1 Timothy 3:1-7
If Lord Jesus is Head of his church, should expect those he appoints as leaders to have similar qualities to his. Two things Jesus said that stand out:
Mark 10:45 “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”
John 13:14-15 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.. I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
The Head, the King, Lord and Teacher, and the servant – remember those powerful prophecies given through Isaiah, servant songs of chapters 42, 49, 50, 53. Servants are what he expects his under-shepherds to be: that they lead their flocks, his flock, by serving. Requires a love for God and for others, commitment and lifelong pursuit of holiness, to “gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Cor. 12:15).
Qualities God says must be present in the ones he approves for leadership are foremost those dealing with character: irreproachable, having a good reputation; pursuing personal holiness, living a godly life. Not necessarily the things you’d look for on resume of potential CEO; more likely to be interested in skill and training and performance. Too often expectations of pastor fit this sort of pattern:
“a person with outstanding relational, leadership and organizational gifts and an entrepreneurial pioneering spirit that will revel in the opportunity to grow the …campus to reach its full potential in both growth and community impact.”
“a team builder, who can empower, equip and then release us to do the work of ministry. …a firm commitment to preaching the Word of God and applying it to our lives; …skills in conflict resolution and building relationships. …a passion for spiritual development and a demonstrated gift of expository teaching.”
World says those things matter most, character is secondary; God says just the opposite, he’s interested in those who have a heart devoted to him, a commitment to serving him, a character and way of life that demonstrates Christ-likeness. Given the proper foundational qualities, a qualified servant-leader is one who can disciple others, who leads his family, and is spiritually mature.
A. discipler v.2g; Titus 1:9
able to teach – commission given to Jesus disciples in Matt. 28:19-20: “make disciples of all nations, …teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Stands to reason Christ would give teachers to his church, would require teaching ability in overseers.
more extensive description of teaching task given in TItus: “holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.”
must be both a student of the word (1 TIm. 5:17) and a communicator of the word who has absolute confidence in the word
for shepherd to give out nourishment from God’s word to others, must be taking in nourishment for himself
for overseer to guard against doctrinal error and correct those who fall into it, must first have grasp of true doctrine
2 Tim. 2:25 “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.”
must also have ability to effectively instruct others so they have understanding of truth – both correcting what is wrong, explaining what is right
Tit. 1:10-11 “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” ESV
for pastor-teacher to carry out Great Commission, must be able to communicate principles, not just spit out facts
requires an understanding of biblical principles, ability to discern which principle or principles are relevant and how they apply to particular circumstances
in making disciples and teaching them, new disciples learn not only principles but process; can then train disciples in their own sphere of influence: parents/children; older men/younger men; older women/younger women.
interesting to note: we train preachers. Bible colleges and seminaries require classes in homiletics, the art of preaching. Even internet sensations, 8-year old boys in suits that you can watch on YouTube, touted as next-generation preachers. But Christ didn’t give the church preachers – he gave and continues to give shepherd-teachers who feed the flock and make disciples and, yes, preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2). Preaching the Gospel, preaching the whole counsel of God is something the shepherd does, but not who he is. First and foremost, he is servant-leader called and equipped by Christ to feed Christ’s lambs (John 21:15).
B. family leader v.4-5
explicit parallel between home and church
here’s the principle: what is life like under the leadership of this man as husband and father in his home? that’s what to expect under his leadership in the family of God.
if lack of proper leadership, management of home, same will be true in church
if wrong kind of leadership or wrong one in position of leadership in home, can’t expect to be suddenly right in church
btw, this applies to both elders and deacons, all those responsible to manage affairs of local church – see v.12
manages his household well
many rule but not well – in a moral sense, beautiful, noble, honourable
not about iron-fisted rule, regimental leadership – the von Trapps before Maria
is about firm loving management by example and principle
will be reflected in demeanor of wife and children, behavior outside the home
if home life is “train wreck”, shows in public – think kids you see/volunteer with in school, people you really wish were in another line at the store
now think about home you enter, not necessarily fancy but tidy, gracious host and hostess, well-mannered considerate children, place that is peaceful and safe and refreshing, where cares of world step back a few paces, where God and his people are welcome and at home – that’s kind of beauty that is typical of household managed well
exercises practical and spiritual leadership
provides for family – not afraid of work – lives within means – good steward of resources – putting God first
protects family – from physical, emotional and spiritual harm – making good choices, setting proper limits, following biblical standard for establishing priorities
cherishes his wife (Eph. 5:25-33)
I am motivated even more to be content with what I already have and not to seek more. Similar to when I was deployed, I learn to cherish [my wife] all the more through the time I was away. Speaking of [my wife], you should see the faces she makes when I tell her things like “I love you more now than when we got married” and “I am so glad for the “solemnization of our vows.””
trains and disciplines his children (Eph. 6:4)
purposefully modeling and training and setting expectations for godly behavior
“I am reading a book right now called Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis. It is really motivating me to look forward to and think about deliberate things I will do as [our son] grows up to prepare him to be a man. It even goes as far as to mention ceremonial events at specific times in his life. I am excited just thinking about it. I mentioned to [my wife] she should plan things for [our daughter] as well.”
obedient and respectful children
TItus 1:6 brought up in the church, cannot be accused of being wild or rebellious
ideally, children that are committed to following Christ; for sure, living in a way that does not bring reproach on family
C. spiritually mature v.6
not a neophyte – either in time or development – newly planted or stunted growth
picture newly planted tree – stakes & guy wires to hold upright, sometimes for 1 or 2 or 3 years, until roots established
needs spiritual track record – remember concept of elder: seasoned, mature man others go to for guidance
newbies tend to think they have (or need to act like they have) all the answers, especially if they just finished getting their degree
must wait before serving in office – give time for first strong temptation to pride to diminish
perhaps this is prime contributor to “ministerial burnout” – college, seminary, pastorate, abandon w/o backward look – average length of pastorate: 4 years; 80% seminary/Bible School grads leave ministry w/i 5 years; 1500 leave minstry each month
for the sake of the church
there’s almost always fallout – never limited to the shepherd only; consequences for the church and its reputation
most importantly: when church does things her own way, brings shame to Christ
remember — it’s Christ’s church, he’s the one building it, he’s the architect; need to follow his plans for it to come out right
since it’s his body and he knows what is best, guidelines/qualifications are for good of the body including the “novice”
Now that we’re past the apostolic age (no more apostles), three basic elements need to converge for spiritual leadership in the church according to NT model: men to be equipped and called by Christ to leadership, a humble desire within those men for leadership, recognition and affirmation by the church of their calling and qualification.
If we as people of God want blessing of God on what we do, must understand God’s expectations to best of our ability, commit to following them. Pray diligently that we would, each one of us, determine to serve God faithfully in whatever capacity he chooses for us. Pray that we would recognize the gifts God has entrusted to others, then do our part to help them serve to the best of their ability. Most importantly, pray earnestly that each one of us would be the people God wants us to be in every part of our lives.