In Romans 12:6-8, Paul mentions 7 ways in which church leaders do God’s work. Although we call them ‘leaders’, leadership is only one of these 7 tasks. In fact, the most important duty of our church leaders is not to lead, but to serve (Mark 10:42-44).
The first 4 tasks in Paul’s list seem to refer particularly to the leader’s duties at a church meeting. The last 3 probably refer to his duties at other times; Paul emphasises there how the leader should carry out these duties. In all 7 tasks, the leader must depend on God with faith (belief and trust in God). Also, the leader should not expect God to use him in all these ways on every occasion. God gives different skills to different people, so that all God’s people must work together (12:4-5).
In this article, we shall discuss the first 4 tasks:
(1) In verse 6, Paul refers first to ‘prophecy’. A prophecy is a message from God. In 1 Corinthians 12:10, it refers to a special message that the Holy Spirit gives.
(2) In verse 7, ‘ministry’ is a general word for the way that a church leader acts as a servant. As the leader leads a meeting, his principal duty is to serve God, but also humbly to serve the people there. He must not use the meeting for his own benefit, or as an opportunity to increase his own importance. Instead, as God’s servant, he must do the work that God has given him to do.
(3) For a church leader, ‘teaching’ means to teach the Bible. A church leader must always be careful to teach God’s word, and not his own ideas.
(4) Then, in verse 8, Paul speaks about the work to ‘encourage’ people. In this work for God, the leader appeals to people. He urges them for example, to trust God or to do what God wants. Sometimes he may need to warn people against wrong behaviour and attitudes.
Next part: Other duties of church leaders (Romans 12:8)
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© 2018, Keith Simons.