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Personal qualifications for leadership

Titus 1:7-8
Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless - not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. (NIV)

Elders are both overseers of God's church and stewards/trustees. The Lord has delegated authority to them for ruling the churches, and they are accountable to Him. So the appointment of elders should be in the hands of discerning godly people, such as Titus. After examining the family life of potential elders (Titus 1:6), Paul advised Titus to look at their personal behaviour and character traits before appointing them. This passage identifies five bad characteristics that should not be seen in an elder, and six good characteristics which indicate suitability for the office.

In Paul's writing, 'blameless' does not mean sinless or perfect but relates to a person's good
reputation. 'Overbearing' is about being a controlling and bullying character; 'quick-tempered' is about flaring up in anger at the slightest provocation; 'given to drunkenness' is about habitual alcohol abuse; 'violence' is about uncontrolled physical actions; 'pursuing dishonest gain' is about deliberately deceitful attempts to acquire money or possessions. Such characteristics are not godly, humble, sober, controlled, peaceful or content - all qualities which are needed in a church leader.

By contrast, Titus was urged to identify those who were 'hospitable' (an open home with an open heart); 'one who loves what is good' (motivated by godly desires); 'self-controlled' (one of the fruits of the Spirit); 'upright' (morally disciplined); 'holy' (spiritually disciplined); and socially 'disciplined'. Such qualities reflect a person who trusts the Lord and is content to order his life so that he does what is right and good. Of course no church leader is perfect; like every believer they should be learning how to be more like Jesus. So pray for your leaders, pray for those who appoint leaders and pray for yourself - that your daily behaviour may be increasingly God-pleasing.

Prayer 
Dear Lord. Thank You for placing leaders in Your church to guide us. May they be a good example of what pleases You. Forgive me for criticising them and not praying for them, or for thinking myself superior to them. Help them to grow in faith and grace and love and may I do the same. Particularly I pray for those who have the responsibility of appointing leaders in the churches. May they make the right decisions for the right reasons. In Jesus' Name. Amen
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© Dr Paul Adams

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