10. The Local Church Leader Will Have a Private AND Public Ministry.

After having been in church leadership for over twenty years now, I’ve personally encountered so many examples of young men, and even older men, who desire to enter into a vocational, full-time ministry of the Word if for no other reason than it fulfills their desire to want to stand up in front of people and talk. Proverbs teaches that fools delight in airing their own opinions, and in pulpits around the world there seems to be no shortage of men (and women) who desire to teach and preach their own opinions to people. There’s no place for men like this in leadership positions of a local church. The role and responsibilities are for those who are above reproach with regard to their desires.

During the same twenty plus years, there has been one distinguishing feature, however, by which to tell whether or not a man’s desire to lead a local church is in fact above reproach. That feature is his home and what he does with it. For many local church leaders, the home is a place to hide away from the demands and pressures of a needy congregation, not to mention a needy and dying world. The man who got into local church ministry because he was lazy and because he likes to be heard airing his own opinions, is also generally the man who uses his home as a cave to hide from other people.

But the man who desires to use his home as a lighthouse for the hurting and needy, is generally the man whose desire to teach and preach is genuine, authentic, and filled with the sort of compassion that is necessary when leading any group of people. In other words, when you see a local church leader loves the public ministry of the word, you can generally know that his motives for so doing are pure when you see a private ministry of the home. I don’t know for sure whether or not this is what Paul intended to convey when pairing these two concepts together. But the application that comes from pairing them together is a needful one to communicate to a local church who wants to know what kind of man should be leading a local church. I’ll unfold each of these one at a time with a closer look.

a. Hospitality has the root word “hospital,” which is a building that houses and cares for urgently sick people. The concept of a hospital, as well as a hospice, developed from the biblical concept of hospitality.

However, this word has been radically redefined in our culture today. It has largely come to refer to simply having people over to your house to eat or hang out. The Greek word is philoxenos, and it is a compound word joined by two concepts.

The first is philos, and it’s pretty obvious what that means: to be friendly toward, to love. It is one of the two kinds of love we see in the Bible: agapao or agape, phileo or philo. The third type of love in the Greek language is eros, which is sexual love. We don’t see that in the Bible. Philos is the word for “brotherly love,” and from it we get names like Philadelphia, which means the city of brotherly love.

The other concept built into the compound Greek word
philoxenos, is the word xenos, meaning stranger, foreigner, alien, immigrant, a person we don’t know or have not heard of before.

Joined together, this word means to be fond of strangers, to be a friend to foreigners or people we don’t know. And what a change this is from the way we have come to redefine it and understand it today! This is quite a task, isn’t it? To be fond of people you don’t even know? Yet, “this was a trait highly esteemed by both the early church…and ancient society” (Mounce,
The Pastoral Epistles, p. 173). Paul uses this qualification for a local church leader not only here with Timothy, but also with Titus at his church in Crete (1:8).

Now I do want to clear up an understanding of the first century meaning of the word. When I say “strangers”, generally speaking it was Christian or believing strangers that are being referred to here. In that day and time, when the mission was in full force, both in Jesus’ day and in the early church, travelling was all done by foot. And though there were inns and motels, and that sort of thing, even those were in homes, sort of like our bed and breakfast inns today. And in many of those house-inns, brothels and other notorious businesses were being operated out of the homes. So that was simply a pay-for-hospitality with some extra’s thrown in…if you know what I mean…sort of business going on.

In Christianity, though, it was assumed that you would gladly welcome in other believers, not only because they would otherwise have to stay in motels and bed and breakfast inns, but also because they couldn’t afford them anyway! To the early church it was unthinkable that if you were travelling through town for the ministry of the gospel that you’d stay anywhere else but in someone else’s home.

In addition, persecution was rampant during this time, and if you did stay in an inn, you’d be risking public exposure to being reported, captured, kidnapped, or arrested. So it was always smarter to stay with people you could trust anyway.

Also, widows and orphans were a huge priority of the local church in that day. So where else did they come to live and be cared for than in homes. A major way of practicing hospitality in that day then, was to house these sorts of people who could not possibly care for themselves otherwise.

But notice I said earlier that generally speaking, hospitality was kindness and friendship being shown to believing strangers. There are significant exceptions to that statement which even call into question the word, generally. For example, in Luke 14:12 and following, Jesus instructs His followers with this teaching on hospitality to all kinds of people, and not just our friends.

“Then he turned to his host. ‘When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,’ he said, ‘don't invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you’” (Luke 14:12-14,
NLT)

That doesn’t sound like believing strangers only, does it? I don’t believe it actually can only refer to believers. And here’s why. Because at the last judgment, believers are going to be separated and distinguished from the unbelievers based on how they treated others less fortunate. In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25, here’s what Jesus teaches.

"But when the Son of Man* comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations* will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

"Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,* you were doing it to me!'" (25:34-40,
NLT).

The feeding of the hungry, the giving of drink to the thirsty, the clothing of the naked, the caring for the sick are all activities done in the home. The only one mentioned that isn’t taking place in the home is the visiting of prisoners.

Some scholars would argue over whether the phrase “my brothers and sisters” is referring to the people Jesus is speaking to, or the people He is speaking about. I believe Jesus is referring to the believers He’s talking to, and the phrase “the least of these” is being used to refer to the people Jesus is talking about. The language makes complete sense that way. One more example which seems to confirm this understanding is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“‘A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

‘By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant* walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

‘Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,* telling him, “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here.”

‘Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?’ Jesus asked.”

“The man replied, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’

“Then Jesus said, ‘Yes, now go and do the same’” (Luke 10:30-37,
NLT).

In this story hospitality is happening big time. Only, in this story there’s two interesting features. First, Jesus purposefully turns things backwards for His Jewish audience, because in the story, the Jewish man is hurt and the Samaritan man (whom Jews hated passionately) is doing the caring. That was life-changing, ego-impacting, mind-altering teaching for Jew, who was thinking they would never be someone who would receive help from a Samaritan.

Then, there’s the other interesting feature here of a Samaritan turning to a hospital of sorts to care for him and offer the hurt Jewish man hospitality. He wasn’t able to take him to his own him because there was probably no medical care at his house. So He took him to an innkeeper who would have operated somewhat like an urgent care facility, perhaps.

Now my point here is this:
Hospitality is about being a friend who is fond of strangers, whether they are believers or unbelievers. And the Bible teaches that this is something ALL Christians are to excel at, and local church leaders are to be exemplary at…beyond all reproach. Consider the support for this belief in the only other two passages in the Bible where the same Greek word, philoxenos, is used.

“Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them…When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9a, 13,
NLT).

This was written to the Christians at the church in Rome. And how applicable this first verse is for us today. For it is all too common to be nice to strangers on the outside, but be fearful on the inside…even if the strangers are other believers! How weird is that?! If the average Christian in America face the challenge of housing another Christian, they’d act all weird and strange and fearful. But Paul says here that Christians are always to be ready to help them. And not only that, but they’re to “be eager to practice hospitality.” That means they were to be pursuing it always.

“ ‘Practice’ means ‘pursue’ or ‘chase’ and sometimes means ‘strenuous pursuit.’ Christians, and especially leaders, are not simply to wait for opportunities for hospitality but are to pursue them” (Kent Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, p. 79).

The other text where we have used the Greek word for hospitality, is 1 Peter 4:9, which teaches all Christians,

“The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (
NLT).

The “those” to whom Peter referred to here necessarily includes those to whom Jesus referred in the first passage I referred to above in Luke 14…and those to whom Jesus referred to in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25. It would include strangers, and not just believers, and definitely not just our friends. Notice that Peter conjoins the idea of hospitality here with eschatology, or the teaching of the future. The fact that the world is going to end soon should motivate fervent love for one another, which is shown primarily in sharing our homes with those who need a meal or a bed…or just a home in which to live and be loved and be cared for. Certainly it would most definitely, however, include God’s people too. For Paul was clear in Galatians 6:9-10,

“So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith” (
NLT).

Now as this relates to a man who wants to be or is now a local church leader, the bottom line is this. You simply cannot be fearful or hesitant in the slightest degree in exemplifying hospitality. And why is that? Because the very essence of hospitality is the very essence of the gospel. And for local church leaders, they must exemplify that the gospel is not just about words of preaching and teaching, but it is about deeds of lifestyle and love.

The very message of the gospel is about helping those who cannot help themselves. To be negligent in practicing and pursuing and chasing opportunities for hospitality is to be negligent in preaching the gospel…just as much as it would be if you didn’t pursue opportunities to preach and teach it with words. That’s why I believe Paul may have put these two qualifications together: showing hospitality, and apt to teach. To run your mouth about the gospel but have it be absent in your home is not beyond or above reproach. It is a glaring contradiction when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ll close on this point with John MacArthur’s words.

“The door of the Christian home, as well as the heart of the Christian family, ought to be open to all who come in need. That is especially true of the overseer. Elders are not elevated to a place where they are unapproachable. They are to be available. A pastor’s life and home are to be open so that his true character is manifest to all who come there, friend or stranger” (1 Timothy, p. 108).

Next, I'll spend a few minutes unpacking what Paul means by "apt to teach."

10 comments:

Pedro Anosike says:
at: 5/11/2010 08:13:00 AM said...

In the midst of so many articles, this one stands out for me in the way it treats the issues of the heart and the practise of obedience to God's word without sounding condemning and legalistic. The teaching can hardly be made any clearer.Reading it with a open heart, fills one with not just knowledge but lots of grace and enthusiasm to practise hospitality in an increasing measure .You could discern the heart from which is written.

My spirit is so lifted up. May the Lord be praised and may he continue to bless you brother and the body of Christ.

I have a question and will appreciate your response if possible.

(a)The statement " A local church Leader will have a Private AND Public Ministry" is it referring to " AN INDIVIDUAL WHO STANDS AS HEAD/LEADER OF GOD'S ROYAL PRIESTHOOD SIMILAR TO A HIGH PRIEST OR LEADERS WHO OPERATE MINISTRY GIFTS,ELDERS AND ALL WHO OPERATE SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THE MANY MEMBER PRIESTHOOD = CHURCH"

I am seeking clarity because of statements like; especially true of the overseer, A pastor's life, ...qualification for a local church leader.... but also with Titus at HIS CHURCH in Crete.

Do you believe that each local assemble of God's royal priesthood (church) should have a chief/high priest.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/11/2010 09:11:00 AM said...

Pedro...thanks for your kinds words. I'm delighted and thankful to God that this particular post helped you so much.

To answer your question, I'm not sure I see a direct correlation of your focus to the subject matter I've written about. However, I'll be glad to address it.

I believe the Bible teaches that leadership operates within a team. I see NT local church leadership as fundamentally different from any OT concept of the priesthood for two reasons.

1. The priesthood represents Jesus Christ and all believers in these ways.

a. The high priest was a shadow of Jesus Christ, who entered into the holy of holies once and for all to make the final sacrifice for sins. HE and HE alone is the High Priest, and no other correlation should be made in the context of the local church, such as a pastor with the High Priest. This is only because that office was reserved for deity.

b. The other priests are now represented by ALL believers, per 1 Peter 2:9, I believe. ALL believers now make up a royal priesthood, and Jesus Christ is our High Priest.

2. The OT Priesthood doesn't have a place for a team or group of men (plurality of elders) working together as a team to build something. The priesthood of the OT was there to maintain. The team of leaders in the NT is there to build.

That said, Ephesians 4:11 ff. gives the plan or blueprint for leadership in the local church. My notes on this are located here in my third message on the series here at our local church.

In those notes you'll see that i believe the Scriptures teach that leadership operates in a team or plurality of elders, but that each team of leaders is led by a leader. I believe the Bible indicates that all leaders are equal to each other, but that there is a leader of the leaders.

This is nothing new. The Trinity is the single greatest example of this. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal to each other in every way: divinity, power, attributes, etc. But there is a subordination of sorts. The Spirit glorifies the Son, and the Son glorifies the Father. The Spirit does what Jesus tells Him to do, and the Son did what the Father tells Him to do.

Marriage operates in much the same way. Husband and Wife are equal with each other (1 Peter 3:7). But there is a subordination, so that the wife submits to the husband as the husband submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:23 ff.).

In summary, the local church has only ONE High Priest, and it's Jesus Christ, with all believers being the priesthood. But the local church has a team of leaders (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) who operate in their various giftings as elders, with a leader bringing focus to the work of building the local church.

Hope that helps! Feel free to continue to interact here. It's helpful for all.

Pedro Anosike says:
at: 5/12/2010 07:40:00 AM said...

Rob, thank you for responding to my question even though it looked like it had no correlation to the article.

If is not asking too much, please give me further clarification to your statements below.

"But that each team of leaders is led by a leader. I believe the Bible indicates that all leaders are equal to each other, but that there is a leader of the leaders".
Please provide scripture(s) from the NT with name(s) of any leader of the leaders. And the name of the office/gift because I have not come across a ministry gift referred to as leader of leaders. That will help me understand this pattern of ecclesiology.
I am not sure if the trinity is a good example but in any case, how is the father subordinate to the son and Holy Spirit if we were to follow that line of thought. This is given the fact that the fivefold ministry, elders and the spiritual gifts are to submit to one another in their operation.
Is marriage scenario a good scriptural example of how leadership functions in NT church? I will appreciate if you look at it closely again. The scripture states that woman should not exercise authority over a man (1Tim 2:12). And when we talk about leadership, we are referring to the exercise of authority. Paul’s argument for woman submitting to man is on the bases that (a) man was created before the woman. (b) The woman transgressed first and then the man. So man has authority (particular grace/unction) over the woman. The woman submits to her own husband as head in marriage relationship. Likewise, Christ was before the church and the church submit to him as creator and head. Seniority is what seems to be playing out here I think. But the concept describing the functioning of leadership I will describe it as division of labor being an economist.

"With a leader bringing focus to the work of building the local church". I thought Eph 4:12-14, emphasized that the five-fold ministry joint function is what brings focus as directed by the Holy Spirit given that the church is a spiritual house being built with lively stones by the Lord himself. The various perspectives that each ministry brings, encourages towards verse 13 that gives the advantage in verse 14. Then verse 15 emphases love as vehicle that should guide the entire operation of the ministry while the only object to be built into is the head who is Christ. Verse 16, clarifies (a) that the whole body operates from Christ that is from one spirit stating equality (b) each part is supported by others when each functions properly (c) then the whole body grows in love given that each renders help to the others.
What I want to learn from you is this. Does a local expression of the body of Christ have an individual that can be called The Pastor, Senior Pastor or Junior/assistant Pastor.
If the answer is yes, does it follow that each assemble will also have The Evangelist, The Teacher, The Prophet and The Apostle? If the answer is no, please what is the explanation for that?
Is it proper to call the rest of the ministry gifts Pastors because they are in eldership/leadership? This is given that Pastor is one of the ministry gifts and not a name for patronizing anyone.
If the answer is yes, please explain the reason(s). It will help me.
Is there any gift in the scripture called gift of leading/leadership different from operating the ministry gifts and spiritual gifts.
The correlation of my question(s) to that teaching, exhortation, correction and rebuke God has brought through you to the body of Christ has to do with the bit that initially addressed ambition to be leader of local assemble of saints. My thought is we can only desire the gifts God has made provision for and not create one from our imagination.
If any of my questions is unwise, do feel free to ignore and that will be fine with me.

Thank you for your devotion to the scriptures. Many are being blessed including me.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:14:00 AM said...

Pedro, this is a tall order for a comment section of the blog...but I'll be happy to try and give your questions satisfactory answers. Thanks for your honest interaction. What I've done is to list your question followed by my answer. The answers are so long that I'll have to split it all up in various, sequential comments.

"But that each team of leaders is led by a leader. I believe the Bible indicates that all leaders are equal to each other, but that there is a leader of the leaders".

Your Question: Please provide scripture(s) from the NT with name(s) of any leader of the leaders. And the name of the office/gift because I have not come across a ministry gift referred to as leader of leaders. That will help me understand this pattern of ecclesiology.

My Answer: The most obvious one would be apostolic, since apostles plant churches and give oversight to those who help grow it. Outside of this title, instead of actual name(s) given to such leaders in a team, we have examples: Timothy led the church in Ephesus and put into place elders; Titus led the church in Crete and put into place elders; Paul led the church in Ephesus first and put into place elders, etc. So it seems that within a team there is a leader who sets elders into place and then leads the church and the team.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:14:00 AM said...

Your Question: I am not sure if the trinity is a good example but in any case, how is the father subordinate to the son and Holy Spirit if we were to follow that line of thought. This is given the fact that the fivefold ministry, elders and the spiritual gifts are to submit to one another in their operation.

My Answer: The Trinity, I believe, is one of the best models. However, I don't recall saying, nor do I believe, that the Father is subordinate to the Son, and the Son to the Spirit. The Bible teaches the opposite. It reveals in the Gospels that Jesus was submissive to the Father, and the Spirit to the Son. Further, the model is simply to point out two things: equality and submission. They are all equal with one another, but there is a natural subordination which produces order. And in a team of church leaders, they are all equal, but there seems to be a natural subordination that brings order.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:15:00 AM said...

Your Question: Is marriage scenario a good scriptural example of how leadership functions in NT church? I will appreciate if you look at it closely again. The scripture states that woman should not exercise authority over a man (1Tim 2:12). And when we talk about leadership, we are referring to the exercise of authority. Paul’s argument for woman submitting to man is on the bases that (a) man was created before the woman. (b) The woman transgressed first and then the man. So man has authority (particular grace/unction) over the woman. The woman submits to her own husband as head in marriage relationship. Likewise, Christ was before the church and the church submit to him as creator and head. Seniority is what seems to be playing out here I think. But the concept describing the functioning of leadership I will describe it as division of labor being an economist.

My Answer: Again, I don't recall saying nor do I believe that the woman submits to the man. You are correct in your interpretation of 2 Timothy 2, I think. And the picture of marriage is clear enough: the wife submits to the husband as the church submits to Christ. And conversely, the husband loves the wife and Christ loves the church. Again, there is equality, but subordination to produce order in the home. As an economist you would enjoy the concept referred to in theology as "economic subordination" versus "ontological subordination". The latter refers to simply the idea, concept, or principle of subordination within the marriage or the Trinity, with the truth that they are all equal. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal in nature and attributes. Husband and Wife are equal in partnership (1 Pet. 3:7). The former refers to a practical subordination, and deals with how the members of the Trinity relate to the world, creation, etc. Similarly, husband and wife though equal have varying relationships with regard to how they interact with the world. That much is spelled out for us in passages like Titus 2, for example. Matt Slick has produced a great article on this here.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:15:00 AM said...

Your Question: "With a leader bringing focus to the work of building the local church". I thought Eph 4:12-14, emphasized that the five-fold ministry joint function is what brings focus as directed by the Holy Spirit given that the church is a spiritual house being built with lively stones by the Lord himself. The various perspectives that each ministry brings, encourages towards verse 13 that gives the advantage in verse 14. Then verse 15 emphases love as vehicle that should guide the entire operation of the ministry while the only object to be built into is the head who is Christ. Verse 16, clarifies (a) that the whole body operates from Christ that is from one spirit stating equality (b) each part is supported by others when each functions properly (c) then the whole body grows in love given that each renders help to the others.
- What I want to learn from you is this. Does a local expression of the body of Christ have an individual that can be called The Pastor, Senior Pastor or Junior/assistant Pastor?

My Answer: Yes and No. No, because there are no such titles for this person in the New Testament. Yes, because there is support and evidence for a man operating in a position like this, though not in anyway like our business models where the Pastor is the CEO, Associate Pastor like the Vice President, etc.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:15:00 AM said...

Your Question: If the answer is yes, does it follow that each assemble will also have The Evangelist, The Teacher, The Prophet and The Apostle? If the answer is no, please what is the explanation for that?

My Answer: It does not necessarily follow that every assembly will have all five offices or functions within the same context. It is probable, however, that the team of men leading would have one, two, three, or possibly four, and in rare cases (in my experience) even all five offices or functions. The fundamental distinction here is the move away from titles and toward function. I lead a church in Statesboro, GA. Right now, it would appear that my function in the church is a pastor or teacher. However, I'm only in the middle of my life right now, and we really don't know what Christ will use me for next, whether apostolic, evangelist, etc. The important thing is not to focus on titles, but on gifting. And a leader of a church who is leading a team of leaders can be apostolically gifted, evangelistically gifted, pastorally gifted, prophetically gifted, etc.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:15:00 AM said...

Your Question: Is it proper to call the rest of the ministry gifts Pastors because they are in eldership/leadership? This is given that Pastor is one of the ministry gifts and not a name for patronizing anyone.
If the answer is yes, please explain the reason(s). It will help me.

My Answer: Again, we want to move away from concepts that seem to point to some sort of hierarchy, because I don't see that in the NT. The "pastor" in Eph. 4:11 is simply one of five types of gifted men Christ gives to the church. There is no hierarchy necessarily implied here. Rather, the roles seemed listed in order of building a church. First it's planted or built with apostles and prophets. Then it's grown with evangelists. Then it's maintained with pastors and teachers. That's all Paul is saying here, I believe.

My Name is Rob says:
at: 5/27/2010 08:16:00 AM said...

Your Question: Is there any gift in the scripture called gift of leading/leadership different from operating the ministry gifts and spiritual gifts.
The correlation of my question(s) to that teaching, exhortation, correction and rebuke God has brought through you to the body of Christ has to do with the bit that initially addressed ambition to be leader of local assemble of saints. My thought is we can only desire the gifts God has made provision for and not create one from our imagination.

My Answer: what if the lists of gifts are merely the beginning instead of a complete catalog of giftings? What if Paul was simply writing many of the gifts down with concepts and words that made sense, instead of forming actual categories, offices, or roles around spiritual gifts? The reason I ask these questions is because in all the spiritual gifts there is other scriptural support for the truth that I am to be doing all of those things. I may not have the gift of hospitality, but I am to be hospitable, for example. I may not have the gift of giving, but I am to be giving. So the listings of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, 1 Peter 4, etc. seem to simply be a sampling of the gifts the Spirit gifts, followed by exhortations to use those gifts, surrounded by many other exhortations for all believers to do all those things. The emphasis on the gifts, however, is simply this: if you seem to be especially gifted in one particular area, then do it, do it well, and do it with all your might.

With reference to the leadership gifting, yes there seems to be an actual gift of leadership. I believe Paul references it in 1 Corinthians 12. But it doesn't follow that 1 Timothy 3:1 and the desire to be an overseer there is necessarily connected with the gift of leadership. In other words we can't tell a guy who finds himself in 1 Timothy 3:1 that he must have the spiritual gift of leadership before he can be an overseer. There is no requirement per se for that understanding in the actual list of qualifications in 1 Timothy 3. Rather, we find a man who's life is characterized by a whole host of exemplary behaviors along with the skill in teaching. This means I can have the spiritual gift of giving, and be an overseer...or the gift of mercy and still be an overseer. And I can have the spiritual gift of leadership and be an overseer. So they two (overseer and leadership) do not necessarily have to go together in order to function in that way.

Pedro, these are awesome questions. I trust my answers have in some way spurred you on to further study and consideration. Please feel free to continue interacting with me in the future by email (rfwilkerson@gmail.com) or facebook (www.facebook.com/rfwilkerson). Blessings to you!