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Preach Leadership Qualifications When You’re Not Electing Leaders

42-18377596I’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.


One Response

  1. Thanks Chris. I have been trying to explain this truth to the men at the rescue mission for the last four years. Unfortunately, very few have been able to grasp it. That also goes for most of the church’s I have been a part of, with the exception of the current one thankfully.

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