The Qualifications of Leadership
Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust Me to show My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them." – Numbers 20:11-12 HCSB
In a lifetime of patient, faithful service, Moses lost his temper once and it cost him his chance to set foot in the Promised Land. This was his life’s goal and he missed it for losing his cool – one time.
In Numbers 20, the people were complaining that there was no water (imagine that!) and Moses obediently took the problem to the Lord. He received clear, simple instructions, yet was apparently fuming about the whole situation instead of simply giving it over to God. When he got up in front of everyone, his temper boiled over and he struck the rock instead of simply speaking to it as God instructed. The people still got the water they needed, but Moses lost his chance to go to the Promised Land.
There are some valuable lessons to be learned here. First, leaders are held to a higher standard. Second, the greater our influence over others, the greater responsibility we have. Third, though we are allowed to have tempers, we must never let our tempers control us. Fourth, a lifetime of faithful service can be damaged in seconds. And last, our followers can have a tremendous effect on us so leaders need to be strong. Leadership is not for the faint of heart.
This is why no one should be offered church leadership who does not pass the character qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. You may say “But those are qualifications of elders and deacons – they don’t relate to Sunday school teachers or choir directors.” And you’d be right – to a degree. The Bible doesn’t specify qualifications of Sunday school teachers; but it does talk about being “apt to teach.” It doesn’t specifically mention choir directors, but it does qualify those who lead in worship. Anyone who seeks a position of influence and leadership in the Body of Christ must clearly demonstrate their living relationship with Jesus Christ by showing the fruit of the spirit.
And obviously, we certainly cannot have church leaders whose character or lifestyles are clearly defined as abhorrent to the Lord or bring into question their salvation.
Do we choose as a banker the one who wisely and shrewdly handles money or the one who cannot even balance his check book? Let’s be real. If someone wants to lead, teach or influence others spiritually, they need to be the best we have among us.
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