There are basic qualifications to have before you might consider going further. Our one grandson, works as a technician at an eye clinic whilst he is studying. In his plan he has a strategy of proceeding further … technician – certified technician – and then possibly an ophthalmogist. He has the academic skills, the personality and gentleness to pursue this path but he needs to start somewhere … to reach the end result there are stages to complete … qualifications to achieve.
The same is true with being a Church Leader … especially an elder or deacon. Yesterday we saw that the person needs to be born again with a passion to shed the old man and dress himself with the new man. Before we deal with the specific qualifications of Church Leaders, let’s continue seeing what any average Christian needs to have as qualifications, apart from being born again and growing in holiness.
1) Have a high view of Scripture. I’ll be the first to agree that having secular qualifications are important if you want to progress through life easier. But without having a high view of the Bible … that it is God’s holy, inspired, inerrant, infallible and authoritative Word, you will flounder in almost every area of life. You see, God’s Word means life … life to the soul. Life to the most important, though most neglected part of man. Seeing the Bible as the out breathed Words of the only, true, living God of Heaven and earth, will help you to love it and use it. Not only will it shape your view of God and how He requires you to respond to all of life … in your family, career, world, education, church … but also as a citizen of His Kingdom. As a Kingdom Citizen, the Bible will shape your view of the world … from God’s knowledgeable view point. The politicians, academics and society in general paint their picture of the world and where it is and where it’s going. This is called a “World View”. Mostly it is secular with a materialistic bent. It is diametrically opposite to God’s World View. This is where the Bible comes in and mostly it runs counter to the world’s World View. You see, it not only explains God and His almighty, supremacy and opposition to the world’s sinful stance on life … it actually reveals what the world needs! The world needs Jesus, God’s rescue plan. Another way of saying this is … the world needs to repent of its wicked ways, turn to Jesus in confession, acceptance and faith and live under His Lordship and Reign. A high view of Scripture is required of all Christians, but especially those seeking the office of leadership. How can a leader shepherd the flock of God if his world view is not biblical?
2) Have a high view of the Holy Spirit enabling personal change. We live in a world where much is self and selfishness, greed and aggression to achieve, indulgence and materialism and everything else that stands in opposition to God. Christians cannot live in that world, because that world is a jail of hopelessness without change. If God wants His people to conform to the likeness of His Son, then we need to break out of the world’s mold and take on the attitude, mindset and behavior of Jesus. Only the Spirit of God is able to reconfigure our minds, through the Bible!
Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
This is where it starts! It is a mind change where one adopts Christlikeness through diligence in the Word of God under the one who changes the heart, which changes the mind … the Holy Spirit. Any Church Leader needs to have a change of heart and mind. When this happens, the “will” agrees to function according to God’s ways which are radically different to the world’s ways.
3) A high view of the Gospel as mans’ only hope. One must stop here and reaffirm that all Christians, not just Church Leaders need to have an unwavering commitment to the Gospel as the only hope for our world. Much focus is on college and university today … and this is right. Yet there needs to be more to this life than a good education, great job and handsome salary. You see, the root problem of man is not education or physical health but a change of heart. What does the Bible say about the heart of man?
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
This is what the highest degree cannot help you answer! Are you able to explain why you do some things … some sins? Are you able to explain why you repent of it and then do it again and again? Are you able to explain why you are drawn to sin like a magnet draws iron? Do you know that God knows what is in your heart?
Jer 17:10 I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind.
How embarrassing this is to me! Is it to you? He knows everything we think, say, hear, feel and do all the time. Maybe the worst of this is the reason He searches and examines:
Jer 17:10 to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.
Stop! This shouts out of judgment! Is this the reason we read:
Pr 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life?
How do we guard our hearts? It is through hearing, believing and responding to the gospel! If Church Leaders need to respond to the Gospel for salvation and for a change of heart … and if Kingdom Citizens need to be people who have responded positively to the Gospel message to have their hearts changed … then the Church Leader needs to have a high view of the Gospel … perhaps even more … believe that the only way for anyone one on earth, be they kings and queens, princes and princesses, presidents and prime ministers, millionaire or paupers, educated or illiterate, good people or wicked people … can ever know God and experience God in salvation for eternity to have their sins pardoned … is the need to hear the Gospel presented by those who believe the Gospel message because it has change their own hearts and lives! So coupled to being Born Again and growing in Holiness … Church Leaders need to have a high view of the Scriptures, the Work of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. Now we are set to consider the specific qualifications for Elders and Deacons.
Lord of the Church, we ask that Churches will be careful whom they chose to lead Your people. May the basic qualifications be in place because we desire Your Church to reflect Your attributes and personality. Amen.