As followers of Christ, while we are here on earth our mission is to glorify God! One frustration that I have with those in Bible colleges or seminaries is that they spend countless hours debating views of theology, soteriology, eschatology, worship style, denominational differences or whether we should wear ties to church or jeans! We are missing it! Theology and beliefs matter, but when we stand before God one day His questions will NOT be about how much biblical information we know or what church strategy we adhered to on earth. In Heaven, there will be no more need for teaching, evangelism, or preaching. Jesus explains why He came to earth, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" Luke 19:10. A great question to ask as leaders or future leaders is, "how many people are you investing in and sharing the love and grace of Christ?" I believe this question is more important than how much information or what theological camp you have decided to stake your tent. Our passion should be unity to glorify God. What really matters is our attitude, words, actions and lifestyles as leaders. I am hearing more and more that those who claim to be called into ministry are falling into using four letter filth words in their daily conversations and choosing lifestyles that are the same as the lost world. My encouragement is to compare your actions with scripture. 1 Timothy 3 explains the qualifications for those who want to be ministry leaders.
1 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:1-7
"Must be above reproach" does not mean perfection, but it does mean we are held to a higher standard. In other words, there should be no obvious, flagrant sin that distracts from leading people. Notice that Paul uses the word, "must." Being an example is not an option as a leader, it is absolutely necessary.
"Self-controlled" means that as leaders we should be reluctant to fight. The goal of the leader is to bring unity in all possibly ways. Are you self-controlled with your mouth? Do you lose control of your temper and give into wrath? We will all struggle with anger but if you aren't struggling with it, then you might have given into it!
"Not addicted to wine": As a leader you should not have a reputation as a "drinker." Why? Because it is a stumbling block for believers and non-believers. Another reason is that we won't be clouded in our judgment. For me, I choose not to drink. Why? I see no need for it and my last desire is to cause a student or another person to become addicted and fall into any distraction that will keep them from following and honoring Christ. As a leader, we should set an example and be radically different than the world. If we are not radically different, then why would a lost person want to follow Christ if their lifestyle is the same as yours?
"Not quarrelsome" As a leader the goal should be about redemption more so than winning the argument. One of the main reasons people do not come to church is because of all the bickering, fighting and arguments of those who claim to be followers of Christ. "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35. Are you more passionate about winning the argument than winning the relationship with people? If you are only worried about winning the argument, then you are quite similar to the pharisees. Primary issues such as salvation, eternity, the virgin birth and Jesus being the messiah are important to discuss. But, whether a person wears a certain type of clothes or the worship style of a church is a secondary issue. I know I have fallen in this area but I'm striving to see beyond semantics and love people. What really matters is people need the hope of Christ and we need to begin loving each other instead of arguing!
How can a person be genuinely saved and the thought of a lost and doomed world never cross their mind? How can they read the newspaper or watch TV and see the depravity that is all around them and not figure out something to do about it? We have what the world needs and the answer is Jesus. Let's focus on what really matters and not on our personal agendas, leanings, or theological camps. Saturate your life in His Word and live out your faith to a lost and hurting world that desperately needs Jesus!