George Campbell Biography, Evangelist to Newfoundland - 8 - THE CHALLENGE OF LEADERSHIP



?Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood!?

Acts 20:28


Local leadership began to develop soon after the Lord saved souls in the villages in Labrador. The interest that some men had in the spiritual life of others made it evident that the Holy Spirit had given them the work of overseers.

I counseled often with one brother who seemed to be able to get right at the root of a matter. Another elder was a warm- hearted man who really loved people and people really loved him. These men knew their own people and the Holy Spirit obviously made them the overseers of the assembly. The same thing was true in various assemblies in Newfound­land and Labrador.

Far too often men assume a role for which they are not suited. They want the prestige but not the work. Some have the years but not the maturity. Others have the ability but not the humanity or personal touch. Still others know what is wrong, but don?t promote what is right.

As a work progresses past the first generation of believers, those who lead should give younger men specific tasks. I have found that will­ingness and enthusiasm can?t be faked.

There may be times in new assemblies when there has to be a shift in leadership. It may be due to the inexperience of those who started the work or lack of knowledge of the culture of the area. In a communi­ty there may be a person who is very capable in business or secular life, but he may not be the man to be an elder. His spiritual life may not qualify him to lead in spiritual things. A person can be a good fisherman or a good banker but be a poor communicator.

There are dangers in leadership. One danger is to use the influence a leader has as a way to apply pressure on another. Authority can be misused to provide a leader with a sense of personal power. It is possible to be sharp but not spiritual.


There are also qualities in leadership. A leader needs to be able to com­municate. Among the elders of an assembly, some of the leaders should be able to visit. There should be some who can wisely handle finances. People need to be helped in many ways. Leadership demands that one be with people.

Personally, I feel that men are often brought into the work of overseer-ship in an unscriptural way. Men are brought in sometimes because of friendships, political reasons or because of older ones who want some­one just like himself or herself to carry on. We need to wait on God and study the scripture as it applies to men who are to lead.

In young churches just starting, sometimes with the Holy Spirit?s guidance, some have to be weeded out who seem to be leaders but really are not. We have had to do this in new work. It is not easy, but we did it because we felt before the Lord that it had to be done for the good of the assembly.

I am convinced now more than ever before that if you don?t have progressive leadership, you are not going to have much of an assembly. It may exist numerically, but it will not meet the needs of the people. If, on the other hand, you have elders who will lead in gospel work or take the lead of serious prayer needs, then you will find the believers responding to their direction.


Not all elders are godly. We must be honest. If an elder has no interest in outreach, he is not God-like. If the mandate the Lord gave to His dis­ciples is a secondary thing to him, he is not like Jesus. ?Godliness with contentment is great gain!? If a man in the oversight is always striving for more of the things of this world, he is not really godly. A lot of men want to rule, have preeminence, have a place and make the decisions. They seldom get down among the folk.

Young people who want to see someone about a problem should be able to go to an elder. Oftentimes they go to a youth leader who is avail­able and willing to listen and help because they feel he tries to under­stand. Don?t drift away from the realities of the young people. Young people need to gather together to sing, do some project for the Lord or to study the Word. They need each other.

My question to those who oppose an activity is, ?Is it evil?? If it is, show them from the scriptures that it is evil, and that it must be stopped.

If it is going to cause some difficulties for a time, don?t reject it off-hand, but put it on hold until there is more light on the subject.

Don?t let trivial things stop us from getting on with the work of God. Some assemblies dare to be different and act before the Lord. God bless them and God bless you as you seek to lead the people in the fear of the Lord.

Related scriptures: Joshua 1:7-9; Acts 6:3-6; Acts 15:12-3 1; Acts 20:17-38; I Timothy 3:1-16; Titus 1:5-12; 1 Peter 5:1-9.