Read: 1 Timothy 3:1-7
There is so much talk today about leadership. More than any other book in the Bible, 1 Timothy is a book about leadership, written by a leader (Paul), to a leader (Timothy) and about leadership.
But 1 Timothy is also a book about the local church in Ephesus which is in a moment of crisis, mostly due to the influence of bad leaders (the ‘savage wolves’ of whom Paul had prophesied in Acts 20:29). These bad leaders are leading the church into the vices of ‘envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people’ (1 Timothy 6:4,5).
What is the remedy to bad leadership and vices in the church? Paul is clear: we need good leaders. But we also need to understand what a good leader looks like? And that is one of the main purposes of the letter to Timothy.
Our contemporary society has many answers to the question of what a good leader looks like. We are told that it is someone who is well trained, who has great abilities and appropriate competences, who inspires and motivates, who plans well and manages well… and so on.
There is nothing wrong with these things. But is there something more? Yes, and the is the emphasis we find 1 Timothy which is that church leaders need to have virtuous character. Look at chapter 3:1-7. What we find here is a list of virtues. Can you count how many? There is no space to look at each one here, but you might want to write these down.
These, and other virtues of character make good leaders. And those following them will also be led into virtue.
A prayer: Lord, clear our vision to see what is really important in us and in those that lead us. Let us not be like those that look at the height of stature or the impressiveness of posture. Let us choose and follow women and men of virtue. and in following them, may we become like them.
And, if you are a leader… Lord, shape my character in virtue to be worthy of leading your church.