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If you want to be a leader in the secular world – be it in a school, a business, or in a political role – you need to have a long record of stellar performance, a winsome personality, and an absurd amount of giftings. But when it comes to church leadership, the same is not true.

In fact, I want to show you just a snippet of the qualifications God is looking for in those who will lead His church. You can find an extended list of these qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, but for the sake of time, take a look at the abbreviated list from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NIV) below:

“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer [that is, a leader of the church] desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 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 respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

There is a lot there but I want you to look back one more time and take note of how many “skills” are recorded on this list of leadership qualifications.

According to my count, there is only one skill necessary to be an overseer (or “leader”) in the church – they must be “able to teach.” Besides this one exception, every other item listed in this series is a character trait a person must possess before obtaining the title of a “leader.”

This marks an important distinction between what makes a leader in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of the Lord. The world looks almost exclusively for capabilities in a potential leader while the Lord looks almost exclusively at character. In other words, the world is concerned with what you do while God is concerned with who you are.

This reality should redirect our focus to what’s truly important – our character. You may be the most gifted communicator in the world, have an angelic voice, and have a gift of evangelism that would put Billy Graham to shame, but if you are not a man or woman of integrity, all of those gifts are null and void in the eyes of the Lord. He’s looking for men and women of great character, not great capabilities. After all, when you realize you’re simply a tool in the hand of the One who formed everything out of nothing, you quickly realize that you don’t have to be advanced or able, you just have to be available. He’ll take care of everything else!

With this in mind, let us strive to develop our character to match the list we looked at earlier. This and only this will increase our leadership capabilities in the eyes of the Almighty.

How can you develop your character today?

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

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©Grant Gaines 2020


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