Today, I want to share a scripture from 1 Timothy and then discuss how this scripture may impact us (churches) on who we place into roles of leadership. We will take a look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7. We will look at the scripture from 2 different versions: Young's Literal and New Life.
1 Timothy 3
Young's Literal Translation
1 Stedfast [is] the word: If any one the oversight doth long for, a right work he desireth; 2 it behoveth, therefore, the overseer to be blameless, of one wife a husband, vigilant, sober, decent, a friend of strangers, apt to teach, 3 not given to wine, not a striker, not given to filthy lucre, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money, 4 his own house leading well, having children in subjection with all gravity, 5 (and if any one his own house [how] to lead hath not known, how an assembly of God shall he take care of?) 6 not a new convert, lest having been puffed up he may fall to a judgment of the devil; 7 and it behoveth him also to have a good testimony from those without, that he may not fall into reproach and a snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3
New Life Version
What A Church Leader Must Be Like
1 It is true that if a man wants to be a church leader, he wants to do a good work. 2 A church leader must be a good man. His life must be so no one can say anything against him. He must have only one wife and must be respected for his good living. He must be willing to take people into his home. He must be willing to learn and able to teach the Word of God. 3 He must not get drunk or want to fight. Instead, he must be gentle. He must not have a love for money. 4 He should be a good leader in his own home. His children must obey and respect him. 5 If a man cannot be a good leader in his own home, how can he lead the church? 6 A church leader must not be a new Christian. A new Christian might become proud and fall into sin which is brought on by the devil. 7 A church leader must be respected by people who are not Christians so nothing can be said against him. In that way, he will not be trapped by the devil.
In these scriptures, we see 15 characteristics that an elder should have. I believe the 'key' word is characteristic. Here is the list:
3. Able to teach
4. Not violent but gentle
5. Not quarrelsome
6. Not a lover of money
7. Not a recent convert
8. Has a good reputation with outsiders
9. Above reproach
10. Husband of one wife
13. Not given to drunkenness
14. Manages his own family
15. His children obey him
We could argue and debate who wrote this letter and when it was written and who the "real" audience of the letter was intended for. These are all very valueable because it helps us distinguish the context and context is vital. However, for the look into the characteristics; I am going to by-pass that process.
I find it very intriguing that the "qualifications" are more about a persons character and how they live than their skills and how they apply their skills to their "work".
What implications does this have for the church ?
When we as a church are looking to fill deacons, elders, church council members or the various committees that we "need" to fill; how do we look for individuals ?
When there is a staff position that has a vacancy and we are pursuing candidates, what is on the top of our list ? When we as leaders in the church are recruiting "servants/volunteers" who do we target ???
I think that we may need to look at a persons inside a lot more than we normally do.
too many times, we look at their skills, the talents that they bring to the table. We get "awed" by their talents and think how their talents can soar us to the next level. we need to examine their hears and what their actions would be like when they have "power".
Maybe, we would be more 'successful' if we looked at the heart. If we took the look of characteristics and that was our priority. The skill or talent could be learned.
In my case, I know that I want individuals who love God, love others and express a servant's heart and brings a side of gentleness. this is much more important than _______________.
What is the "decision factor" for you ??