Monday, March 15, 2021

Front Line Leadership

One of the greatest need that is lacking in almost every area of every society is effective leadership. Whether governments, businesses, organizations, churches or families, the rise or fall of them lies upon the effectiveness of those who lead them. The life of the church today depends on leaders who fully depend upon the builder and leader of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) Although this is meant for all believers, it should be the highest priority in the life of church leaders.

There are some things that we should take note of in this verse. First, the vine (Jesus) does not bear the fruit, nor does the Holy Spirit. The branches (believers) bear the fruit enabled by the Holy Spirit. Next, as a branch cannot survive without the vine, the vine needs the branch to bear the fruit. This speaks of an incredible oneness that believers have with Christ. With this in mind let's look at some of the characteristics that make a good leader.

"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

Although the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul is revealing the qualifications for an Elder in the church, the leadership (government) of the early church was first through Christ, then the Apostles and after that through Eldership (and deacon as the need arose). When talking of Elders I mean the leaders of the church. Those who are called by the Lord to oversee, lead, make decisions and build up the church. We can clearly see from the passage above that Elders must be qualified men before being accepted into leadership. God demands moral and spiritual qualifications to be met before a man can lead His people. As you can also see, being a church leader has nothing to do with vocation whether a physician, attorney, educator, being involved in public office, etc., because these vocations can be held by men without spiritual or moral integrity. Now let's look at the qualifications of an Elder (church leader) as shown above. (There are other qualification and much more scripture that I could share concerning church leaders but for the sake of space I will only share the contents of the above passage in a more exhaustive way)

A bishop (Elder) then must be blameless, have unquestionable integrity. He must be the husband of one wife. This does not necessarily mean he needs to be married, but if married it must be to one wife. He must be  temperate, that is disciplined, exercising self-control. He must be sober-minded,  having a sound mind. He must be of good behavior, have a respectable life-style. He must be hospitable, have a fondness and willingness to receive people into his house.  He must be able to teach, skilled in the Word of God both in word and action. He must not be given to wine, not addicted to alcoholic beverages or even allowing them to impair his  physiological functions in the slightest He must not be violent, lash out with the hand or mouth. He must not be greedy for money, work at acquiring money by any means. He must be gentle, patient, considerate have the ability to remain calm. He must not be quarrelsome, contentious, argumentative or one who gets involved with fist fights. He must not be covetous; that is not controlled by the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh or the pride of life. He must be one who rules his own house well, he must preside over and manage his household in an excellent manner. His children must be in submission with all reverence, he must have his children under control showing respect. He must not be a novice, that is he must not be new to the faith but have wisdom, understanding and experience in the things of the Spirit and the Word of God. He must have a good testimony among those who are outside the church, neighbors, fellow employees, etc.

As you can see, God has set up qualifications for church leaders not only for the leader himself but for the protection of the believer. As it was in the early church we seem to be faced with the same lack in the church today, quality, spirit filled leaders called by God to lead His people. The apostle Paul said, "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers..." (1 Corinthians 4:15) A modern interpretation of this verse could be, "For though you might have ten thousand professional clergy, yet you do not have many who nourish, protect, uphold, and lead." Not one Bible college or seminary can produce qualified leaders. This does not imply that a formal education does not have its place or have any value, but it is God Himself who truly raises up and qualifies church leaders. (Acts 4:13). Church leaders must be men who are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. They must be men of godly character, divine ability, and possess the wisdom of God "to lead His children in and out that they not be like sheep which have no shepherd." (Numbers 27: 17)

I believe that even now God is restoring true New Testament leadership to the church. The problem that the church faces is dealing with the many non-biblical concepts of leadership that have infiltrated the church. God will eliminate these concepts by changing the hearts of His people and preparing them to accept scriptural principles and patterns of true biblical leadership. How about you? Are you one of those who God is calling, raising up and qualifying to be a leader? If so, then keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and He will qualify you to lead the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.