I wrote another post explaining that we as Christians need to be more accepting of non-believers and realize that we do not hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven. We also need to communicate how to obtain salvation appropriately with any and all non-believers. There is an important aspect to the church that also needs to be discussed, who becomes a leader in the church. This idea is just as important as the ideas presented in the other post and the ramifications of making the right decisions are just as serious and long-lasting. The leaders in the church have enormous influence on where the church is going and what the members believe. With that in mind these decisions should not be taken lightly. The verses below give the church a good idea of the characteristics of a good leader should be.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 – The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Acts 20:28 – Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
1 Timothy 3:8-13 – 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.
These four verses give us a vision of the characteristics contained in a quality, Biblical leader. They also give us the idea that we need to be very particular about the type of leader that we as Christians need to choose. This stands in stark contrast to the openness of who we should accept into our churches. However, it is an important reminder of how important church leaders are in our lives. We trust them to reinforce Biblical lessons to our children, we trust them to give us the right context and insight into complicated Bible passages. Certainly not to be forgotten is the fact that we trust all of our church leaders to lead the church in a Biblical fashion and not succumb to the temptation to follow the ways of the world.
As important as it is for churches to be open and accepting of anyone who wants to follow Christ, it is just as important to be equally restrictive with who we chose as leaders of the church. Christians need to remember the important roles that leaders play in our churches and be very stubborn and single minded when choosing them. If we as Christians do this, I believe it will ultimately lead to stronger and healthier churches and church goers.