Setting the Example

Good leaders prioritize well, execute tasks and communicate vision. Great leaders set an example for others. 1 Timothy 3 outlines the expectations for the two offices in the church—pastors and deacons. In my experience in church life, I’ve heard many stories and watched many pastors. Sometimes churches treat pastors and other leaders unfairly. Sometimes pastors and church leaders fail to lead by example and damage their churches. Paul describes for Timothy the character of those who will lead the church in the role of elder and those who will serve the church in the role of deacon. When viewed as a list of character traits for church leaders, I think we get the correct interpretation for who elders and deacons are to be. Competencies matter for pastors and deacons, but competencies alone do not qualify one for office. In a conversation recently, a pastor friend shared that nearby church called a man because they “liked the way he talked.” But now the church is divided, and it is possible the pastor will resign soon. Character counts. Pastors and deacons must exhibit godly character because they are to set an example. I’ve always believed that the best pastors will be good husbands and fathers who admit their flaws and imperfections but strive for holiness. The same could be said of deacons and any other church leader for that matter. One’s ability to communicate or teach is important, but dishonesty, immorality or arrogance will undercut one’s credibility in an instant. To church members, have high expectations first for the character of your leaders, then explore his competencies. To church leaders, prioritize your character. Submit yourself to the Word of God. Pursue personal accountability. Learn from your critics. Seek to become like Jesus. Then by all means improve your competencies. But beware lest your competencies and gifts take you farther than your character can keep you.

Sunday School Lesson for the Biblical Recorder originally published here

Focal Passage: 1 Timothy 3:1-13

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