Monday: Providing Ministry
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(1 Thess. 5:14,15)

In verses 12 and 13 Paul addresses ways in which members in the church should treat their leaders.

Image © Erik Stenbakken from GoodSalt.com

In today’s passage (1 Thess. 5:1415), Paul turns his attention to the leaders of the church and how they should treat those under their care.Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1415. What are the ways in which Paul admonishes church leaders in regard to how they treat members? Look at the principles there. How can we apply them to ourselves, whatever our role may be in the church? Meanwhile, how should we apply these principles at work, at home, at play, and wherever we find ourselves?See also Matt. 5:43-48.


Paul encouraged the leaders in Thessalonica to “warn those who are unruly” (1 Thess. 5:14, NKJV). The unruly were members who refused to support themselves, who were willfully difficult to deal with, and who had to be confronted.

In contrast, Paul instructs the leaders to “encourage the timid, help the weak,” and “be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14, NIV). The “timid” are people who have little self-confidence or sense of worth. They are anxious and worried about many things. Such people matter to God; so, leadership should encourage them.

The “weak” are those with moral and spiritual limitations. They are gullible, easily discouraged by hardship, and fearful of the unfamiliar. Their hearts might be in the right place, but they lack knowledge and are troubled by the past. They need help to survive.

Paul directs church leaders to be patient with everyone. While the first three counsels in verse 14 are fine-tuned to meet various conditions, patience is always appropriate for pastoral care.

Paul probably continues to have leaders in mind in verse 15. Whenever caregivers are attacked by those who don’t appreciate their admonitions, they may be tempted to retaliate. But when leaders retaliate, it demonstrates that their leadership was not motivated by the spirit of Christ. Crucial to sound church leadership is to keep the good of others in mind.

Verses 12-15 presume that there will be mentors and disciples in the church, and it is important that there be a lot of respect and patience in those relationships. But we should not forget 1 Thessalonians 5:11(“encourage one another and build one another up,” ESV). Pastoral care will often go both ways. There are times when the mentors need to be mentored.

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Monday: Providing Ministry — 4 Comments

  1. Studying is the only way to know for yourself what God is required of us how to live our lives in accordance to His Holy Word. To obey his commandments ....Also not to change or undermined what he says you must do according to His Holy Word. Be obedient!! You obey the Law's of the land. So obey is Word.

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  2. Sometimes to be a church leader is a calling from God, but sometimes it is not. Let me share with you what was happening at a certain church where I used to worship. Our Pastor was someone who coud not associate with anyone. When you meet on the way, he would always act as if he has never seen you before, even if you say hi, Pastor each and every day, he will act as if you are a stranger. Most of us complained that he never visited us in our homes, as previous Pastors used to do. We felt discouraged and never enjoyed his cermons.

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    • Yes, Miriam, some run without being called, and the results are always sad.

      Perhaps those times can be times of growth for us, as we learn that we cannot lean on any other human being, not even a pastor, we learn to lean on God alone. Such a situation also makes it very important for the members to encourage each other and build each other up. Thus what could be a stumbling block to spiritual growth can be turned into a stepping stone to greater spiritual maturity.

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  3. Focusing on what the apostle says is about church life is important, but we should be very careful what we read into the text, and what we read out of it. I would caution against todays artificial fragmentation of the ministry.

    The distinction between leaders and church members is textually obvious only when addressing the need for respect from the church members and it is them that are addressed; and the further admonitions are not necessarily addressed only to the leaders since there is no shift indicated regarding the addressee, so the grammar doesn't seem to lead in the distinction suggested by the study author - the grammatical subject remains the same. The vocative use of "bretheren" is not necessarily a substitute only for the leaders only since its used in 2:17, 4:1, 10, 13, 5:1, 4, 25 and others, also is not since the w h o l e passage is written in 2-nd person plural.

    I am reading the passage as addressed to the whole church. Of course the leaders are included in the admonition, but the others are not excluded, nor are they secondary.

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