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Leaders Use Godly Wisdom to Control their Authority

A biblical definition of headship, submission, and wisely using authority. In this brief encouragement for church leaders, Dr. Harbuck points to Jesus as our example for servant-leadership.

A good leader guards against the human tendency to abuse and control others for selfish gain. The average person would rather be the head and not the tail. However, the Bible teaches us something different. The husband was never meant to “lord” over his wife, nor a pastor to “lord” over the congregation. The church is not an institution, but a living organism. Therefore, it’s important that the shepherd-leader be in tune with the Head of the church, Jesus Christ. In today’s church the image of “headship” too often tends to reflect someone who is in control of the people.

Image: Jessica Delp

F.F. Bruce, the great British scholar has said that “head” probably is meant to reflect the “source” or “origin.” For example, the Father (God) is the source of life in the Son, as the Son is the source of life in the believer. The “headship” that is given to Christ (Colossians 1:18) must be applied and interpreted by seeing Christ as One who is loving, sacrificing, compassionate, delivering, and transforming those whom He loves. Shouldn’t a shepherd-leader have the same attitude (or mind) that is in Christ Jesus? A pastor who sees their leadership role as one commissioned to love, nurture, and build up the saints will not require blind obedience to their every command. A husband who understands accurately biblical directives will consider his wife’s feelings and ideas. Likewise, a loving and understanding pastor will not become an authoritarian, but one who understands power and authority and one who encourages the saints to reach their full potential in Christ.


Originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Grapevine, the monthly newsletter of the Association of Evangelical Gospel Assemblies. Used with permission.

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Category: Fall 2020, Ministry

About the Author: Henry A. Harbuck, Ph.D., Th.D., is General Overseer and President of AEGA Ministries International. He is an author, pastor, conference speaker, educator, and certified naturopathic physician. Seeing the need for truth and accountability in Christian leadership, he co-founded the Association of Evangelical Gospel Assemblies in 1988 as a fellowship that would provide spiritual and legal covering for independent ministers, ministries and churches. The AEGA now has members in 50 countries and networks in over 65 nations around the world. Dr. Harbuck completed a study aide in 2023 entitledThe New Millennia In-Depth Bible.

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