Let’s briefly reflect on some of the key passages that outline the qualifications for elders and deacons in the church.
1 Timothy 3:1-13 – The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Titus 1:5-9 – This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
There is a lot we could say from these passages, but notice briefly 2 things about these verses: first, they focus almost exclusively on character. Who you are matters more than what you can do. As Pastor Harry Reeder says, “Godliness is more important than giftedness” (3D Leadership, p. 49). Second, these qualifications are not assuming perfection, but maturity in the faith. Elders and Deacons must be able to live the Christian life as examples worthy of being followed, so they can say, like Paul, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
Continue to pray that God will raise up godly leaders who can be examples to lead Christ’s people.