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GOD’S STANDARDS FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Special Study                                                                                                               11/05/2015

GOD’S STANDARDS FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Titus 1:5-9

 

In the Old Testament, God selected and appointed the prophets and preachers directly. During the earthly ministry of Christ, He Himself called and commissioned the disciples and the Apostles. Christ also appointed Paul directly when He saved him, empowered him and put him into the ministry. The Holy Ghost called and sent Barnabas and Saul (Paul) into the work of the ministry. As the church became established, the Apostles were now responsible for appointing and sending other ministers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 14:21-23; 15:40,41; 2 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:5). Paul had appointed Titus. Titus was now to appoint ministers and leaders for all the churches in every city in Crete. These qualifications for church leadership are given to guide him and to guide us in choosing and sending pastors and teachers to feed, teach, lead, guide and grow the churches.

 

The church is only as strong as its leadership. Weak leadership can only raise a weak, dying church. Ignorant, compromising leadership will build an ignorant, sinning church. A careless leadership will make the church carefree and worldly. A permissive leadership can only raise a sickly, backsliding church. For the church to be a rapturable New Testament church, the leadership must be selected according to New Testament standards (2 Timothy 2:2).

 

  1. SCRIPTURAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP

      Titus 1:5-7a; Acts 14:21-23; Exodus 18:20-22; Isaiah 52:7-11; Malachi 2:5-9; Acts 6:3,4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4-10; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 2:2,19-22.

 

All significant institutions and organizations in the world have required standards for their executives and officers. Industries and ministers have specific requirements demanded of those who would serve in different capacities. Without such standards, civilization would collapse. The standards in the industry are high. The church cannot afford to be sentimental and break down required standards for the selection of its leaders and ministers. If the judiciary, the banking industry, the medical profession, the building industry and others in the world keep to their standards of selection, appointment and promotion, how much more should the church keep to required moral, spiritual, scriptural standards! If we remove the ancient landmarks and lower the standards raised up by Christ the Head of the Church and the Apostles who laid the foundation as wise master-builders, the world will rise up in judgment against us on the day of judgment.

 

If we ask, “who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16), we answer, “Our sufficiency is of God, who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament” (2 Corinthians 3:5,6). Paul the apostle said, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). He was saved by the grace of God (1 Timothy 1:13-15). He was given the privilege of ministry through the grace of God (Ephesians 3:8) and He was made effective in ministry by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 3:10; 15:10).

 

Saving grace (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8), Sustaining grace (Romans 5:17,21; Hebrews 4:16), Sanctifying grace (Acts 20:32; 2 Corinthians 1:12), Strengthening grace (2 Timothy 2:7-9; 1 Peter 5:10), Serving grace (Romans 12:6-8); Hebrews 12:28), Sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9) – grace for life and ministry is available and is ours for the asking.

 

  1. SPIRITUAL QUALITIES OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS

      Titus 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Corinthians 4:1,2; 2 Peter 2:9-19; 1 Timothy 6:6-12; Hebrews 13:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Peter 1:5-11; 2 Timothy 2:2,15.

 

Titus, as a pastor and an overseer in Crete was not just to preach; he was to “set in order the things that are wanting”. Paul, himself was committed to this important and necessary responsibility in all the churches. “And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Corinthians 11:34). Timothy was assigned to remain in Ephesus “that thou mightiest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). He was to set things in order doctrinally. Both Timothy and Titus were to appoint leaders to pastor and lead other churches. Although Titus and Timothy were overseers in different places, the standard of pastoral selection was the same (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Timothy 2:2). The standard of selection or appointment was not to be partially applied. “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, DOING NOTHING BY PARTIALITY” (1 Timothy 5:21).

 

The required qualification for leadership is consistent with the kind of church the Lord expects us to raise. If the church is to be blameless and without blemish or reproach (Philippians 2:15; Ephesians 5:27), then the pastor himself must be blameless (Titus 1:6,7). If the families in the church are to be holy and committed to each other within each family (1 Timothy 2:15; Matthew 19:5,6; 1 Peter 3:7), then the family of the leader who is to raise such families must be exemplary (Titus 1:6). If the members are to put off bitterness, wrath, anger, evil speaking, malice and all the deeds of the old man (Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8,9), then the pastor or teacher must not be self-willed, not soon angry, no striker (Titus 1:7). If the followers are to be contented and free from covetousness (1 Timothy 6:6; Colossians 3:5; Hebrews 13:5), then the leader who they are following must not be given to filthy lucre, that is, must not be covetous (Titus 1:7). If all the children of God are to be hospitable (1 Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2; Matthew 25:34-40), then the leader ought to be hospitable (Titus 1:8). If the membership are to be sober, just, holy and temperate (1 Peter 4:7; Philippians 4:8; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Galatians 5:22,23), will not their minister be expected to maintain such Christian character (Titus 1:8)? If members of the church, the disciples of Christ, are to faithfully and uncompromisingly believe, obey, hold, keep and preserve the word of God (John 8:31; 15:7; Revelation 2:24-26), obviously the leader should demonstrate the grace to “hold fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” (Titus 1:9).

 

Is every leader who does not measure up to the required standard in every detail to be immediately removed from ministry? Not in every case. The Lord nurtured the Apostles and patiently trained them to become more like Himself (Matthew 16:21-23; 20:20-28). Paul had to even rebuke Peter because he was to be blamed (Galatians 2:11-14), but he was not stopped from ministering. However, if leaders commit any sin for which members are excommunicated or any sin that would prevent anyone from getting to heaven, then such a leader ought to be disciplined (1 Corinthians 5:1-5,13; 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; 1 Timothy 1:19,20; 2 Timothy 2:17,18; Revelation 2:19-23).

 

  1. SEARCHING QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPORARY LEADERS

      Leviticus 10:19,20; Psalm 50:16-22; Jeremiah 23:23,24; Romans 2:21,22; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Hebrews 10:29-31; 2 Peter 3:11,12; 1 Peter 4:17,18; Psalm 139:21-24.

 

Leaders, because of our calling, training and regular ministry, are used to challenging others and encouraging them to seek the Lord for cleansing, righteousness and readiness for heaven. We almost take our getting to heaven for granted and we are more concerned for our people’s spiritual welfare. Such attitude is natural but dangerous. Those who care for others must care for themselves too. Doctors and nurses who test and treat others must test and treat themselves too. Helping others to be sound and healthy while we are sick and dying is neither wise nor profitable.

 

Self-examination in the light of the Scripture and in full exposure to the search-light of the Holy Spirit is necessary and timely. David went on for months, leading, judging and shepherding the flock of God until Nathan came. Jehu kept on driving furiously with great zeal for the Lord without taking heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart. Solomon continued building the magnificent temple, receiving leaders of other nations and exercising great wisdom in leadership while his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God. His heart disease degenerated until the Lord was angry with him because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel. Isaiah was busy denouncing others until the Lord revealed the depth of his heart to him; then he cried to the Lord for cleansing and purging. Self-examination will lead to self-discovery which in turn will lead to seeking the Lord for more grace. Purged, purified and made “glorious within”, we would be more used of God to lead His people to the cleansing fountain, to become “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Psalm 45:13; Ephesians 5:27).

* * * * * * *

Congregational Song:

TAKE MY LIFE

  1. Take my life, and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;

Take my moments and my days,

Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

 

  1. Take my hands, and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love;

Take my feet, and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.

 

  1. Take my voice and let me sing

Always, only, for my King;

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee.

 

  1. Take my silver and my gold;

Not a mite would I withhold;

Take my intellect, and use

Every power as Thou shalt choose.

 

  1. Take my will and make it Thine,

It shall be no longer mine;

Take my heart, it is Thine own;

It shall be Thy royal throne.

 

  1. Take my love; my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure-store;

Take myself, and I will be

Ever, only, all for Thee.

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