Choosing a new shepherd

Thinking about qualifications for a church leader.

I think any church leader has to affirm the truth of scripture:

(2Ti 3:14)  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The bible uses the metaphor of a shepherd for this role, a useful picture to think on. The church term “pastor” is literally “shepherd”.

A church leader should be one that acts like the chief shepherd of course. Jesus says:

I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Peter received the role of shepherd directly from Jesus after his resurrection. Peter says to shepherds, here called “elders”:

(1Pe 5:1-4)  So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Paul the apostle gives some guidelines as well. An “overseer” is the church term “bishop”.

(1Ti 3:1-7)  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, or 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.

And again

(Tit 1:6-9)  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.

Paul does not permit women to teach or have authority over men:

(1Ti 2:11-14)  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve;  and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

(1Ti 2:11)  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

(1Ti 2:12)  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

(1Ti 2:13)  For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

(1Ti 2:14)  and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

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