"For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach."
What Matters Most
This is part two in a series on the office of elder. Find part one here.
In his book The Leadership Dynamic, Harry Reeder points out that a good, biblical leader will have three basic qualities: character, content, and competence.
What’s important to note is that the first is the most vital.
Most leadership books will focus on competence, as if that is the most essential quality. They devote page after page to practical tips, strategies, and goals for ministry success. This is unfortunate as competency is the easiest trait to gain and (more importantly) the least significant of all the attributes of a leader.
Congregations often place the greatest weight on competency too. They may seek to vote for someone who comes across as eloquent, persuasive, and “able to get things done.”
While we don’t want to downplay competency, we recognize that someone can grow into the position over time. They can develop the skills and gain a proficiency in the duties of shepherding through practice and expedience.
As a matter of fact, some of the best shepherds I’ve seen were blue collar men who simply took their responsibility before God seriously. Despite having a shaky start, they quickly learned to make calls, pay visits, give counsel, and offer prayers on behalf of the congregation.
We recognize that competence is needed, but we should keep in mind that it is not necessarily the principle asset a leader must possess out of the gates.
What is most fundamental to biblical leadership is character. Scripture underlines this expressly. As Paul lays out the qualifications of a leader, he doesn’t set out a resume of accomplishments. He points to issues of spiritual maturity:
“An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well.”
Character is key because character is what leadership is all about. An elder’s job is to lead the congregation into greater holiness.
We must recognize that the elder's primary job is not to make the church grow numerically or develop tactics to better reach the community. Those things may happen and may be very good. Nevertheless, they are not the main responsibilities of a church officer. His role is to nurture the people in their obedience to God. That is why he himself must excel in godliness.
Content is another central attribute of a biblical leader, and that will be taken up more fully in our next issue. However, it is safe to say though that there is a direct connection between character and content. This leader is spiritually mature because he is highly familiar with the content of the Bible. He has grown in faith and love because he has meditated upon the law of God and become saturated with it.
So character is key. We are not looking for someone who will “take Hopewell to the next level” of ministerial effectiveness. We are looking for a shepherd; a man who has an obvious concern for biblical fidelity, be it for himself, his family, and the rest of the congregation.
Change of Worship Venue
July 15-17th the Hopewell crew will be spending the weekend at Camp Conger, just north of Willard, Ohio. Please note that our regularly scheduled worship service will take place at the camp that Sunday. Please plan to join us at 10:30 am for worship and for lunch following.
Need Help? Counsel is Available
The Word of God is sufficient to deal with all of life's problems. Whether it is anger, addiction, relationships, depression, or conflict, any problem can find its solution in the Truth God has revealed. Ask to set up a free and confidencial appointment today.