Many churches use these words from I Timothy 3 as a guide for choosing elders and deacons to serve as leaders in the church. We are, however, all given gifts and abilities that are to be used for the Kingdom of God. While we may not all become elders or deacons, we will all serve the church in some capacity. It may be helpful, then, to take a look at the guiding principles behind the lists of characteristics to better understand what a leader is, according to these words.
Read I Timothy 3 through once to get a sense of the passage.
Read a second time, highlighting in one color the positive qualities and behaviors of a leader. Highlight in another color what behaviors and characteristics a leader should avoid.
Divide 2 pages into two columns. In one column, make a list of the characteristics – positive ones on one page, ones to avoid on the second page. In the second column, next to each characteristic, try to discern the value or principle behind the characteristic.
|Positive Qualities (page 1)||Principle or Value|
|He must be faithful to his wife||Respect for the institution of marriage, and if married, faithful in the marriage relationship|
|Characteristics to avoid (page 2)||Principle or Value|
|Must not be a new believer||Maturity in faith; wisdom|
Compare the lists of positive qualities and characteristics to be avoided. What patterns do you see? How does this change your conceptions of leadership qualities?
Application: Assess your own leadership abilities according to these lists. Choose two or three areas that you would like to develop. Pray for wisdom and guidance as you consider some spiritual disciplines that may help you develop in your spiritual growth. Keep yourself before God — only he can transform you — and if possible, find someone in your community who can serve as a person to whom you can be accountable.