A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.1 Timothy 3:6-7 (NLT)
It is so tempting to put people into places of service before they are ready for it. In many, many churches there is a shortage of good leadership. Many churches find it hard to find people who are willing or able to be a part of the leadership of the church, so what they often do is put people in place who are relatively new in the faith. Elders are elected who have not yet been tested in the fires of life. Many elders have not yet been developed in their Biblical thinking to the point where they can make Biblical decisions about matters that come up in the church. Many elders are still immature in their faith and are unable to humbly handle being in a position of leadership. Many stumble and fall because they just aren’t ready to be put into such a role.
It is important to always examine the life of a church leader. There must be evidence outside the church that elders are walking the walk. It should be evident that elders are real in their profession of faith. And, those outside the church are the ones who really know whether or not one’s faith is real. It is easy to be godly in a church setting where everyone is godly (or at least pretend to be).
When a church leader stumbles and falls because he was not ready to lead, the cause of Christ is damaged. It is fuel for the fire for those who are not believers. It gives many non-believers a cause to judge believers as being hypocrites. It keeps many away from the church.
If you are in a church leadership position, you need to be on your knees daily. You need to be in the Word, learning, and growing in Christ. You need to always strive to have a humble heart before God and man. You should hold yourself accountable before your church family for how you are walking with Christ and your church family should hold you accountable for it. In fact, I believe it would be good if you were to ask your church family to hold you accountable for your prayer life, Bible study times, and service to the Lord. It would also be good to withhold participation in passing judgment on others if you know in your heart things are not right between you and the Lord. Integrity and humility are key parts of being a church leader.
If are relatively new to the faith and are asked to assume a key leadership position in the church, I would encourage you to pray much about it and turn it down if you sense you are not qualified to do it yet.
If you are seeking people to serve in leadership in the church, please remember Paul’s warning and only pursue those who are established believers who are respected in and outside of the church.
To the best of our ability, we must stand guard over the souls in the church and not let Satan get a foothold, especially in the leadership of the church.
- Jim Hughes