Phew…glad last week is over. Happily, it didn’t stir nary a trace of controversy, which is awesome, since the verses we dealt with are so traditionally controversial.
This Sunday we’ll be looking at 1 Timothy 3:1-13. (the Message)
Any group of people that seek to unite and accomplish a common goal are going to, by necessity, have leaders within the group. Even on game shows like Survivor, we see how people naturally fall into roles and leaders eventually emerge among the tribes. An old axiom says, “If everyone is in charge, then no one is.” . We had to learn those lessons early on in trying to re-imagine our approach to church in Eastgate. Leaders are part of the deal.
Paul provides lists of character traits that the leadership of the church should embody. Why do you think it’s important for those who lead the church community to embody these moral characteristics? Is it a double standard…that is, should these traits only characterize the leadership, or is there something else to this?
The word Paul uses for “Bishop” is episkope, and it means someone who watches over things and investigates them…it is commonly called “an overseer”. Many denominations have created an office hierarchy out of this word…but the text doesn’t seem to support that. Words like “pastor/shepherd”, “elder” and “bishop/overseer” are more than likely describing the different functions of those who lead the local church. Read 1 Peter 5:1-2 …do you notice anything about those terms in this verse?
The other designation for leadership is “deacon”, which in the Greek is diakonos, and it literally means “servant”. I suppose this is any function in the church community that serves the specific needs a community has…including what the cultural developments require. Things like teaching the children, music ministry, making coffee, doing media stuff….these would be included, in my thinking, as we make the generational and cultural leap to the 21st century.
Traditional formations of the church have created an elaborate hierarchy from passages like these…do you get any sense of an elevated class of people from what Paul says here? What is the overall sense of Paul’s instructions….and how would you apply it to church as you know it?
Interesting stuff to chew on…huh?
See yers’ Sunday
One thought on “Quality Control for Leaders”
The challenge (at least one) about this is that the institutionalized church is so ingrained into the American Christian way of life that to do anything else almost seems like heresy. Yet here is Jesus, the author, head and Groom of this thing called the Church saying there is another way. That message is throughout the gospels and the epistles — “My way is not your way, it is 180 degrees out of phase with the ways of man.” The Church isn’t a machine, it isn’t a cult of personality (good song, bad way to live), it isn’t an institution. A good leader understands that mystery of the faith (love the way Peterson puts things). He guards it, he loves it, he understands it is not his own. That is, at least to me, a Godly leader.