February 16-22

SDA Sabbath School Lessons

#8 Leadership and
Administrative Gifts

Read for this  
week's study:

Matt. 20:20-28; Phil. 2:4-11; Rom. 12:1-3; Acts 6:1-7.

Memory Text: "Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:27, 28, NKJV).
Key Thought: Leadership or administrative gifts deal with the management and supervision of the church. A person with such gifts will be in the forefront of church administration.

The Lessons:

The Discussion: We invite youi to join the  SSNET moderated email discussion group. You are also warmly invited to join a group discussion of this lesson Sabbath morning, January 18, (usually 9:30 AM) with your SSNETlocal Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.

Last Week Next Week First Quarter

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Sabbath -
 February 15 


From a biblical perspective, a leader is a person with a God-given capacity and responsibility to influence a specific group of God's people so that group can fulfill God's purposes for them.  There are four significant points in this definition:  (1) The leader is gifted, either through natural talents or special gifts given by the Holy Spirit.  Because of that giftedness, the leader can influence the group in a significant manner.   (2) Leaders must feel a God-given sense of responsibility.  They must feel accountable for those whom they influence.  (3) Leadership is directed toward a particular group or a particular task.  (4) The leader must be convinced of what the Lord's will is for the group.

"The people will know intuitively whether or not the . . . [leader] loves them. It is a feeling produced by the Holy Spirit Himself within the church." - C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1984), p. 115.

Sunday -
 February 16

SERVANT-LEADERSHIP (Matt. 20:20-28).

The Bible advocates a leadership philosophy called "servant-leadership."  Servant-leadership produces in people a feeling of respect and love for leaders because they are doing God’s will and obviously have the best interests of their followers at heart.

How did Jesus explain servant-leadership to His disciples?  Matt. 20:20-28?

First, the mother of John and Peter asks Jesus for leadership positions for her sons.  Jesus immediately asks whether they are willing to take responsibility for these positions.  Though they say Yes, Jesus lets them know that they have no real idea what they are asking for or what the future holds.  Then He makes the statement, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matt. 20:27).  This is the core concept of servant-leadership.

Read Romans 12:1-3.  What is the "measure of faith" spoken of in verse 3?  What does Paul mean by the words, "Think of yourself with sober judgment" (Rom. 12:3, NIV)?

The key Greek word for "servant" is doulos, which also means "slave."  A true Christian leader is a voluntary "slave" to Jesus and to those whom he or she wishes to serve.  (See Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor 9:19.)  This perspective on leadership produces an attitude of servanthood on the part of the leader. The key concepts of servant leadership are:

Text Principle
John 13:35 "All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" (NIV).
Mark 9:33-35 It is serving, not commanding.
Rom. 12:3 It is being respectful, not looking down on others.
1 Peter 5:3 It is being exemplary, not domineering.
Rom. 12:10 It is being equal, not superior.
Eph. 5:21 It is being submissive, not coercive.

Think about some leaders you have known and your own leadership efforts.  How do they and you match the principles presented in this lesson?

Monday -
 February 17


The gift of leadership is one of the tools the Holy Spirit uses to advance the kingdom and inspire people to do great things for the Lord.

Definition: The gift of leadership is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ more than to others to set goals in accordance with God's purposes for the future and to communicate these goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together for the glory of God.

Fill in the following chart, and study the Bible verses that pertain to the gift of leadership.

Text Principle of Leadership
1 Tim. 5:17   
Acts 7:10   
Acts 15:13-21   
Rom. 12:8   
Heb. 13:17   
Luke 9:1   

Those with the gift of leadership are to make plans and set goals for the advancement of the kingdom.

Do you have the gift of leadership?  Answering the following questions will give you a general idea:

Yes No Do people seem to listen and agree when you speak with them?
Yes No Do people tend to believe in you and follow your leadership?
Yes No Do people accept the goals you suggest?
Yes No Do you often end up as the leader of groups you join?
Yes No Do things go smoothly when you are in charge?

Read Romans 12:3 again.  Why is Paul so insistent on this point?   See 3 John 9, 10.

Some people seek leadership positions because they want to be in charge, and some people refuse to accept leadership positions because they want to be humble saints.  Are either of these reasons valid?  If not, why not?

Tuesday -
 February 18


The Greek word apostle means "someone who is sent."  Apostleship was a special designation for the original 12 followers called by Jesus, plus Paul, who was also directly called to be an apostle (Acts 9:15, 16).

Study of Paul's ministry gives us further insights on apostleship.  He claimed the same authority of the "super-apostles" (2 Cor. 12:11, NIV), based on divine revelation (2 Cor. 12:1; 1 Cor 9:1) and "signs, wonders and miracles" (2 Cor. 12:12, NIV).  Paul also went into unentered territory and started new churches.  He claimed spiritual authority because he was the founder of those churches. (See 2 Cor. 11:16-28.)  He was, nevertheless, very careful how he used his authority.  (See 1 Cor. 9:12; 2 Cor. 10:13-16.)

The gift of apostleship in the contemporary church is probably best defined in terms of front-line pioneers who go into new areas, plant churches, and care for regional groups of churches when they are initially organized.  In this sense, the gift is related to the gift of missionary.

Study the following passages and analyze Paul’s position on the gift of apostleship. What was his attitude? How did he use this gift? How did he not use this gift?

Text Comments
1 Corinthians 9  
2 Corinthians 10   

Those with this gift often exhibit:

  1. a strong sense of God’s call to establish new work.
  2. a forceful personality that trusts God to do what is necessary to establish the authority of His work.
  3. multiple gifts.
  4. a sense of what God wants to do and the courage to cooperate with Him.

"The conversion of sinners and their sanctification through the truth is the strongest proof a minister can have that God has called him to the ministry.  The evidence of his apostleship is written upon the hearts of those converted, and is witnessed to by their renewed lives.  Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.   A minister is greatly strengthened by these seals of his ministry.

"Today the ministers of Christ should have the same witness as that which the Corinthian church bore to Paul’s labors." - The Acts of the Apostles, p. 328. (Italics supplied.)

Wednesday -
  February 19


The King James Version calls this the gift of governments, but that sounds more like the gift of leadership we have already studied.  The Greek word used for the gift of administration is different from the one used for leadership.  People with the gift of administration are planners and goal-setters.  They are the ones who can organize a program or project and make it work.

Definition: The gift of administration is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to understand clearly immediate and long-range goals and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.

The Greek word translated "administration," kubernesis (1 Cor. 12:28), is actually the term for a ship’s captain, the one who guides the ship to its destination.  Today, the same word is applied to airline pilots in Greece.

What happened when a ship's captain made a wrong administrative decision? Acts 27:11, 15, 41.

Note examples of the gift of administration in action:

Text How was the gift used?
Acts 6:1-7   
Luke 14:28-30   
Titus 1:5   

Do you have the gift of administration? Answer the following questions that will help you decide whether you have this gift:

Yes No Do people recognize your ability to organize ideas, people, and activities?
Yes No Is it easy for you to make plans and set goals and organize ways and means of accomplishing them?
Yes No Do you tend to organize unorganized activities almost automatically?
Yes No Are you usually able to get people to do things without a lot of persuasion or pressure?
Yes No Do you enjoy being assigned a task and then carrying it out in an organized way?

Can you share an experience where this gift has been a specific blessing to the church to which you belong.

Thursday -
 February 20

THE GIFT OF FAITH ( 1 Cor. 12:9).

All Christians are admonished to have faith in God (Mark 11:22).  We are also told that we are saved through faith that is in itself a gift from God (Eph. 2:5, 8, 9).  Beyond this, however, there is another kind of faith that is a direct gift of God to certain Christians.

Definition: The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to a greater degree than others to discern and accept with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for His work.

This kind of faith looks to the future rather than to the past.  People with this gift can see what God will do, even when the task seems impossible to accomplish. They are the inventors and promoters of plans, programs, and projects that would never become reality if this gift were not present.

How did Abraham exemplify this kind of faith?  Rom. 4:18-21; Heb. 11:8-10.

Some characteristics of people who have this gift are:
  1. An unusual desire to accept God's promises at face value and claim them until God fulfills them, just as He says He will.
  2. The recurring experience of sensing that God is going to do something unusual, even though most around you do not have this kind of assurance.
  3. An attitude of expectation that in various crises God will act.

Study the following statement. How does it reflect the function of the gift of faith?

"The success attending Nehemiah's efforts shows what prayer, faith, and wise, energetic action will accomplish.  Living faith will prompt to energetic action.  The spirit manifested by the leader will be, to a great extent, reflected by the people.   If the leaders professing to believe the solemn, important truths that are to test the world at this time, manifest no ardent zeal to prepare a people to stand in the day of God, we must expect the church to be careless, indolent, and pleasure-loving." - Christian Service, p. 177. (Italics supplied.)

Friday -
  February 21


For more information on leadership styles and administrative and organizational plans, look up the following texts: Exod. 18:13-27; Ezra 10:16,17; Neh. 13:23-25.   Notice that Ezra took three months to make a decision because the circumstances called for careful analysis.  Nehemiah, on the other hand, took direct action (to say the least).

For additional information on the gift of faith, read Hebrews 11, and identify the people listed there who had the gift of faith.

See also Steps to Christ, "Faith and Acceptance," pp. 49-55.  This chapter outlines a faith that all Christians should have.   But notice that those with the specific gift of faith have this attitude, plus an extra measure of ability to put it into action.   See also chapter 1 of the book Education, "Source and Aim of True Education," for an outline of the dynamics of human development as envisioned by the Lord.

Ellen White on servant-leadership: "The thoughts must be trained.  Gird up the loins of the mind that it shall work in the right direction and after the order of well-formed plans; then every step is one in advance, and no effort or time is lost in following vague ideas and random plans.  We must consider the aim and object of life, and ever keep worthy purposes in view.   Every day the thoughts should be trained and kept to the point as the compass to the pole.   Everyone should have his aims and purposes, and then make every thought and action of that character to accomplish that which he purposes.  The thoughts must be controlled. There must be a fixedness of purpose to carry out that which you shall undertake." - Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 656.

  1. Think of someone you know who has, the gift of administration.  How does this gift aid the church family?  What would your group be without this person?  Give some specific examples.
  2. What is the difference between the faith that all believers have and the gift of faith?  Describe, a situation in which you, have seen this gift in action.

SUMMARY:   Servant-leadership is a gift designed by God and exemplified in the Bible.  The gifts of leadership, administration, and faith make servant-leadership effective.   These are the gifts that, in many ways, are the engine that drives the machinery of the church as she seeks to take the message of the kingdom to the world.

Inside Story

Miracle in Glasov

James Zachary

"What are those Americans doing to you?" the middle-aged Russian man asked his wife as she returned from an evangelistic meeting in Glasov, Russia.  "What drug are they giving you?  You have changed so much I hardly recognize you!"  The man was suspicious of the dramatic change in his wife's countenance.

For several years the man's wife, Kima, had been a manager in a factory and a loyal member of the Communist party, with all of its privileges.  Her high salary provided many comforts her countrymen could only dream of.

But the fall of Communism brought an abrupt end to Kima’s privileged lifestyle.  She lost her job and could not find another.  She became depressed and lost all hope for the future.  She turned to alcohol and tobacco to ease her pain.  Each day she seemed to sink lower into a pit of despondency.  She began to consider suicide.

Then a young woman invited her to attend some meetings called the "New Way of Life."  Kima was an atheist; she had no time for American Christianity, and the Bible had no place in her plans.  But what else was there?  She doubted it would help, but finally she agreed to go just to see.  God had other plans for her.

"At the meetings I was amazed.  The people were so friendly," Kima testified.  "I listened to their prayers, and the Bible touched my heart."  Kima purchased some books following the meeting.  As she read one book about Jesus, she checked every reference in the Bible she had received.  "I felt strangely warmed as I read.  I could not put the books down.  I spent eight hours in study."

Now Kima is a new person.  "I love the Bible.  I think I have been born all over to a new life," she says.  "If these meetings had been delayed one week, I would have been dead. I had lost all interest in living any longer.  I had made plans to end my life.  Thank you for coming to Glasov."

Kima is attending one of four house churches in Glasov, and is preparing for baptism.   She has requested materials so she can help her friends conquer alcoholism.   "I no longer yearn for a high position and a large salary.   I would be happy to be a street sweeper, as long as I can know Jesus and have His joy in my heart."

Kima found a new life. James Zachary is global evangelism coordinator for the Quiet Hour.

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