There are additional qualifications for elders and leaders listed in the New Testament (1Tim 3:1-13; 4:12-16; 2Tim 2:15-26; Titus 1:5-9; 2:7,8,11-13; 1Pet 5:1-4). Take time to read and study these verses of Scripture. It is clear that the biblical requirements for the character of a church leader are indeed challenging!
Many young potential leaders need time to mature and grow in their character before they can meet these qualifications. Learning what God expects of them as leaders should be part of their training.
The biblical character traits of godly leadership should be:
- taught and modeled to young potential leaders, and
- lived as a daily lifestyle by more mature leaders.
It is important to remember that Christlike character can take years to develop. The following leadership qualifications are goals to work toward. There will be mistakes and failures along the way, just as with Jesus’ disciples (Matt 14:22-33; 16:21-23; Mark 10:35-45; Luke 22:49-51). The important thing to look for is a heart that desires to serve the Lord and will quickly repent for failure, pressing on to be all that God desires!
NECESSARY CHARACTER TRAITS FOR CHURCH LEADERS
Let us now examine the instructions God gave Moses about the type of person to choose for church leadership responsibility: “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness” (Ex 18:21).
1) “ABLE MEN” (Ex 18:21)
The biblical meaning for able includes: strong, virtuous, moral strength, good sense, bold, not man-pleasers, truthful, discerning, unselfish, wise, of the best character. These are some of the characteristics that good leaders should already have; they should also be the goals for new leaders in training.
The list above is worth taking time to study thoroughly. As a leader, can these things be said of you? Are you striving to live as an example of truth, wisdom and virtue? Are the people you are training for leadership learning to live out these important character issues as well?
In addition to the above-mentioned traits, there are also three additional things to recognize in those who are “able men” with godly leadership potential:
a. Those who serve others with a willing heart.
Look for people who will do whatever needs to be done with a good attitude. They are humble and willing to do lowly tasks (John 13:3-17). They will also boldly step into a situation when leadership is needed (2Tim 1:7). Able leaders are not interested in being served or “being in charge”; they want to serve others and see a job accomplished. A good leader thinks of the needs of others before his own needs. This is godly leadership in action – humble service (read Matthew 20:25-28.)
b. Those whom others will follow!
This may seem obvious, but potential leaders should be the kind of person that people will follow. They should be able to inspire and motivate others, and get along well with other people. But they must be taught to lead people in the right direction – toward the Lord and His ways!