The quality of its leadership is one of the most important criteria for the growth and health of any organization, and that includes the church. St. Paul wanted congregations to be slow and cautious in lifting people up and investing authority in them. Bad leaders can damage an organization, perhaps cripple it permanently. Even worse are leaders who go off-message and spread false teachings. That can cause eternal spiritual harm to people.
St. Paul wrote three letters to some younger pastors whom he was personally training. These priceless New Testament documents are full of timeless wisdom for the church’s permanent task of finding, recruiting, training, and equipping the best leaders possible. Paul’s advice to congregations was to make sure to study a candidate’s home life: “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?)” (1 Timothy 3:4,5).
If a dad gets ignored and pushed around by his teenagers, he won’t be able to exert a firm hand in managing a larger group. If he makes his wife miserable, how do you suppose he will treat the women in the congregation? If he is in personal bankruptcy, how can he oversee the church’s finances? This is no disrespect to people who struggle with the above three weaknesses. Jesus loves them too.
But they shouldn’t be leaders of the church.
Pastor Mark Jeske brought the good news of Jesus Christ to viewers of Time of Grace for 18 years. He is currently the senior pastor at St. Marcus Church, a thriving multicultural congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark is the author of several books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics. He and his wife, Carol, have four adult children.
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