Posted on September 1, 2009 by Chris
This blog is nothing if not eclectic. Sometimes I fear that truly important things may get lost amidst the discussion of favorite music, funny videos, and such.
In case it was “lost in the shuffle,” I don’t know that I’ve made many posts more important to healthy churches than one I made several weeks ago, “Pastor, Get Out of the Way.” Thankfully, it’s sparked a number of conversations among young guys that are hungry for an intentionally biblical philosophy of ministry—”why we do what we do.” Outside of getting the gospel right, what could be more important than understanding our pastoral responsibilities?
For those interested in pursuing the topic further, this very brief and fairly informal description of biblical offices from TCBC may be of help: Office Definitions (pdf). It’s a pregnant statement that would be worth unpacking in time, but it’s a start. And, of course, Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and The Deliberate Church are must-reads. I’d also recommend Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership and The New Testament Deacon, along with Bill Hull’s The Disciple Making Pastor, which was tremendously influential on the “every member ministry” and “decentralized leadership” burdens of TCBC.
Give the office synopsis a read. Think about it. Improve upon it. Respond here if you’d like. But implement it, by God’s grace—especially if you’re getting ready to plant a church! It’s more than a matter of church polity. It’s a biblical strategy that has implications for all of church life.
Filed under: Biblical Leadership, Church Polity, Elders, Ministry Musings, The Local Church | Tagged: Biblblical Leadership, Deacons, Decentralized Leadership, Elders, Every Member Ministry, Mark Dever, Plurality of Elders | 11 Comments »
Posted on March 23, 2009 by Chris
I’m wrapping up a 6-part series entitled “Guy Talk” that has focused on men as the leaders of our homes and churches. Yesterday I wanted to deal with the character of a godly leader, and I wanted to preach expositionally through a male equivalent of Proverbs 31. Does the Bible contain such a passage? Sure. I’d suggest at least two, in fact. But we usually dust them off only when we’re electing elders and deacons. In 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 God has given to us inspired “scales” by which to weigh potential leaders. Such scrutinizing of character is a crucial thing, for choosing leaders is probably the most important decisions a church makes. That said, if that’s all we use 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 for, we’re doing our men and churches a disservice.
1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 provide an inspired list of virtues God values in Christian men—virtues the gospel produces in all Christian men by the Spirit. As such, they list character qualities for which all Christian men (and women, for that matter) should strive. If we preach them only with leaders in mind, we rob the church of helpful instruction. Indeed, we run the risk of unintentionally dividing our assemblies into “the haves” and “the have nots,” communicating that some men naturally meet these standards, though most never will. What a devastating and debilitating thought! Instead, we should point men to these Spirit-produced virtues as the ideals for every Christian man, whether he is an officer in the church or not. And as we do this, we must encourage men that whereas they may not currently manifest these virtues to a sufficient extent to qualify as an elder or deacon, they can and should as they grow in Christ.
Put it this way: the virtues described in 1 Timothy 3 are essentially a description of the “godliness” for which we should be training ourselves in 1 Timothy 4:7. With that in mind, let’s preach them as goals, not just prerequisites; targets, not just scales.
Filed under: Bible Exposition, Biblical Leadership, Devotional Thoughts, Ministry Musings, Preaching, The Local Church | Tagged: 1 Timothy 3, Christian growth, Christian virtues, Deacons, Elders, Titus 1 | 1 Comment »