Summary: The Bible says a lot about what we can look for when seeking leaders
What to look for in our leaders (overseers)?
By Pastor Andrew Chan
Richmond Chinese Evangelical Free Church
August 2, 2006
1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil (1 Tim.3:1-7, ESV).
6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:6-9, NIV)
What should the church look for when spiritual leadership is needed? The Bible does not leave the question unanswered (see the above 2 Bible passages). I believe, RCEFC ought to look for leaders who…
A. We Can Submit To, i.e. we have no trouble following their lead.
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17, NIV)
1. Leaders are under orders by God. Careful to choose leaders who have a heart for God and for people.
2. Their task is to keep watch over the church, not dominate but to steer the church on the right path.
3. Make their job a joy and you will grow as well.
B. Desires a Noble Task (1 Tim.3:1).
1. A heart that is willing to serve is a prerequisite. Peter writes,“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve” (1 Pet.5:2, NIV)
2. Paul says it is a “noble task”, not to be taken lightly, for he is entrusted with God’s work.
3. A heart that’s strong in the grace of Christ to pass on the faith to the next generation and have thick skin (faithfulness) to endure hardship (cf. 2 Tim.3:1-3).
C. Displays Biblical Character (1 Tim.3:2-7, Titus 1:6-9):
1. Above reproach: Lifestyle that is free from observable patterns of sin in order to be an example.
2. Husband of one wife: Thought here is monogamy. Single people can serve too.
3. Sober-minded: Temperate, balanced, not given to excesses, not enslaved to anything, wise and sensible.
4. Self-controlled: Not given to immature outbursts, or quick superficial decisions, or
5. Respectable: Dignified and honorable character.
6. Hospitable: Unselfish with their own resources. Loves to share whatever he has.
7. Able to teach: Mature enough to firmly to the truth and communicate the truth of Scripture and sound doctrine in a relevant manner, defending the faith.
8. Not a drunk: Free from addictive lifestyle.
9. Not violent, but gentle: In tough situations able to speak gently rather than be quick-tempered and be patient with others.
10. Not quarrelsome: Not given to selfish argumentation just to protect self from looking bad, forcing others to agree with him or always having to win every argument (cf.2 Tim 2:24-26).
11. Not a lover of money: Free from materialism, and greed, not pursuing dishonest gain.
12. Manage household well: Well-ordered family.
13. Not new convert: Need to be seasoned followers of Jesus who have a passion to grow in the grace of the Lord.
14. Not prideful: Leadership is not a popularity contest or else the devil will have his way.
15. Good reputation with outsiders: Well-respected reputation with non-believers.
16. Loves what is good: Appreciates anything that is good and pure, able to discern what is evil.
17. Upright, holy and disciplined: Good students of Scripture who are prayerful, worshipful, knowing they are loved by God, set apart to serve Him, growing in grace and the stature of Christ.