Qualities of Leadership

New Testament Churches will be built upon New Testament leaders. The qualities and standards upheld by those leaders will be reproduced in the participants. In his letter to Timothy and Titus, the apostle Paul outlines the criterion that qualifies a person for leadership within the New Testament Church. 1Tim 3:1-13, Titus1:5ff.


Personal character qualities


A. Blameless, beyond reproach, a good testimony (1 Tim 3:2-7, Titus 1:6-7)

A leader should not be guilty of wrong doing, even though they will often be blamed for mistakes.

Church leaders must have a good report among those inside and outside the church. The unchurched are going to be more easily reached when they are able to respect the Church, therefore, church leaders must not only exemplify what the church stands for, but be active in developing a good rapport with the un-churched. A leader’s failure to be concerned about Gods reputation outside of the church will often bring an intervention of God Himself (Rev 2:14-16, 20-22). Church leaders are to be examples, free from the taint of scandal and beyond reproach (2 Peter 3:14, Phil 2:15).


B. Temperate (1 Tim 3:2)

An over indulgence in ones emotions or appetites can cause a person to live for the gratification of natural desires and fall into sin. A spiritual leader must be free from excesses, displaying a disciplined self restraint that demonstrates that his passions and desires are able to be governed by the Holy Spirit.


C. Sober minded (1 Tim 3:2)

A leader must possess spiritual wisdom, good common sense and not be given to fanciful thinking or emotional irrationality. A sober minded person is not one lacking humor, but rather a person who has discretion and sound judgment.


D. Good behavior (1 Tim 3:2)

The Greek word for behavior implies the thought of being orderly and modest. It is closely akin to the Greek word for “adornment”. A leader is to be one who represents Christ in their outward testimony and general manner of living, including appearance and conduct.


E. Not given to wine (1 Tim 3:3, Titus 1:7)

The idea here is that a leader should not be “given to” (Literally “addicted to”) drinking alcohol as if it is something he/she cannot do without. In the modern day setting it would not only apply to wine, but other types of alcohol or habit forming addictions destructive to health. A spiritual leader should always be alert and available to the Holy Spirit and well within the law, so as to be able to attend to the needs of others.


F. Not violent, but gentle (1 Tim 3:3)

Spiritual leaders must not be given to angry, violent outbursts. Some people will provoke leaders, however, the scriptures indicate that gentleness in correction makes it easier for the one being corrected to repent or change. The Greek word for gentle (epieikes) suggests a character that is equitable, reasonable, forbearing and considerate, which is the opposite of being harsh, abrasive, sarcastic, cruel or contentious.


G. Not greedy for money (1 Tim 3:3)

“Greediness” is a sure sign of self-centeredness. Generosity demonstrates faith and kindness and indicates that one is truly dependent upon the Lord for supply. Genuine spiritual leaders have no need of an extravagant lifestyle, just the ability to bless. For this reason a true spiritual leader tithes without hesitation and gives beyond tithing to be generous as circumstances permit. Ministries built around seeking personal financial gain are said to be prone to falling into temptation and lust in other areas 1 Tim 6:9-10, 1 Peter 5:2-3.


Domestic Qualifications


A. A husband of one wife (1 Tim 3:2)

The issue here is not that of a male dominated leadership, nor is the necessity to be married in order to qualify for leadership – the issue here is God’s order in human relationships. In Bible times polygamy was an accepted practice, however, Gods original order was always monogamous marriage. As a New Testament standard this “original order” is required of those who lead the church. The standard implies also that a leader is not divided in his/her natural affections, loyalty and faithfulness to his/her spouse. The underlying principle here is that people will tend to emulate that which is exemplified in leadership (Esther 1:15-18).


B. Rules his own house well (1 Tim 3:4)

One’s own house and home is a reflection of a leader’s ability to manage in the house of God. A leader, who cannot manage his or her own family, cannot manage the family of God. It is the general character of the children that is of concern here, not the normal challenges of misbehavior caused by children’s immaturity. Leader’s children should not be put under undue expectation to perform, or feel the pressure of having to measure up to others ideals for them. It is not children’s behavior which disqualifies their parents from functioning in spiritual leadership – Rather, the parents are disqualified from leadership because of their own inability to raise and rear children that are not generally rebellious, irreverent and riotous.


C. Hospitable (1 Tim 3:2)

The Greek word for “hospitable” literally means “a lover of strangers”. A leader should be fond of guests and kind to people, even strangers. This criteria means that Christian leaders should be approachable, generous, liberal and not remote or unsociable.


Spiritual Qualifications


A. Not a novice (1 Tim 3:6)

The call here is for maturity – Not a matter of age, but of experience and character. The great danger pointed out in this text is that spiritual immaturity easily leads to the pride of becoming a “positioned” oriented leader, which in turn leads to possible irretrievable failures in areas of sin and corruption. The spiritual novice lacks the essential experience to deal with the demands of the spiritual, emotional and physical challenges of leadership.


B. Able to teach (1 Tim 3:2, 6)

Spiritual leaders must be able to communicate with people and in such a way as others will learn from them. This does not mean that every leader will be a gifted teacher, but they have to be able to train others in the faith. A leaders life is the paramount example of what they believe and his first method of instruction Spiritual leaders must also be lovers of, and students of God’s word, well taught in the apostles doctrine and able to “exhort and convict” others with what they have learned themselves (Titus 1:9).

C. Just and Holy (Titus 1:8)

Church leaders should be free from evil conduct and observant of God’s will. To be “just” is not only to be in right standing before God, but also doing right before God in dealing with other people.

The idea of holiness expressed here is speaking of the quality of being separated from that which is polluted. A Christian leader represents God before the people and therefore must be careful what they give attention to and permit into their lifestyle Eph 4:28-32.