Careful who you put in charge
This has been on my heart for a while, today the LORD has me write about this subject.
This is not aimed at one particular church and pull examples from several I have witnessed, of you see your situation below then pray thanks if you are in the “what you should be” and pray also if you see any of the “what you should not” category.
Titus 1:5 (ESV) This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
A lot has been said of church leadership, especially in the movement that I belong to where a leader can yield quite a bit of power locally.
I love that Paul was called by God to write on this subject in his letters to both Titus and Timothy. It is as if God had the foreknowledge (which we know that he did) that society and the standards of society would change.
What must a leader be?
We read from both passages that a leader (some texts say Bishop, some say overseer) must be the following:
THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE – not a man into polygamy, not a man who is in a series of lewd relationships, not a man given to same sex attraction.
This also discounts women leaders.
ABOVE REPROACH – not subject to questions about how he could possibly have been chosen as a leader, this one gets cloudy in our modern day church, we have people getting positions they were never called into and people serving in areas that they either do not wish to or feel obligated to because they were just honoured to be asked in the first place. (Or because they are in a certain family or legacy)
I am not referring to the missionary church or the church plant as in many cases, people help out based on need and gradually develop their calling from there. This happened to me as I was able to teach small group bible studies as developed a will and a calling to learn and later to teach.
This goes hand in hand with what is said in Timothy about the leader not being a recent convert, I have seen folks be elevated too quickly, become proud of their new status and fall from grace, truly sad and both parties (both leadership and the man who fell) need prayer in that situation.
ARROGANT – The leader should be someone you come to for counsel and should be of a gentle spirit.
We all all fallen creatures who ALL have an issue with pride, (if you say you don’t then you also have a problem with lying) one of the hardest parts of leadership is to not exalt yourself as an example when someone is bearing their soul to you. We are commanded to be humble, to treat that person with the gentleness that Jesus has treated our many sins.
SOBER – the text says “not given to much wine” I would go further and link the verses in Romans about not causing a brother to stumble.
In the Western world we have a culture of excess, we claim poverty but have riches that 30% of the world will never see in ten lifetimes. When we get into something and make it into a demi-God, like the almighty bottle (take it from a guy who used to bow at its altar at least 4 times a week) that grabs you slowly, entices you in with the taste and by the time you realise it has you, you are already too far gone down the path to ever enjoy it responsibly again.
If you can do it, then more power to you, if you are drunk or buzzed a lot, then you have the beginning of a problem, if you got to my stage and was annoyed he had to defer my first drink long enough to do a days work, then you are in idolatry and God does not want his leaders serving two Gods.
HOSPITABLE – if you are going to lead people then you have to get to know them. You have to be willing to show your home and your lives as an example to those you wish to serve in leadership.
Also, in order to give good counsel and not to bear false witness or give options that are not factual about believers in your body that you know little about. I have had this happen to me and it leads to your estimation of that leader as well as the reliability of his facts with other leadership members called into question.
Lastly, if you are not hospitable to all then how will you know who requires extra prayer, who requires more from you, we have a culture of just “skating through” and it does not cut it anymore.
GREEDY – he has to be temperate, not after money, he has to be honest. Can you imagine trying to respect someone in leadership in your fellowship who has a wide reputation for being a crook. It just does not add up.
HOLY – his life must show a “set apart” for Jesus Christ nature, he cannot be the one in the cheap seats telling off colour jokes during the lesson.
He must be an example to the newer believers, one who attracts folks coming to him for discipleship.
SELF-CONTROLLED/DISCIPLINED – is probably the hardest one (as if there is an easy one) as when you are a leader, you have so many more eyes on you than before, you have other leaders and also church members.
What I am trying to say is, it is not just the appearance of these things, it’s the actual living them out on a day by day basis.
ABLE TO TEACH – you will notice this is the last one on my list, but when people try to make themselves available for leadership positions in the church, this is usually top of mind for them.
In my mind it was the last thing I wanted, I love to teach, however I don’t want it to be about me as in the man, I want it to be Jesus being centre stage and like being refreshed on a hot day, you don’t thank the LORD for the jug, simply the water.
1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
What he shouldn’t be.
(Here is where people get upset)
INVISIBLE – he should be attending things that the church puts on, have folks over (not just the ones he likes) and actually wish to find out where the prayer points are.
CONNECTED – Pastors need to be connected with others in their movement in order to identify trends and share from the wisdom of their peers.
Elders/Deacons need to be the conduit for connection between the body and upper leadership, this whole Sunday facade that has become commonplace really needs to stop.
The facade goes as follows 1) Shake laypersons hand 2) give warm greeting 3) smile a lot 4) advise that you will see them next week.
TOO BUSY – if you are too busy to do what someone has asked you then you need to pray about stepping down. Leadership is a calling, not just a kudos point or a way to show you are holy, so if you are there because of who you know or because you like seeing your name on the bulletin, then it perhaps should be time to prayerfully back out.
The layperson in the church buys into what the leadership are doing and there is only so much that folks without position can do, if the leadership by in large does not show a certain element of buy in, then the church as a whole wont either.
An example of this is hospitality, if the boots on the ground don’t see the ones who are called to lead see it as a priority, then they won’t either. End result is the church remains fragmented and never grows together as it is harder to break up clicks once they have started. Many churches in the US today are just a gathering of groups under the one building.
This spreads like a cancer, and it starts from leadership down. in the end you end up with falsehoods such as the smile on a Sunday/but secretly hate you the rest if the week mentality. We are supposed to be one body, can you imagine the state of your body if the brain didn’t talk to the hands or feet.
How do you measure up?
Now you have read all about leadership in the church and what the bible states that it should be, how is your ministry application coming along? Has it developed prayer points? If you have anything you would like to add then please let us know below
Thanks for reading and please share or comment as the LORD leads