Monday, September 4, 2017

Why We Must Emphasize A Pastor’s Character Over His Skill

We cannot emphasize this too strongly or too often. I really mean that: We cannot overemphasize the primacy of character. A great many of the problems we see in the local and global church today are caused by the failure to heed this simple principle. So many Christians could be spared so much trauma if only their churches would refuse to put a man in leadership who is lacking such character. 

 

he New Testament clearly, repeatedly, and unapologetically lays out the qualifications of a pastor. What is so remarkable yet so often overlooked is this: Pastors are called and qualified to their ministry not first through their raw talent, their finely-honed skill, or their great accomplishments, but through their godly character. Of all the many qualifications laid out in the New Testament, there is just one related to skill (he must have the ability to teach others) and one related to experience (he must not be a recent convert). The rest of the nearly 20 qualifications are based on character. What fits a man to ministry is not first accomplishment or capability but character.

We cannot emphasize this too strongly or too often. I really mean that: We cannot overemphasize the primacy of character. A great many of the problems we see in the local and global church today are caused by the failure to heed this simple principle. So many Christians could be spared so much trauma if only their churches would refuse to put a man in leadership who is lacking such character. So many congregations would be spared so much pain if only they would remove men who prove they don’t have the kind of character God demands. This failure to heed what God makes plain is a terrible blight upon the Christian church.

From a human perspective, it’s not difficult to understand why the church gets this wrong. We are naturally drawn to people of remarkable charisma and outstanding talent. We love to listen to naturally-skilled communicators and to be led by accomplished leaders. We rejoice to bask in the residual glory of respected men and their noteworthy achievements. We convince ourselves that our measure of success is undeniable proof of God’s blessing. We are willing to overlook character if only we can have results.

Perhaps we need to ask why it is that God so values character. Why is it that God entrusts his church to men of character rather than men of talent or achievement? Why would he prefer that his church be led by unremarkable men instead of accomplished ones? Why would he choose an undistinguished but honorable man over a talented man who is known and celebrated for his many skills?

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