Friday, May 18, 2012

The Required Character of a Church Leader

(Especially for Deacons, Elders and Pastors)

    There were certain qualifications given to the godly leader in the Old Testament.
He had to possess the credentials of godly character (Ex. 18:21;Deut. 1:13). He had
to have a spiritual disposition and enablement from the Lord, and he had to possess
an authorized call or election to the office.

    In the New Testament, God requires His offices be filled by male believer-priests
who manifest the right equipment (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:11, 28; Eph. 4:11f), the right  motivation (Phil 2:13; 1 Tim. 3:1) and the right qualities (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Ti. 1:5-9).

Right Equipment
That is, they have the right gifts for the job. God endows these men with certain gifts
and gives the men to His church (Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 21:15; 24:49; Acts 1:8;
1 Tim. 5:22; 3:1-7; Ti. 1:7). He must be gifted and able to exhort (1 Thess. 2:11,12),
lead (1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13; 1 Tim. 3:5; 5:17), serve (Acts 20:24f; Rom.
15:26-33), share his resources with others (Acts 4; Eph. 4:28),  and show mercy
(Matt. 25; 1 Cor. 12:28).

Right Motivation
     What we mean is that he has the inward call from God. He is responsive to the
gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28), and hence he desires
(1 Tim. 3:1) the office. His motives are biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff).
     Not only does one have the inward call of God, but  the community of  God must
recognize his call as a qualified and legitimate call (Acts 6). He cannot merely assume
that because he may be gifted and has that inner motive that he can assume the office
of elder. He must also be properly called of God through the means of God’s church
(Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4).

Right Qualities or Character of a Godly Leader
     As Kevin Reed points out, “these qualities focus upon the three important aspects
of a man’s life: his moral behavior, his knowledge of Christian doctrine, and his family
life. An elder continually will be in public view. The respect an officer receives often
depends more on an example of good character than from anything else about him”
(Biblical Church Government, p. 9). All godly men should have these qualities, but
the man who is selected for the office of elder must be measured by these qualities
to see if he is ready for the office (1 Tim. 5:22; 2 Tim. 2:2; Ti, 2:7,8).

Some essential characteristics of a good, natural leader:
1.    Courage
2.    Decisive
3.    Discipline
4.    Executive ability
5.    Friendship
6.    Humility
7.    Humor
8.    Inspirational ability
9.    Patience
10.    Righteous anger
11.    Vision
12.    Wisdom

The Biblical Character of a Godly Leader

(As you advance through this list of character traits, rate yourself on a scale of 1-10: 
1 meaning this character trait is lacking, almost difficult to notice in your life; while 10
would mean that you are very, very strong and are a good example of this quality.
How would your spouse, child(ren) or close friend rate you? How would your work
mate rate you?)

1.  Above reproach        (1 Tim. 3:2;  Titus 1:6)
     Not to be laid hold of; nothing is open to rebuke.
     Here is the reference to the general character or sum total of those godly virtues.
     It means you are not open to censure, having an impeachable integrity; in accord
     with Biblical requirement for leadership.

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

2.  Restrained Control    (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Thess. 5:6,8)
     You are temperate. There is a sobriety of life, free from excesses; not inebriated
     with the issues of life. It has the idea of being self-controlled through the work of
     the Spirit of God (Gal. 5; Phil. 2:13)  and by godly wisdom.  It does not carry with it
     the idea of a strictly disciplined person, but rather one who is disciplined and
     properly flexible in the use and application of all things for the glory of God.

     a.   Restrained control in that you are gentle    
          (2 Sam. 22:36; Psalm 18:35; 1 Timothy 3:2,3)

          The idea of gentleness, a very important quality in a godly leader, is that of
          being patient, mild, reasonable, full of grace and graciousness.  This comes to
          light in not defending or insisting on one’s own ways. Gentleness sees people
          as sensitive beings; it deals with people where they are. The gentle man shows
          carefulness in choosing words and expressions so as not to offend unneedfully
          (Gal. 6:1).  He reflects care, affection and good-will toward others (Eph. 4:2).
          He is not abrupt or critical in his communications. It is a quality the godly leader
          is to pursue (1 Tim. 6:11).  In short, he exercises the fruit of God’s Spirit (Gal.
          5:23; Phil. 4:5).

          Here are some characteristic ways one is biblically gentle:      
           (1)  A true gentle man
                 •    approachable (his personality has no sharp edges; after all, you cannot
                      hug a porcupine)
                 •    firm, but diplomatic even when correcting opponents (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim.
                 •    kind and gracious like Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:29; Acts 24:4; 2 Cor. 10:1;
                      1 Thess. 2:7)
                 •    his wisdom is a biblical wisdom exercised in gentleness (James 3:17)

               Score:    __________        __________        __________

         (2) Gentle in that you are not pugnacious   (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7 )
               Not a striker; not prone to violence; not given to blows; not a fighter. 
               You are not one who is harsh with words. You don’t lash out when hurt or
               incite arguments, or alienate people by your attacking manner. Not eager to
               make his point or get his way. You don’t follow through with your hot temper.
               (Prov. 3:30; 15:18; 17:14; 20:3; 25:8; 26:17; Phil. 2:3)

              Score:    __________        __________        __________

          (3) Gentle in that you are not quarrelsome     (1 Tim. 3:2, 3; 2 Tim. 2:14)
              Adverse to verbal fighting, quarreling, arguing. Knows what, when, and
              how to argue rightly. No tendency to delight in outdoing others and defeating
              their ideas and beliefs; thus, no harsh dogmatism or a strongly offensive
              approach toward people. Not a contentious disputer.
              (1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Ti. 3:9)

             On the positive side, you have a sense of peace, tranquility, and calmness.
             You are a peacemaker; one who is able to bring calm to a stormy situation.
             (Eccl. 10:4; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:17)

              Score:    __________        __________        __________

     b.  Restrained control in that you are not greedy    (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7)
          The acquisition of money or things (that which sustains or makes up life) is not
          seen as a high priority in your life. Your life is characterized by simplicity and
          humility in attitude and economic style. Heavenly priorities dominate (Matt. 6:33).
          You possessions should not reflect comfort-seeking in things or in undue
          accumulation of things unneedful. You have a firm conviction in resisting
          dishonest and shady methods for acquiring money or things. Free from the love
          of money.

          One of the deadly sins of a godly leader:
              1 Tim. 6:5-10; Acts 20:33; 2 Tim. 3:6-7

          Score:    __________        __________        __________

    c.   Restrained control in that you are not given to selfish anger     (Ti. 1:7)
          You are not prone to anger; not overly passionate. No  trigger temper or character
          that is generally irritable. Not too easily offended, thus unapproachable and      
          unpredictable in temper. (Pro. 16:32)

          Score:    __________        __________        __________

    d.   Restrained control in that you are not given to much wine  (1 Tim. 3:3; Ti. 1:7)
          You do not linger over wine. You are not over-indulgent or a drunk.  You control
          the wine, it does not control you.  The principle is one of control over bodily
          (Gen. 19; Prov. 20:1; 23; Eccles. 10:17; Isa. 5:11; Isa. 28:1; Luke 21:34;
           Rom. 13:13; Eph. 5:18)

           Score:    __________        __________        __________

     e.  Overall character is that you are self-controlled     (Ti. 1:8)
          You have a mastery over self. Your passions and appetites are controlled.
          You are not lazy, gluttonous or given to filthy talk (Eph. 5:4). You have an
          ordered life, one reflecting heavenly pursuits and priorities. (Acts 24:25;
          Rom. 6:12; Jas. 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:12; 1 Pet. 5:8)

          Score:    __________        __________        __________

3.  Humble ( you are not self-willed)    (Luke 14:10; Phil 2:3; Ti. 1:7; Jas. 4:10;
     1 Pet. 5:5)
     This means that you are not seeking to please yourself. You are not willful,
     obstinate, domineering, arrogant.  You do not stand hard on “everything” you
     believe, and do not insist on your own way, ideas, or beliefs. You have a genuine
     interest in others and in what they say.  Being self-willed is also characteristic of one
     who delights much in his own appearance, performance, or status to the obvious    
     neglect of others.  Humility is being teachable, thinking rightly about yourself
     (Rom. 12:3, 10, 16), seeing yourself before the face of God

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

4.  Holy    (Ti. 1:8)
     Religiously, biblically devout, pious. Consistent in carrying out the basic Gospel
     duties in private and public affairs of life. Living out the Spirit-filled life of Christ.
     (Lev. 11:45; Luke 1:74,75; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:11)

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

5.   Hospitable    (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:10;  Ti. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:9)
     The love of Christ in you exhibits itself by loving your neighbor as yourself. 
     You are kind to others, even strangers; generous.  This love of your heart is
     expressed in the open door, demonstrating a kind, compassionate, welcoming
     Savior. The biblical leader is a pacesetter in this. (Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2)

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

6.  Just     (Ti. 1:8)
     Means upright, righteous.  Impartial in dealing with people. You are able to
     forget personal interests and seek the truth in situations, in inter-personal conflicts,
     or as an umpire over differences. You speak what is right; with an ability to hear
     both sides and weigh the evidence honestly. (Deut. 16:20; Psa. 82:3;  Prov. 21:3;
     Isa. 56:1; Rom. 13:7; Col. 4:1)

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

7.  Lover of good    (Ti. 1:8)
     You have a love of virtue, good men and good things. Your affections are
     attached toward the Lord, to good things and godly people rather than being
     drawn toward worldly pleasures and gratifications.  Your concern is toward
     holiness, Spirit-empowered obedience to God’s Word, an anticipation of the
     world to come. You have a love of God’s truth rather than such things as position,
     fame, abilities, possessions, etc., which are soon to pass away. (1 Thess. 5:21;
     Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; Rev. 3:3)

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

8.  Prudent    (1 Tim. 3:2; Ti. 1:8)
     In other words you have a sound and self-controlled mind. You are temperate.
     Not controlled by impulse but by principle. You are responsible, as opposed to
     a feeling-oriented life. Your life reflects Biblical priorities, demonstrates sound
     thinking, and right decision making because you are thinking God’s thoughts
     about the issues of life.

     Score:    __________        __________        __________

9.  Respectable    (1 Tim. 3:2)
     Well-ordered, well-arranged, decorous in behavior and speech. The term may refer
     to  a. Manners, etiquette, and personal habits; 
          b. Simplicity of life-style rather than eccentricity or extravagance; or               
          c. A general reference to a rightly ordered life.

     You have  inoffensive and unblameable socially acceptable manners. You are
     gentlemanly in your  treatment of women, in your dress, hygiene, eating habits,
     sociability with various people. You are respectable because you respect others
     (men, women, young, old). You are unpretentious, modest, with an easy going
     Score:    __________        __________        __________

Have You Been Called to Pastoral Ministry?

A godly leader must have a proper motivation for leadership. Biblical leadership is a role, as much as it is a quality of character and an endowment of gifts. Biblical leadership is faithful service of a faith-filled servant.  

God has given each of His people a calling. The first, and most important calling is to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  God calls all people through the means of the proclamation of the Good News about Jesus Christ (His sacrificial work of life and death for the sins of His people was accepted by God, so God raised Him from the dead and placed Jesus at the Father’s right hand in the heavenlies). This general calling is a universal one presented all to whom the Gospel is preached,  to receive and believe upon Jesus Christ and His work of salvation. This is an external calling (Matthew 22:14; Matthew 28:19; Luke 14:16-24; Acts 13:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 John 5:10). It is a sincere presentation of the Good News in Christ to sinners, exhorting them to turn from their sins and turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins in belief. This is a universal calling in that the Gospel is freely offered to any and all who would only believe. God does not consider one’s gender, nationality, race, or status in life when giving this call (Isaiah 55:1ff; Joel 2:32; Matt. 11:28; 22:14; John 3:16; Acts 18:9,10; 2 Cor. 5:20; Rev. 22:17)

Yet there is also a special calling from God. This calling is internal. The Holy Spirit brings the Gospel message to the very heart of the person, and that person is able to receive and believe the Good News of salvation. This is also called an effectual calling. It is effectual because the external call is made effective by the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48; Romans 1:6; 8:29,30; 11:29; 1 Corinthians 1:23-26; Hebrews 9:15; 2 Peter 1:10 Revelation 17:14).

What we mean is that a person has the inward call from God, so he is responsive to the gifting and the call of the Holy Spirit in his life (Acts 20:28), and hence he desires the office he has as a believer in Christ (a son of God, a co-heir, etc.).

Every believer has another calling in life. That would be to fulfill the God-given mandate to live life before the face of God by applying his gifts and talents God has given to him to all of life. This calling is a person’s vocation. The vocation is more than a job. It is living out and doing what God has placed within him to be and do in life. It might be as a plumber, or musician, a teacher or an artist. God is honored and glorified by this, as much as He is glorified and pleased by those whom He has called to particular kingdom office (deacon, elder or pastor).

The godly leader also has a more specific call for his role as leader. All Christian men are called to fulfill their leadership responsibilities in the various areas to which they were called (husband, father, son, etc.) This means the man is exercising his “kingship” as vicegerent to the Lord in all areas of his life.

Still others receive a more particular call to church office (1 Tim. 3:1). His motives are to be biblical and Christ-like (1 Peter 5:1ff).  Not only does one have the inward call of God, but also that call must be recognized as a qualified and legitimate call by the community of God’s people (Acts 6). He cannot merely assume that because he may be gifted and has that inner motive that he can assume the office in God’s church. . He must also be properly called of God through the means of God’s church (Jer. 23:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 5:4). This is what is called ordination.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is Ordination?

1.    Just because one believes he is called and gifted, does not necessarily make it so.
The gentleman could be self-deluded.  One important concept in the selection process
to church office is that of emergence. In other words, qualified and gifted men will
emerge or rise to the top and be recognized by God’s people and leaders (Acts 6;
20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1). Scripture tells us that there is both the subjective and the objective
call of a man to office.

2.    Once the man has emerged, existing elders are to formally recognize them and
ordain them to ministry (1 Tim. 4:14). The man comes legitimately to the office, not on
his own, but by the appointment to serve (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23; Ti. 1:5).

3.    Ordination is an act that sets a man apart to the office. It is the church’s solemn
affirmation of and its public witness to his qualification, gifts, and calling.

4.    This is important to the purity and sound governance of God’s Church because
the person so ordained is ordained to a position established by God for His church.
     a.    The elder in official capacity comes as a shepherd appointed to the office by
     b.    He receives the mandate to minister under God with crucial duties
          (1)     as a servant (Matt. 20:25; Lk. 22:26),
          (2)    and as a shepherd (1 Peter 5)
          (3)    with care (1 Tim. 3:5)
          (4)    watching over their souls (Heb. 13:17),
          (5)    through love (Jn. 21:16).
     c.    He will also minister in Christ’s name by
          (1)    showing compassion for the distressed (Matt. 9:36; Mk. 6:34; Jas. 5:14),
          (2)    as one willing to lay down his life for them (Jn. 10:11ff).
     d.    He will guard the church (Acts 20:28)
     e.    He must serve it with diligence (Rom. 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17;
          2 Tim. 2:15)
     f.    He must do so as a good example (1 Pet. 5:3).

5.    So, this godly office created by Christ (2 Cor. 3:9; 4:6) must be perpetuated
with sound, godly and faithful men who are gifted, called, and qualified (1 Tim. 1:11;
3:1-7; 4:14). It must be perpetuated through the laying on of hands by ordained
elders of the church (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 14:23; 19:6; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:6)