Workers for Your Joy: The Call of Christ on Christian Leaders

By David Mathis

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Workers for Your Joy: The Call of Christ on Christian Leaders

By David Mathis

... Show All

David Mathis Examines the Qualifications and Calling of Church Leaders for a New Generation of Congregants and Leaders

We live in an age increasingly cynical about leadership—some of it for good reason, much of it simply the mood of our times. Still, the risen Christ continues the counter-cultural work he’s done for two millennia: he appoints leaders in his church—not as a burden, but as a gift to his people. “He gave . . . the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11–12).

What is the nature, calling, and work of local church leadership? Pastor and seminary professor David Mathis considers the elder qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 not only as prerequisites but as daily necessities to carry out joyfully. This accessible guide aims to serve current and aspiring pastors and elders, as well as church members who want to know the expectations for their leaders and how to pray for them. From the words of Christ to Peter and Paul and Hebrews, the New Testament casts a vision for church leaders that is good news to churches and leaders alike: joyful workers for the joy of their people.

  • Great Training for Current and Aspiring Pastors and Elders: Expands on the nature and work of local church leadership through the framework of its qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1–7, Titus 1:5­–9, and other passages
  • Useful for the Whole Church: Aims to help full-time pastors, lay elders, deacons, and seminary students, as well as church members eager to explore the true nature of leadership in the church and to pray intentionally for their own pastors
  • Explains 15 Virtues Church Leaders Should Pursue: Mathis shares Spirit-given competencies that Christian leaders can draw upon week in and week out to do the work to which Christ has called them 

Read Chapter 1


David Mathis

David Mathis serves as senior teacher and executive editor at, a pastor at Cities Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and an adjunct professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis. He and his wife, Megan, have four children. He is the author of several books, including Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines.

Product Details

Category: Church Ministry
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 352
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 14.9 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7807-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7807-6
ISBN-UPC: 9781433578076
Case Quantity: 36
Published: September 13, 2022

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Pastors We All Want

Part 1: Humbled: Men Before Their God
Chapter 1: How Christ Appoints His Pastors
Chapter 2: Not a Novice—or Arrogant
Chapter 3: Pastors Are Teachers
Chapter 4: Pastors Keep Their Head in a Conflicted World
Part 2: Whole: Men Where They Are Known Best
Chapter 5: Self-Control and the Power of Christ
Chapter 6: The World Needs More One-Woman Men
Chapter 7: Does Drinking Disqualify a Pastor?
Chapter 8: Does Your Pastor Love God or Money?
Chapter 9: The Tragedy of Distracted Dads
Part 3: Honorable: Men Before a Watching World
Chapter 10: The First Requirement for Christian Leaders
Chapter 11: How Pastors Win (and Lose) Respect
Chapter 12: Love for Strangers and the Great Commission
Chapter 13: The Strongest Men Are Gentle
Chapter 14: How Do Pastors Pick Their Fights?
Chapter 15: Why Christians Care What Outsiders Think

Commission: Christian Leadership versus Modern Celebrity
Appendix 1: Who Are the Deacons?
Appendix 2: A Word for Leaders: On Plurality and Team Dynamics
Appendix 3: What Is Anointing with Oil?
Appendix 4: What Is the Laying On of Hands?
Appendix 5: How Old Should Elders Be?
Study Questions
General Index
Scripture Index
Desiring God Note on Resources


“David Mathis is right that two thousand years later, the biblical qualifications for elders ‘continue to pulse with relevancy to the everyday work of Christian leadership.’ What a great help this book would have been forty years ago when I was trying to build church-wide consensus around how the local church is to be led. What makes this book unique is the way pastoral joy, patient exposition, and personal application are woven into the fabric of Christian leadership. May God use Workers for Your Joy to raise up thousands of leaders who do not lord it over their people’s faith, but ‘work with you for your joy’ (2 Cor. 1:24).”
John Piper, Leader, Teacher, and Founder,

“As an author who has written two books about leadership in Christ’s church, I know of no other book like Workers for Your Joy. David Mathis leads you through an examination of the biblical qualifications of an elder in a way that is penetrating, personal, and practical at every point. As I read chapter after chapter, each dedicated to a pastoral qualification, I was both deeply convicted and encouraged. As you read, you cannot help being amazed at the generosity of our Lord in gifting his church with this kind of leadership—all for the joy of his people. And I have to say: I love that joy is the central organizing theme of this book about pastoral ministry! I cannot think of any member or leader in the body of Christ who would not benefit from taking some time to stroll through the garden of practical gospel wisdom that makes up the pages of this book.”
Paul David Tripp, Pastor; author, Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church and Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

“Our culture is averse to authority, partially because of the sinful abuse of authority. Still, God intended for there to be leaders in our churches, and David Mathis helps us understand in this biblically saturated and pastorally wise book what the Scriptures teach about elders. The duties and responsibilities of elders are unpacked clearly and powerfully chapter by chapter. We desperately need qualified and godly leaders in our churches, and this is the ideal book for church members considering who should lead a church, for leaders as they consider whether they are qualified, and for seminarians and college students as they study what the Scriptures teach about elders.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The antidote to bad authority is not no authority. It's good authority. And we need a whole lot more good authority—humble, whole, and honorable—in the church today. I commend David Mathis’s wonderfully clear and biblical guide to Christian leadership that glorifies God.”
Collin Hansen, Vice President for Content and Editor in Chief, The Gospel Coalition; Host, Gospelbound podcast; coauthor, Rediscover Church

“At a time when Christian reflection on leadership seems to have been hijacked by ideas from the corporate world, it is refreshing to see a book on leadership that derives its material from the Scriptures. The major leadership crisis facing the church today has to do with character, not with method or strategy. The Bible has a lot to say about that. This is the focus of this book. It reflects deeply on what the Scriptures teach in a way that challenges our attitudes and behaviors and encourages change towards Christlikeness.”
Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka; author, The Family Life of a Christian Leader