Thursday, September 22, 2011

Church Leadership

A primary Greek word used in the Bible to talk about church leaders is "episkope." Broken down, epi-scope, has the root, "scope," as in telescope, microscope, stethoscope, etc... You think of an instrument designed for getting a good look at something. And the prefix, "epi," means "on, upon, at, by, near, over, on top of, toward, against, and among." You might think of the word, "epicenter," which describes not only the center of a focal point, or the crux of an issue, but actually being there to gain first person, experiential knowledge of the same.

Combining the prefix and the root, the Greek word "episkope," which is where we get our English word, "Episcopal," and which is often translated as "bishop," "elder," "overseer," or even "visitation," describes an investigator and his task, one who visits closely in order to look deeply into something or someone, which is exactly what a church leader should spend his time doing - looking deeply into the people and circumstances of his flock. In fact, when the word is used of an authority figure, even of God Himself, it means, "that act of looking into and searching out the ways, deeds character, of men, in order to judge them and their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad."

How are your church leaders doing at this primary task of theirs? Are they loaded with other chores and tasks that prevent them from engaging in their primary role? How do you think they should best perform this task? By preaching the word of God, of course, which is "living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates, even to dividing sould and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). If you are a church leader, then "watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:16).