Theology of Church Leadership

In the church people accept that there must be leaders (just as any organization must have leadership), but they have not always thought through the biblical, theological foundation for such leadership.  Leaders need to understand God’s purpose for leadership in the church and that God appoints spiritual leaders for his people.  Who are called to be leaders, what are their qualifications and what is their calling?  Does leadership come to a person spontaneously or must God’s people equip themselves and grow in their leadership skills?  What does the equipping of leaders with the Holy Spirit really mean?  How does a leader take care of the needs of God’s flock?  There are many questions that leaders need to reflect on to become effective leaders of the flock.


Purpose of the Course

This course is the first of 8 modules dealing with leadership in the Church. As the introductory course, its purpose is to lay the theological foundation for church leadership.  This study will help the students learn the governing principles God has set out for his church, and how leaders are to function within the church. The goal of this course is to help God’s people grow in their own leadership skills.


Summary of the Course

The course begins with an understanding of the nature of the church and the authority that God has given to the church over the life of his people.  God has appointed leaders in the church for the purpose of taking care of the spiritual needs of his flock.  The course will look at the qualifications God sets out for leaders and the skills such leaders need to develop to care for the flock.  Developing such skills need to be understood in the light of God’s goal for church leadership; which is the gathering, leading and nurturing of the flock of God.


Course Material

The student will need a copy of Dr. C. Van Dam’s book, “The Elder.”  It is recommended to also attain copies of “Faithful and Fruitful,” edited by W. Boekestein and S. Swets and “The Elders Handbook” by G. Berghoef and L. De Koster.  Other readings will be available from the internet.


Course Objectives

  • The student will learn about God’s church gathering work.
  • The student will learn about the leadership structure in the church.
  • The student well learn about God’s call and equipping of leaders.
  • The student will learn about the qualifications to office.
  • The student will learn about the nature of leadership.
  • The student will think about the goal for this leadership.
  • The student will learn about useful resources.
  • The student will do a project reflecting on a course reading.
  • The student will take the principles learned in the course to do a self-evaluation and develop a plan for self-growth.


Structure of the Course

Instruction will be given via the internet (Zoom) for a total of 8 hours.  This will be done over 4 sessions of 2 hours each.  Ideally the class will meet every other week.  It will be taught with a combination of instruction, discussion and reflection of class readings.


Requirements for the Course

  • The student will attend 8 hours of class
  • The student will complete the readings for class.
  • The student will hand in a short reflection paper on the assigned reading.
  • The student will hand in a self-evaluation paper with a plan for self-growth.


Evaluation of the Course

  • Student participation (8 hrs) (15 points)– for every 2 hours of class attendance, the student will receive 3.75 points.
  • Readings for discussion during class. (25 Points)
  • Required reading – There will be 100 pages of reading (25 points). The student will write a two page (500 word) reflection paper (See Guidelines for reading Reflections).
  • Special project – A self-evaluation paper and action plan for growth (35 points).


Benefits of the Course

At the end of the course the student should have a better understanding about God’s purpose for leadership in the church and have grown in their own leadership skills, godly skills that will not only transfer to leadership in the church, but also in the family, in business and society.