QUALIFICATIONS OF CHURCH LEADERS CONTINUED
The thought of "children" is not necessarily that of a small child.
The term is used of young to old. (Matt. 9:1-2, man; Matt. 2:18; 3:9, children
under two; Rom. 8:16, adults are children of God; Col 3:20, children obey
your parents; I Ti 1:2, 18, Philemon 10, Onesimus.)
Vs. 5 "(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he
take care of the Church of God?)" This shows the why of verse four.
The term house may imply, as well as controlling the family as the context
speaks of, but also the material things. Some Christians today are deadbeats.
This ought not to be so.
Vs. 6 "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the
condemnation of the devil."
16. Not a novice or not a new believer. This should be evident, yet
Paul seems to feel that it is important.
The indications are that this new believer when given authority would
be lifted up with pride. Indeed, the problem with young men that are given
high positions is pride quite often. The text is not limited to age, but
to maturity in the Lord. An older man that is immature could well fall
into pride also.
Paul usually appointed elders on his return trip through towns, thus
it would seem that this spiritual maturity was with reference to the maturity
of those around the elder. He might not have to be very mature in Christ
if most of the people were new converts and very immature.
The elder should be mature and knowledgeable enough in the word to "teach"
those he would shepherd. Many automatically view a young person as not
mature enough to pastor a Church. This may or may not be so. I have seen
some young men straight out of college that have more sense, wisdom and
maturity than many older men who I have seen in the pastorate. Judge the
man on his maturity and not on his age. This is what Paul tells Timothy
in 4:12 where he says, "Let no man despise thy youth...."
The thought of "lifted up" seems to be related to raise smoke or to
blind with pride as smoke blinds those that are close by.
I think that I can truthfully say that I have met very few pastors that
come across as being proud. Some may be underneath, but on the surface
I see very few. I do see many arrogant men in pastorates. Some thing they
are better than they are, but when it comes to the idea of being proud
of their position, I think most know they are there because of God's desire
and know that pride is inappropriate.
It would be interesting to know why so many take this qualification
so seriously when they fail in other areas.
Vs. 7 "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without;
lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
17. good report to non Christians (my paraphrase). We had a pastor many
years ago that didn't spend much time around my father, yet my Dad held
the man with a very high regard. I met a doctor from that town many years
after both of us had moved away and the doctor asked me of the pastors
whereabouts. He wanted to see him after many many years. That pastor had
a good report with the nonbelievers of that town.
Other pastors (many, I fear) in business dealings are very blunt, bold
and blusterous. They expect super deals and super service. These do not
have good report with non Christians. I was told of a pastor in a small
town where business people hated to see come into their business establishments
due to his caustic behavior.
Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. To be the man
that does not really have the good report with the world is to be in the
middle of the snare of the devil. There will be little that the person
can do in the community or even the Church.
We recently heard of a man that pastored in a small town were the people
had the rule of no soft drinks in the school auditorium - even during sporting
events. He thought that was a dumb rule and entered the auditorium with
a coke. The public was not impressed with his "freedom to drink coke!"
The man was not able to minister to the town folks and it left a black
mark against the Church that hired him.
I would like to break here for a comment or two about the elders wife.
The deacon's wife is mentioned in the coming text and has some qualifications
laid out for her. It struck me as to why the elder's wife did not have
I must admit that from time to time I waver in my thinking as to whether
there was an office for deaconess. This lack of qualifications for elders
wives would indicate that the thought of the text is that wives of elders
and deacons have no qualifications, and the text speaks of another office.
This is quite possible.
There are five qualifications in Titus that are not here and I would
like to cover them briefly.
a. "not self-willed" which indicates a man that is willing to give in
a conflict. He is willing to bow to what is right. This is not only with
men, but must be a part of the man's spiritual life. He must be willing
to bend for the Lord.
b. "not soon angry" indicates that anger may be around, but it takes
an awful lot to bring it to the surface.
Patience must be long and when it is worn out there may be anger, but
even if there is anger it is controlled and it does not lash out. It is
anger that can be beneficial in a compulsion to do what is needed to be
done in a proper manner.
I recall in a board meeting watching for an hour, or so, as the men
involved, wandered around not knowing where they were going. I finally
in frustration began talking and evidently the tone of my voice carried
with it a hint of anger. I was not angry - just very frustrated at the
waste of so many men's time. I gave direction to the meeting though the
chairman would not.
c. "a lover of good men" shows that the elder should be an enjoyer of
those that walk with the Lord. This means to love even when there are some
faults around! Many pastors miss this one because they can't handle someone
else in the limelight. The elder should gather around himself some good
men for training and fellowship.
d. "just" means just what it says. Just is the God we serve, and just
must be the elder or elders that we serve. Just in all of your dealings
be they with saved, lost, nasty, cheaters, etc.
e. "holy" is the idea of set apart for God's use. The man of God must
be set aside for the Lord's use and must have a life fitting that thought.
I can't imagine trying to attend a Church where the pastor was known to
be in sin. It is illogical for any pastor to feel that he can continue
on in his office and be living in sin.
There is one other phrase in Titus, one that is of importance. Verse
9 states, "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught...."
This means that the Church determines if what he holds is proper. Not
only what he holds, but what he has been taught. There is a difference.
A man might hold what you hold, but have been taught other things that
might crop up in his later life and ministry.
A pastor in the Midwest had been taught in a school that held other
than proper doctrine. He seemed straight as possible when he was hired
as pastor. He was influenced by some other pastors that he knew and as
he pastored and studied some of his wrong doctrinal teaching began to make
sense to him and it filtered into his preaching and over a few years he
had led the entire Church from a position of fundamental, dispensational
Christianity to a nondispensational position and out of the fellowship
of Churches that the Church had been in.
Don't just check what he believes, but check what he has been taught.
If he comes from a questionable seminary, then the questionable may well
surface someday. Be very careful!
Vs. 8. "Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not doubletongued, not
given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;"
"Likewise" would indicate that the deacons will have qualifications
just as the elders had. These are required and not optional.
The deacons have to do with the material side of the Church, but can
be involved in spiritual as bold witnesses. One of the first deacons was
Stephen and we know that he was soon preaching and giving his life for
Within the material ministry there can be a spiritual ministry as well.
Can you think of a way that you could minister spiritually within the
context of material ministry? a. Working with someone on a building allows
for interpersonal relationships and a time when the deacon could well get
into witnessing, counseling or just encouraging. When the pipes break in
the winter and someone is struggling to get them fixed, an encouraging
voice could be just what the worker needs. b. Sharing of funds or help
from the Church with poor or needy will be a prime opportunity to share
the thoughts of the Lord in encouragement or witness. c. In asking for
help from members of the Church you are allowing others to serve their
Lord. It may well be the start of their desire to go on into Church leadership.
1. Grave: Grave seems to indicate they are mature and act like it. It
relates to the fact that his life brings about the respect of the people.
This is a positive term followed by negative terms. The negative may qualify
what is meant by the positive term. This does not mean that he must be
void of a sense of humor, but that he controls his sense of humor very
2. Not double tongued: Telling two different stories would be a similar
idea. This includes, I think, saying you'll do something and then not doing
it. In short the person would have to be classified a liar and this is
not consistent with good leadership. How could you ever trust what the
There is in our day the idea that telling only a part of the truth is
equal to telling the truth. When a person leaves out part of the information
to lead another to think something other than the truth, then we have what
should be called a lie. Many today give only the information they want
you to have - that is not being truthful.
3. Not given to much wine: This seems to be the thought of addicted
to wine. This in its context was a call, not to abstinence, but to moderation.
Wine was a common beverage at the time, but to indulge overly was definitely
wrong. In our own day the problem of alcoholism is rampant and the need
to drink wine for liquids in the body is not true. We have good clean water
available and there is no need to drink wine.
Raymond in his book mentions, "If an individual by drinking wine either
causes others to err through his example or abets a social evil which causes
others to succumb to its temptations, then in the interests of Christian
love he ought to forego the temporary pleasures of drinking in the interests
of heavenly treasures." (Raymond, "THE TEACHING OF THE EARLY CHURCH ON
THE USE OF WINE AND STRONG DRINK"; New York: Columbia University Press,
1927 p 88)
We are all "free" to drink now and then, but we are not free to do so
because in our day and age we need to limit our Christian liberty in this
area so that we are not a stumbling block for others.
4. Not greedy of filthy lucre: This indicates that the deacon should
be in the office because of a call and/or a desire not because of money.
When I told my father I was going to be a preacher he said, "Well, I guess
there is money in that!"
Vs. 9 "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."
5. Holding mystery of the faith in a pure conscience: I Cor. 2:7-10
indicates this is those things revealed to the Church age saints. (hidden
before) In a pure conscience - how could you honestly preach if your conscience
wasn't clear about what you believed? There are times when situations arise
that force the minister of God to chose between what his conscience tells
him and what the world or the Church asks them to do.
It is very difficult to decide due to the fact that when you go with
your conscience, those around you will very seldom understand what you
do. They may even become verbal in their disagreement with you. Your conscience
must be God's conscience and then you know that your decision is correct.
Vs. 10 "And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office
of a deacon, being [found] blameless."
6. They should be proved or tested: "ALSO" indicates that the bishops
are also to be proved. This is done in the local assembly and not by a
group of pastors called in from here and there to examine a young man to
see if he's worthy. The thought of ordination is not in this text. The
elder and the deacon are to be people from the assembly and as they live
and work in the local Church the Church leadership and people will know
the type of person they are. Acts 13:1-3 shows this concept in action.
"Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain prophets and
teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of
Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch,
and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said,
Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they
sent them away."
No examination can guarantee how a man will build a Church. A man I
knew that was a part of God's calling me into the ministry could have passed
any test I could have given him. He was a good pastor and good preacher,
he was an encouragement to my life, he was a Dallas student, and all that
knew him felt that he was good pastoral material. A short time later he
fell into liberalism. Not that he had bad teaching, but he began reading
wrong teaching and began believing the things that he was reading.
7. Let them be deacons because they are blameless: Again the idea of
blameless. The testimony of Church leaders is critical to the Church as
well as to the Churches witness. Anyone that cannot live up to the standard
set should excuse himself from his duties immediately.
Vs. 11 "Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober,
faithful in all things."
Enough has been said as to the deaconess/wife controversy. The fact
that the information is inserted at this point in the context would indicate
that these are women that are involved in the ongoing ministry of the Church.
If you have women involved in the ministry that do not come up to this
standard, then they should be asked to remove themselves from the ministry
they are involved in.
"not slanderers": Literally "not devils" which should indicate the thought
that a slanderer is working for the god of this world and not the God of
the believer! I think that we all know what a gossip can do to a person
or a Church. They can ruin many years of good work in a single mouth full.
A pastor we knew was accused by one of the women in the Church of making
obscene phone calls. She had no proof and there were very few that believed
her, but within a few months that man's ministry was ruined in the town
and he was forced to move on for the Churche's sake.
"soberminded": Again the thought of controlled mind and manner would
seem fitting. The mind of someone controlled by alcohol would be the contrast.
The idea of temperate or moderate in things would be involved also I would
"faithful in all things": In her marriage, her Church work, her mothers
role, and everything! She should be faithfully doing the things that she
is involved with, and doing a good job at it. If she can't do the good
job in all areas of home life, then she probably shouldn't be involved
in the Church, for her home will suffer.
Vs. 12 "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children
and their own houses well."
We are now back to the deacon's qualifications again.
8. Husband of one wife, ruling children and houses well: These are the
same as for bishop which we have covered.
Vs. 13 "For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase
to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in
9. Great boldness: This good standing is obviously in God's eyes, then the Churches and families eyes but there is a certain standing before the community that is enjoyable for the deacon and beneficial to the Church itself.
In fact a deacon doing his job appropriately will give a good standing
to the God that he serves. Oft times in obituaries the man's community
and Church activities are included. Some European mortuaries used to include
a detailed report of the man's activities in life.
More importantly is the "great boldness" that comes with serving. As
we serve we gain confidence in what we are doing, in the fact the Lord
can use us and we become more confident to do more and more things for
the Lord. If you have good standing in the Church and community, you will
have confidence and boldness.
Vs. 14. "These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave
thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the
pillar and ground of the truth."
These verses show the reason for this letter being written. Paul is
writing to tell Timothy how to conduct himself and Church business.
I would like to ask a couple of questions that might bring the reader
to draw some conclusions to our study. The questions will have some possible
Why are so many pastors leaving their Churches and missionaries leaving
their fields today?
1. They know they miss the mark set here. (often not entirely their
own fault. Many times they have never been forced to look at the listing
and evaluate themselves before the Lord as to their qualification.)
2. Some cannot live on the salary. This may be due to their expensive
taste, or it may be to the small salary. Some Churches feel that their
pastor is a servant and he should suffer for Jesus. So, they help him suffer.
Most Churches today are doing quite well for their pastors if not to much.
Some do all they can and the pastor works on the side. This is not the
best, but it works well if needed.
3. Many are grossly dejected because of the coldness of Christians concerning
Christ's work, and the non-Christians toward the gospel.
Why are the pastors kids always some of the worst kids? (Or are they
just viewed as the worst?)
a. They are always under a microscope.
b. The other children are always more perfect than the pastor's kids.
c. It is not unnatural for a child to stand against authority, even
in their parents. This must be treated for what it is so they learn that
it is not correct.
d. The father quite often neglects his own household. This is why it
is good to have a board, and a pastor that will respond to one another.
If the board sees a problem coming, they can advise the pastor.
e. The wife may also be overburdened with Church activities to the point
that she doesn't take proper care of the children. The pastor should be
watching this and correct it if need be. With a list like this maybe you
should be praying that your pastor have these requirements in place, and
equally important, that he stay on the straight and narrow.
We see here in I Tim. 3 that the Church is organized and has leaders.
This is a stiff standard to live up to. I personally know of only one Church
that requires their elders and deacons to consider their qualification
before accepting office. There are probably more, but I know of only one
that has it as an integrated part of their constitution.
They take several months to go through a qualifying process which includes:
1. Letters to neighbors and fellow workers as to their spiritual life.
2. Talks with the spouses by the existing board.
3. A time of consideration of each qualification. This is a study of
the word, a time of prayer and a talk with the board, then they move on
to the next qualification. This usually takes a week or so per qualification.
4. A time for the congregation to respond with negative and positive
comments about the person.
5. A time of congregational prayer.
6. A final talk with the board.
If a person does not qualify they are asked to work on the areas in
which they are lacking and try the process the next year. At the time we
left that Church there had been no one that took office the first time
through. Each found areas they felt inadequate in. It is easy to say, "yes,
I qualify for this," but it is another to consider it seriously before
the Lord and your fellow man!
Is there a different standard for the pastor and the average Christian?
Is this a standard for only the elders and deacons? I would submit that
this is the standard for every born again believer. Each and every one
of us should have this as part of our goal for our spiritual life. The
term goal is the difference. The list is a goal for most believers, however
the list is a requirement for the elders and deacons of the Church. These
things should be in place when they take office.
Most of these terms used as qualifications for leadership appear elsewhere
in scripture as goals for every believer. We won't go into a detailed study
of these, but will list the terms and some references for the reader to
Elders: blameless: I Tim. 5:7 husband of one wife: Rom. 7:22 temperate: Titus 2:2, I Tim. 3:11, I Pet. 5:8 soberminded: Tit 2:2, Titus 2:5, I Tim 2:9 given to hospitality: I Pet. 4:9 apt to teach: not used of all Christians not given to wine: This should be obviously one for all believers even though the Scripture does not use the specific term in relation to all believers. no striker: Used of the elder only, but the principle applies to all. I Pet. 3:11 we're told to seek peace - turn the other cheek. Etc. not greedy/lucre: Heb. 13:5, I Tim. 6:10 patient: Phil. 4:5 not a brawler: Tit. 3:2 not covetous: Heb. 13:5 one that ruleth house: Eph. 6:1-4, The Proverbs, "rules" entails husband-wife relationship Eph. 5:23 not a novice: only usage of this term however all Christians are called to maturity by Paul, I Cor. 3:3, II Pet 3:18, Gal. 6:1 speaks of spiritual Christians good report: II Thess. 1:10 Paul and others had a good testimony which helped convince Thessalonians. Rom. 12:18 live peaceably with all men. Deacons grave: Proverbs calls us to honesty, Phil. 4:8 calls all believers to think on things honest, Titus 2:2 calls old men to be grave, II Cor. 13:7 is not the same word, but calls for honesty not double tongued: only usage of the term, John 8:44 may relate. blameless: I Cor. 1:8
When you call a pastor consider these biblical qualifications not other
qualifications such as good with youth - good preacher (not required of
pastor teacher) - good illustrator - good looking - good dresser.
The Biblical qualifications should be in the pastor so that he can be
an example to the other Christians so they can be maturing toward this