photo by Extra Medium
I was reading timothy the other day and I noticed some great information Paul had written about church leaders and some of the guidelines for choosing them. So here I want to look over them, because I think they hold a powerful and convicting message for many today.
Let’s begin by looking at 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Here is the passage below:
“ 1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
Now, there is a lot being said in these verses, so let us go back and look for the key points. Paul begins in verse two by saying that an overseer or church leader must be above reproach. That alone is powerful. Are you, as a leader, living your life so that you are above reproach from those around you?
Paul continues in verse two by listing a few characteristics. Go back and reread them and then think about what your life looks like. I know I need to work on a few of these. Are there any characteristics of leaders listed here that God is impressing on you that need to be changed in your life?
In verse three Paul is basically saying that a church leader should not have any addictions, whether to money, alcohol, or anything in this world. Further along in verse four Paul also says that a leader should manage their family well first, because if they cannot even manage their family, how can they oversee a church? What does your family look like? Are your family affairs in order? When we have family problems, it distracts us and takes our attention away from other activities such as overseeing a church. So Paul is trying to say that to avoid a split attention, make sure your family is in good order before you start taking on leadership roles in a church. Also as an example to others you should be leading your family well. If you cannot lead a small group like a family it will be hard to lead a larger group like a church.
About a year ago Buddy preached a sermon on Father’s day where he created a family from the audience. A father a wife and two kids. He was referring to the fact that many men are comfortable leading a group of 10 or 20 or more people at work but these same men walk into their homes are intimidated to lead the family spiritually. Without any preparation he had the father read a small devotional, ask some questions of his family regarding how the passage applied to their lives and pray. Many people mentioned how it challenged them that leading your family spiritually can be easier than one might think if they have not been in the practice of doing it.
Finally, in verse seven, Paul says that a church overseer must have a good reputation with outsiders. Paul says this because the overseer is basically the figurehead, or at least one of them, for the entire church, so if they have a bad reputation with outsiders, then the outsiders will assume the rest of the church has a bad reputation.
These are some of the key points from verses 1-7 of 1 Timothy 3. You might want to go and read the whole chapter because there is so much more there that God has for us as leaders.
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