What are biblical qualifications of a spiritual leader?
Cotinued from Part 1 and Part 2 of my “What is a Spiritual Leader” posts, I am going to stop doing them in “parts”. I realized that the chapters in the book are very short, so by the end of posting all the highlights from each chapter here I would have around 10-11 “parts”. So instead I will simply title each section of a few chapters or so.
“Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” -I Timothy 3:8-13, ESV
-Spiritual principles are much clearer when we see them lived out in people instead of merely stating them in the abstract.
-A natural leader by any measure, Paul became a great spiritual leader when his heart and mind were captured by Jesus Christ.
-Social qualifications: above reproach, good reputation, not hoping to lead people to Christ by living an example of contradiction.
-Moral qualifications: should be a man of unchallengable morality, temperate, not addicted to alcohol, should not allowe a secret indulgence that would undermine public witness.
-Mental qualifications: a person with sound mind and clear judgement who has control over every part of his personality, habits and passions.
-Personality qualifications: genial and gentle, not a lover of controversy, actively considerate, always seeking a peacful solution, able to difuse an explosive situation.
-Domestic qualifications: manage his own family well, respect and supportative harmony from the family, a spouse that shares the spiritual leaders’ aspirations and is willing to join in the necessary sacrifices. While a leader cares for church and mission, he must not neglect family, which is his primary and personal responsibility. (Family before ministry!). A person’s ability to lead at home is a strong indicator of his readiness to lead in ministry.
-Maturity qualifications: must be rooted and fruitful, stable in character, spiritual in outlook, and not ambitious for position. Promising converts or immature believers should be given a widening opportunity to serve at humbler and less prominent tasks that will develop both natural and spiritual gifts.
-The motivation must be to approach the work willingly, not be coercion.
-Cannot have money in his eyes when service beckons. Does not work as one “greedy for money” (I Peter 5:2).
-Must not be dictatorial. Not “lording it over those entrusted to you”, but must be a worthy example for the people (I Peter 5:3, I Tim. 4:12). Jesus is the chief shepherd; we are assistants and associates working under His authority.
-Clothed with humility (I Peter 5:5). Pride ever lurks at the heels of power, but God will not encourage proud men in His service. Rather, He will oppose and obstruct them. But to undershepherd who is humble and lowly in heart, God will add power and grace to the work.
-An athlete’s crown would wither; even a king’s crown would rust. But no such loss comes to the Christian servant who has chosen treasures in heaven to comforts on earth.