“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother…”
1 Corinthians 1:1
In the first verse of 1 Corinthians, we find that Paul is humble enough to co-author with a brother. He writes…with “Sosthenes the brother.”
Sosthenes’s voice does not come through loudly in this letter, as far as we can discern, especially because Paul speaks of himself and uses the singular pronoun “I” throughout. But the mention of this brother here speaks to the power of Christian fellowship and Christian co-working.
It is one of the greatest marks of an elder in the church of Christ that he exhibits, native to his bones and pulsing through his blood, a desire to mobilize other men for the ministry. We could even venture to say that this one of the clearest signs a man can be used as a “servant-leader” in the church of God.
When such a man is given space to lead, you will find him almost instinctively calling on others, raising up others, and seeking to find ways to include others in the work of ministry.
2 Timothy 2:2 says: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.”
We are looking for an eccentric, a centrifugal force, rather than a centripetal force, in the man.
The false elder is instead always concerned with affirming and re-affirming his own authority. Or else he is always being watched by the congregation as either failing to lead or leading with unhelpful, unnatural authority (speaking too much, having strong opinions while not being present, needing to be present whenever anyone does anything). It is a sick thing to watch when a man is overly concerned with establishing his own petty rule. It betrays a misunderstanding of the monarchical reign of Christ.
True Christian leadership is fully consumed with the mobilization of others in the worship and great commission of our living God.