Leadership is About Character
I Tim 3:1-13
3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
- Leadership is a Necessity
- Biblical governance is not strictly spelled out
Think about all the different styles of church governance.
Baptists are congregational
Assemblies of God, some Non-denominational Churches and some Pentecostal Churches are individual and pastoral led
Churches of Christ and Bible Churches are Elder led
Roman Catholic Church is purely church leadership led.
Our church is Elder led with elements of Congregationalism.
- Character of leaders is spelled out
What I have experienced is that if you don’t have character, it won’t matter your church government. A group of people who do not know how to love and serve one another will not thrive. Therefore, character will be spelled out! On the other hand, if you do live well together, any form of church governance will be fine.
Character is foundational and effects all issues related to leading people. Therefore, it matters how you are acting relative to the standard of Jesus Christ. This is what will make you safe as a leader.
Jesus said if you want to be great in the kingdom of God, you will be the servant of all.
In John 13 Jesus washes the Disciples feet, including Judas, and then tells them to show love in the same way.
A leader will take their responsibilities seriously and be out front in issues of sacrifice and service. I believe this is true in every area of life as it relates to how to best lead people. A leader seeks to make sure that people who are under their authority are thriving.
Adolph Hitler: a man with great leadership skills. Joseph Stalin, a man with great leadership skills. But, many people suffered under their lack of character as it relates to treating human life with the utmost dignity and respect. They fail the character test.
Gifting without character is dangerous!
- Character is developed
Hence the term elder. The development of character is a lifetime pursuit. Each person has different strengths and weaknesses. To minimize our weaknesses and develop different and increasing strengths is where we are going.
Since character is developed, we do not get to quit working on it. This also means that church leaders are in process too. So, the question is not so much whether or not leadership is perfect, but whether or not leadership is humble, teachable and responsible.
Leadership is not about position, but responsibility.
- Leadership Roles in the Church
Organizations have different levels of leadership. The Scouts have leadership positions for both Scouts and adults. And different people manage their different leadership responsibilities differently. Taking your responsibilities seriously, trying to do a good job and be respectful of all of the people under your authority is a key aspect of doing a good job in leadership. What is best for the group?
- Apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist administration, leadership etc.
Roles in the early church.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
- Elders, overseers and deacons
Acts 6 for deacons
Romans 16:1 Phoebe, a deaconess. Also here verse 11 “The women” deaconess.
Elders exercise spiritual oversight and are responsible for the teaching and direction of the church. This does not mean that they do all the teaching or make all the decisions. It means they are responsible!
Deacons have the same character requirements, but are not required to be “able to teach.” The ministry of deacon is more practical as it relates to service of people in the church.
- Ministry leaders
Youth leaders, Children’s ministry leaders, Money management, Facilities management, these are just what is. Those who serve the church by taking on these responsibilities are in leadership. Character matters.
III. Character Qualities of Leaders
- Leaders are to be like Christ
In their character. The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many!
- These lists are basically the same for elder and deacon
My favorite character quality in the list is above reproach. This is a general term that incorporates the others and if you want to cut to the chase you can just use this one.
The verb reproach means to express disapproval or criticism of. Well, this is a standard that will be hard to meet. Jesus certainly received lots of criticism.
If we wanted to think of terms that fit in a general sense, we should say spiritually mature. Men of faith who love God and others.
- Manage self, family and the word
Self: Not greedy, not driven by sensuality, not driven by pride.
Family: Good relationship with wife and kids are managed in an appropriate way. (submission, sacrifice and a willingness to hold others accountable and knowledge of what a good life looks like.)
Spiritual maturity: what is really important in life? How do we grow spiritually? What does the Bible teach about life?
Good reputation: Inside the church: without reproach. Outside the church: are you the same at church as in “The world?”