Friday, April 19, 2013

So you want to lead a Church?

1Timothy 3:1-13  The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher,  not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way--  for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?  He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.  Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money;  they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.   And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons.   Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things.  Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well;   for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

 If you were to invite people to apply for positions as church leaders, what kind of people would you want? I suspect we often look for people who have shown success in their lives – they hold down prestigious jobs; they are popular in the community; they are capable managers of people. All too often churches manage themselves like businesses, and look for leaders who can run a successful business.
The two offices of church leader mentioned in 1 Timothy are  πρεσβύτερος / elder and  διάκονος  / deacon. Churches have variously translated these names as bishop/minister/presbyter and steward/deacon/leader respectively. While the names used do not really matter, the qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3 as requirements for a church leader remain unchanged: these are all about moral character rather than success at business.

Pray for your church leadership – that they might grow the qualities of Godly leadership. Now think of one church leader you know who you can encourage in their walk with Jesus.    



Fourth  Sunday of Easter
The Good Shepherd
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.160




  1. Thanks for the reminder. We often fall into the trap of assuming that running a "church" is the same as running a business.
    One is about people while the other is about "stuff".

  2. What I have found rather distessing is a lack of spiritual maturity (which I think is a result of laziness/ tardiness/ non-accountability in a personal relationship with God) in those appointed to leadership roles within the church community. Which makes me wonder - are we actually making disciples. If we aren't, then the challenge for us to face is - are we being disciples ourselves? If we are, then these characteristics given in the Timothy passage, would be visible/ noticeable. Another concern is that those who are 'qualified' in terms of their character development, and who display spiritual maturity, refuse to be considered for leadership roles...