Summary: What does GOD look for when He chooses a leader?

What does GOD look for when He chooses a leader?

Does He used the same criteria that man often uses?

• Is it charisma? Can he hold & influence an audience?

• Is it style? Does he “LOOK LIKE” a leader?

• Is it his voice? Does he “SOUND LIKE” a leader?

• Is it humor? Can he keep them entertained?

YOU MEAN some spiritual leaders are chosen because of their charisma, because of their style, because of their humor?

• Well yes… Leaders are chosen by these all the time… by man.

• They’re NOT the criteria God uses in choosing a spiritual leader.

NOTE: As we survey the BIBLE studying the many men God used, we see that God has a very different way of sizing up a leader.

1 Cor. 1.26-27 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

NOTE: The way we see the church going today, it would seem as if the churches of today would reject many of the men that God used mightily in his service.


• They had formed a prestigious pastoral search committee in hopes of finding just the right man to fill their pulpit.

• Prolonging the process for years, they finally decided to interview some of the Bible’s heroes.

• The following letter was sent outlining their conclusions on 9 of the Bible’s strongest men of faith they interviewed & rejected:

Dear Fellow Church Members:

The committee regrets to report that the candidates in question have failed to meet our qualifications:

#1 NOAH: Though he’s preached 120 years, that’s a lot of experience, but no converts. He has a serious credibility gap with his audience.

#2 ABRAM or ABRAHAM: We find it odd that he has two names. Is he using an alias? And if so, how come? Also, we must question whether he’s the head of his own household as his wife laughs as he speaks with God.

#3 MOSES: We were impressed with Moses except for two severe problems: (1) He’s been known to lose his temper once in a while and furthermore while he seems to have the perseverance necessary for preaching, his stuttering and stammering would require intense speech therapy & would scare away visitors.

#4 DAVID: He seems talented in writing poetry and music but we don’t know if he can preach. Worse yet he’s had a few moral lapses. We couldn’t have him as our pastor but perhaps later he could be considered for a position as our minister of music.

#5 ISAIAH: Now there’s a person who’s well thought of but he seems to be a serious PR problem. Imagine a preacher who upon meeting God, instead of addressing Him politely he says ‘woe is me’. If Isaiah greeted the people in the church that way, no one would ever feel welcome.

#6 JEREMIAH: Now we need an upbeat preacher for our church. One that makes people feel happy. We feel unanimously that Jeremiah would be too depressing in any church position. Besides, with all of his years teaching, he had not one person listen and convert. Not a good track record.

#7 JOHN THE BAPTIST: Now certainly he’s a good preacher and gets good results but he dresses ODD and eats funny. Worse than that, he lacks pulpit decorum. What if he brought a honey dipped insect casserole to one of our potlucks?

#8 PETER: Peter seems to show leadership potential but the last thing we need is a preacher who carries a sword everywhere, takes off and goes fishing at the drop of a hat, and smells like fish most of the time. With his history of sleeping, all we need is for the people to be awake and the preacher to sleep!

#9 PAUL: We’ve considered Paul. He’s a great teacher. He’s very moving, that is… he’s always moving here and moving there! How could he keep his mind on our ministry when he always wants to be somewhere else.

And so we respectfully reject these men seeking God’s sovereign and divine will for a worthy replacement for our time-honored pulpit!

AND… so man seems to have a different agenda, a different goal when it comes to choosing the spiritual leader.

APP: I’m convinced that whether you’re looking for a pastor to fill the pulpit or just a leader to lead in the church…

• I think we make a mistake choosing those with CHARISMA but lack the depth of Christ-like character.

• Too many have been chosen for their STYLE even when they had no spiritual substance in their lives.

• I think the church may enjoy the HUMOR of the man and not really care whether there is any holiness flowing in his life.

GUYS… why is this so important? Why should we care?

• There’re a lot of fakes & phonies in the Christian world.

• There’s a lot of personalities, promotion, & gimmicks designed to rule over you and short change your spiritual life.

• Christian celebrities & so-called spiritual superstars.

• But where are the men & women of sacrifice & service.

• We don’t hear much about them… sort of ignored these days.

You see, you’re making an INVESTMENT with your life.

• Every Sunday, every Thursday, every time you are tuning in a radio station, you’re investing your time in spiritual things.

• You’re here now, ears listening, hearts open… willing to hear from God, willing to respond.

• And as you leave, the choices you make to invest your time, could be wasted with many men, self-proclaimed teachers, leading you astray spiritually and fleecing you financially.

OH… but they were so engaging! Oh but I was encouraged!

• BUT I did send in my SEED-FAITH GIFT and God did bless it!

• God did bless & God does bless… that’s His heart, not the televangelist’s special anointing.

NOTE: But guys, what did they teach? That God wants your money?

• That you have to do in order for God to love & bless you?

• What passage of Scripture did they share in context, rightly dividing the Word of Truth?!

• So many charlatans, characters, celebrities…

WELL… what are we supposed to do then?

1 Thess. 5.21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.

1 John 4.1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Acts 17.10-11 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Don’t be easily deceived… understand the trickery & deceit.

• Hold on to what is wholesome, biblical, and real!

• Don’t find yourself confusing character with charisma.

• Don’t’ think that just because they have style that they are representing real spiritual substance.

• Don’t let humor fool you into thinking they are holy.

• And DON’T LOOK to a MAN or a WOMAN!!!

• Don’t follow them, follow Jesus Christ.

THIS WAS THE PROBLEM IN CORINTH… turn to 1 Cor. 1:10ff

• Is Christ divided? Let’s not divide over personalities…

• Let’s keep our eyes firmly focused on Jesus & Him alone.

SO TIMOTHY… I know you’ve got your hands full there at Ephesus.

• You’re going to need help, spiritual men to come alongside of you and assist you in the work.

• But you can’t just pick anyone. Spiritual leadership is not a right, it’s a privilege. It’s a gift of God to the person.

• So choose your servants well…

• That’s where are here in CH3, the litmus test for choosing spiritual leaders to oversee the affairs of the church.

• Those that will help guide the church into the next generation.


1. (1) This is a FAITHFUL SAYING

a. Paul uses this phrase 5 times in the pastoral letters.

b. 1:15 – The Mission of Jesus.

c. 3:1 – The Requirements of Spiritual Leaders.

d. 4:9 – The Fruit of Sound Doctrine

e. 2TIM 2:11 – The Hope of the Resurrection.

f. Titus 3:8 – The Need to Maintain Good Works.

So we know that these are the areas that are KEY…

• Why Jesus came. Why we teach Sound Doctrine.

• Why our hope is steadfast. Why we should maintain good works.

• And here… How we should choose the leaders in the church.

2. (1) If a man desires the position of a bishop.

a. The word bishop can be translated ‘pastor, elder, overseer’.

b. You’ll find they are all used interchangeably in the NT.

c. Keep in mind the word ELDER describes the man, a mature man, not necessarily in age, but in spiritual maturity.

d. BISHOP, episcopos, describes the ministry, it means overseeing, not overbearing or lording over, but watching over and caring for the flock of God.

e. PASTOR is the method, one who feeds & tends the flock.

f. And as you read through the NT you’ll see them used interchangeably by the Holy Spirit.

AND SO YOU’LL Notice when these words are used, it’s almost always SINGULAR.

• God does call A PASTOR to oversee the local fellowship.

• There could be a number of elders & deacons in the fellowship doing pastoral work, but it’s not a PLURALITY OF ELDERS in the leadership… it’s THE PASTOR feeding & tending the flock.

• Paul is writing to Timothy that he would take the lead and move them forward in the direction God desires.

SO Paul SAYS, if a man desires the POSITION… He’s CRAZY!!!!

• No, if you desire that role, you desire a GOOD WORK!

• It’s a good thing to be used to oversee the ministry.

• It’s a great thing to be used to lead others to Jesus.

• It’s an awesome thing to be used by God to serve others!

BUT be careful guys, those of you who desire to serve in deeper capacities within the church…

• It’s not a good position that you desire… not a good salary… not good retirement plan… not a corner office… it’s a good WORK!

• IN the ministry, it’s not a profession that you enter and then you can set up your ON hours and your OFF hours.

• Those that choose that route just don’t get it.

• Let’s look at Paul’s description of the ministry: 2 Cor. 11.22ff

• The ministry is a person’s life. You’re never OFF!

• It’s not a vocation… not a profession… it’s a life!

AND AGAIN… remember, don’t turn Paul off here because right now, today, you don’t have some oversight in the fellowship.

• Moms & Dads… you’re in the ministry.

• Single Guys, Single Gals… you’re in the ministry.

• Employee? Boss? Looking for Work?

• The ministry is all around us… this applies to anyone who wants to be used of the Lord in any capacity! It’s a GOOD WORK!

3. (2) Blameless “Above Reproach”.

a. OK, we all failed. Let’s go home!

b. Blameless?! Are you kidding? I’m not blameless!

c. The phrase literally means, “there is nothing that you are holding onto in your life that you know is absolutely wrong and you refuse to deal with it through repentance.”

d. You’re above reproach, so that when accusations come (and they will) nothing will stick to you. They aren’t true!

e. A man that can’t deal with his own sin, is disqualified in dealing with and ministering to men with sins in their lives.


a. What does this mean exactly?

b. Of course, this is another hot topic among churches.

c. So much debate has been stirred up here.

NOTE: SO Does it disqualify the single? I don’t believe it does.

NOTE: Does it disqualify the divorced? Not necessarily.

• Did it happen as an unbeliever? Was he deserted?

NOW I do know that the issue of pastors being divorced while they are pastors and after they become Christians is difficult to say the least. The trust and relateability is marred.

• All I can say is that I love my wife and I intend for her to be my wife until death to us part!

Literally this phrase means “A ONE WOMAN MAN”

• And contextually I do believe Paul was dealing with the rampant polygamy that took place in the Roman world.

• The leader should be married to one woman for one lifetime.

5. (2) Temperate, Sober-Minded, Good Behavior, Hospitable

a. These are all personal qualities. Is he known for his honesty, integrity, and generally good behavior.

b. Is he open to opening his home to the stranger, to the hurting, the weak? Is his behavior questionable?

c. He given to excess? Is he not clear headed?


a. It’s been said that in order for a man to teach, he must first be able to learn.

b. So this is a dual quality. Can he communicate the Word in such a way that people learn?

c. But more than that, can he himself learn?

d. Or is he always arguing with you when you try to tell him something? He’s always saying, I know that already!

AND FOR those of you who desire to teach… start in the Children’s ministry. NO, NO... I’m called to the pulpit.

• I thought you were called to teach? And with the kids…

• Not only will you meet a need, but you will also test your gift… if you can teach a child, you can teach anyone.

7. (3) Not GIVEN to wine.

a. Another tough passage that causes trouble & division.

b. In my studies, I cannot dogmatically say that the Bible says no Christian can ever in any way and at any time touch alcohol. But I can say… “It’s not worth it.”

c. It’s not worth the 1000’s of lives, and 1000’s of homes, and 1000’s of kids it destroys each year, every year.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS reports an estimated 1.3 MILLION US & Canadian members.

The National Center for Disease Control says over 60% of men & 42% of women 18-24 years have ingested 5 or more drinks on the same occasion last year.

MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING reports In 2002, 17,419 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol, representing 41 percent of the 42,815 people killed in all traffic crashes, according to NHTSA data. Drunk driving is the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime, killing someone every 30 minutes.

THE BUREAU OF JUSTICE reports that 40% of all crimes (violent & non-violent are committed under the influence of alcohol.

d. AND It’s not worth the stumbling block it creates for others.

e. Having gone down that path before Jesus saved me, I mean it!! It’s not worth it guys… at all for any reason!

THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, when I look to the pastoral ministry, the spiritual leadership of the church:

• I firmly believe that those in ministry should completely abstain from alcohol period!

• It stumbles. It destroys. It entangles. It perverts judgment.

• Turn to Proverbs 31:4-5 for a moment…

So guys… hear me out. If you want to be involved in the ministry, and be used in a deeper way, you shouldn’t be drinking at all.

• That sounds pretty harsh! It’s area of trust. Trust me on this.

• But what about special occasions? What about my own personal time? As a servant of the Lord it’s not your time, it’s His.

• It’s my heart that those of you desiring to go deeper into the things of God take this literally & practically.

• Don’t be under the influence of anything but be under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit.

8. (3) Not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome.

a. So he can’t be a guy pushing people around, arguing, causing strife. IT just doesn’t work that way!

b. There’s nothing uglier than to watch a servant of the Lord strive and fight, and hurt others…

9. (3) Not greedy for money, not covetous.

a. Wouldn’t it be great if our TV preaching friends followed this guideline!?

b. Not covetous, not always wanting more but is content.

10. (4-5,7) Rules his own house well.

a. So the validation of your ministry will not be in your degrees, or your GPA, but it will be in your home.

b. If you want to know about me in the ministry, don’t listen to the CD’s or tapes, or even watch me here… talk to my wife.

c. She’s taking names on her waiting list right now.

And it’s not just home either… look at v7…

• A good testimony among those who are on the outside.

• What do your co-workers think? What will your boss say of you?

• Do you pay your bills? Are you on time and trustworthy?

• Will they claim you’re a hypocrite?

11. (6) Not a novice.

a. The idea here is that they need to be spiritually mature.

b. It’s easy to get puffed up and begin to believe all the good things people say about you.

c. OR it’s easy to become discouraged when people say all the bad things about you.

d. It takes a spiritually mature person to resist the pride and resist the self-condemnation and walk in consistent service.

e. Let’s close with Ephesians 4.11-13