if you prefer).

The sufficiency of Scripture does not mean that the Bible is exhaustive on every topic, but that it covers every topic sufficiently for us to make the right decisions. Calvin spoke about the Bible as a pair of spectacles through which we view (filter) the world and learn from the “truths” others have discovered. He

One example of this is the Scriptural idea of “servant-leadership.” The business world is increasingly embracing this model of leadership on pragmatic grounds. In some instances, they seem to have a better grasp of what it means than Christians! We can certainly learn from them as we “fill-out” our understanding of biblical leadership.

In fact, if you think about it, every model of leadership found in the Bible is originally derived from “the world.” The concepts of shepherds, stewards, ship-captains, household-managers, teachers, etc., all originated in the world and were adopted and adapted by the Biblical authors to mold and shape Christian leaders. So, we can learn what it means to be a shepherd, steward, etc., by studying these people and professions.

As Christians we are always balancing on that tightrope of being in the world but not of the world, learning from the world without being infected by the world. Let’s pray for one another that we don’t fall off neither on the side of sinful compromise nor of sinful separatism. As John Calvin said in his Institutes of the Christian religion:

The human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator…We will be careful…not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears (2.2.15).