Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Who should Lead a Church?

    As I drive through town, I see signs all over stating that a church is meeting in this or that place.  Many of these are storefronts or abandoned business sites that have been rented by someone who has decided to start a church.  While there are certainly no rules for who can start a church, the Bible is very clear about who is qualified to be a church leader.

There are two specific positions of leadership described in 1 Timothy:

The first is that of an overseer or bishop.  Now depending on your brand of Christianity (Denomination) this could be anyone in a senior leadership role within either the local church or above the local church.  For our discussion we will limit our discussion to the local church.  In that case, the term Pastor* or perhaps Senior Pastor or Lead Pastor could be used.  The description would certainly fit that of a senior position of leadership within the church.  
  The requirements? (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
  • They have to be upright in their personal and professional relationships.
  •  They had to be mature in their faith.
  • Their qualification were higher that that of other church members.
  • They are responsible to lead the church (1 Timothy 5:17)
  • They are to preach and teach (1 Timothy 5:17)
  • They are to help the spiritually weak (1 Thessalonians 5:12-14) 
  • They are to care for the church i.e. the people (1 Peter 5:1-2)
  • They are to ordain other leaders (1 Timothy 4:14)
The second level of leadership is for that of Deacons: (Acts 6:1-4, 1 Timothy 3:8-13)
  •  They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the church.
  •  The qualifications were not as high as that of pastors and the indication was that they would not have to be as mature in their faith but certainly more so than the average Christian.
  • They are to do whatever assigned tasks are given to them in the practical matters of church life and they are to whatever spiritual ministry is necessary.
One thing is sure.  These were not selected because of their position in the local community or their leadership abilities.  Instead, they were chosen based on their level of spiritual maturity.

One other issue that Paul addresses in 1 and 2 Timothy is that of false teachers and gives some "qualifications" for one to be considered a "false teacher":
  • Using the Gospel to deceive others for selfish gain.
  • Their message is binding and burdensome which was totally opposite to the liberating message of Christ.
  • Their teaching or ideas are distorted, or stray away from the teaching of Christ.
So while anyone can start a church thanks to the wonderful freedoms we enjoy as a nation, when you go to join that church, you should check out the leadership to make sure that church is a biblically-sound church, and not one that is lead by a false teacher. 

Think about that this week.  Are your spiritual leaders measuring up? 

*The words "overseer", "elder" and "pastor" are used interchangeably to describe the same men (See Acts 20:17, 28, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-2)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting Rid of the Distractions

OK.  I am at the beginning of a new week and God has very clearly shown me that I need to get rid of some distractions in my life.  Amazing things are happening at church and as the Senior Pastor I need to stay focused on where God is leading and stop getting sidetracked by things that always take my focus and attention off those important things and consume (aka waste) an enormous amount of my time.

It seems strange to establish a resolution near the end of the year but here goes:

From this day forward and with God's help:
  • I will focus on God and His Word and my responsibilities as a Husband, Father, and Pastor and not be distracted by all the little things that pop-up every single day.  
  • I will give God my First Fruits by beginning my day with Him in prayer and in the Word.  
  • I will be the man of God that He created me to be.  
  • I will lead my congregation as the under-shepherd by listening to and heeding the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  
  • At all costs I will avoid temptations that can cause me to stumble and fail.
  • I will love my wife as Christ loved the church.
  • I will take care of my body since it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
  • I will strive to be more like Jesus in my every day walk.
God let it be so!

What about you?  What things distract you from the important things in life?  Maybe it's time to make your own list.