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THE FIVE SHIPS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH
Leadership is required for the other ships to sail as they should. According to John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence, and everything rises or falls on leadership.” God gave leaders to the church to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). The work of the ministry involves building up the Body of Christ. Believers are to edify or build up one another. Each believer is given at least one gift for the edifying or building up of the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7;1 Pet. 4:10).
One of the ways leaders lead is by providing visions or pictures of what God wants to accomplish (cf. Prov. 29:18). A second way leaders lead and also equip the saints for ministry is by providing patterns or examples for the saints to follow (1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). A third way leaders lead is by praying for the saints (Acts 6:4; Col. 4:12). A fourth way leaders lead is by proclamation of the Word of God (Acts 6:4; 1 Tim. 4:11, 13; 2 Tim. 4:2).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, Paul mentions three responsibilities of believers to their spiritual leaders: (1) recognize them, (2) esteem them, and (3) be at peace with them. The writer of Hebrews points out five responsibilities of the congregation to the spiritual leaders of the church: (1) Remember your spiritual leaders – remember their exposition of the Word of God and remember their examples and follow them (Heb. 13:7). (2) Obey your spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:17a). (3) Submit to your spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:17b). (4) Pray for your spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:18). (5) Greet your spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:24).