Our church has just emerged from a very busy weekend. Not one but two search committees have been working simultaneously through past months in pursuit of individuals to serve our church in the respective capacities of Lead Pastor and Youth Associate. The searches culminated for both committees as both the recommended candidates were invited to a process of mutual acquaintance and exploration with the churchâ€”on the same weekend!
The proclamation and modeling of the gospel are the calling and ministry of us all! The traits and patterns listed at 1 Timothy 3:1-7 are not merely prerequisites to the ministry, they also are the ministry.
Of course, there was much to explore regarding the specifics of our church and its ministry hopes and aspirations as well as the candidatesâ€™ respective histories and how they see their futures under Godâ€™s direction. There have been many questions and answers; much talking and listening; and there has been a lot of reflection and prayer.
It has been a time especially to reacquaint ourselves with the Scriptural directions regarding leaders and the leadership task.
The instructions at 1 Timothy 3:1-7 concerning those who aspire to eldership have not been far from our minds through the earlier interviews and in the culminating visits of the candidates. An elder must be â€œabove reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of Godâ€™s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devilâ€™s trap.â€
This passage has reminded me again of two things: First, the things mentioned are actually more than a mere list of â€œqualificationsâ€ or â€œprerequisitesâ€ to the ministry. In a very real sense, they are the ministry. Thatâ€™s because the gospel is both something to be proclaimed and something to be modeled by the churchâ€™s leaders. Second, while we look to find these Christian character traits and life patterns in our leaders with peculiar strength and consistency, the traits and patterns are not peculiarly leadership traits. They are, after all, Christian character traits and life patterns to which we should all aspire and grow.
Weâ€™ll see where weâ€™ve gotten to in our â€œsearch for the new pastorâ€ in not too many days. Itâ€™s been a great, if somewhat exhausting, weekend and Iâ€™m confident that all is safely in Godâ€™s hands. What Iâ€™ve learned again through this process is that when the ministries of the new Lead Pastor and Youth Associate begin, ours donâ€™t stop.
The proclamation and modeling of the gospel are the calling and ministry of us all!