Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: James 1:19

Friday, January 22, 2010

Qualifications for church leaders

Titus 1:5-9

5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Crete, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, had a large population of Jews.  The churches there were probably founded by Cretan Jews who had been in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2:11) more than thirty years before Paul wrote this letter.

Paul had appointed elders in various churches during his journey (Acts 14:23).  He could not stay in each church, but he knew that these new churches needed strong spiritual leadership.  The men chosen were to lead the churches by teaching sound doctrine, helping believers mature spiritually, and equipping them to live for Jesus Christ despite the opposition. 

6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
(no striker - not violent, given to filthy lucre- greedy for money.)

8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine to both exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Paul briefly describes some qualifications the "elders" or "bishops" should have.  He gave Timothy a similar set of instructions for the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 3: 1-7; 5:22).  Notice that most of the qualifications involve character, not knowledge or skill.  A person's life-style and relationships provide a window into his character.  Consider these qualifications as you evaluate a person for a position of leadership in your church.  While it is important to have an elder or pastor who can effectively preach God's Word, it is even more important  to have one who can live out God's Word and be an example for others to follow. 

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