Chapter 4 Biblical Leadership Requirements
The High Call of God...
No vocation, office or leadership role on the face of the earth carries a greater responsibility than that of God's leaders. This is why the Apostle Paul named a Leadership role as "the high call of God in Christ Jesus". [Phil.3:14]. God's Leaders in ministry are called & appointed by God Himself into these top 5-Fold ministry offices of: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor & Teacher. [Eph.4:11].
Every Leader in any one these 5 capacities is called to the highest personal standards of character, integrity, behavior & morality more than any other office on earth. Why? Because of the responsibilities attached to each Leadership role. First, all 5-Fold ministers are chosen to be perfect examples who reflect God Himself, speak for God Himself & to demonstrate God's "will" on earth. Their 2nd responsibility is to oversee, protect, Lead and guard the eternal souls of God's precious children, the body of Christ. This is probably as simple of a bottom-line statement that can be made regarding a 5-Fold Ministry Leader's purpose.
As emphasized in the prior chapter, a person who is only "partially-qualified" for 5-Fold Leadership is actually unqualified since God's Leaders are called to be "above reproach". [1 Tim. 3:2]. Being "partially qualified" or "partially-above reproach" does not exist in scriptures for God's Leaders. In fact, Paul's strict guidelines require that a man be "above reproach" in order to even qualify for a "deacon" position within the church. [1Tim.3: 8-10]. Not to mention being "above reproach" as a 5-Fold Leader & "overseer" of God's flock. [1Tim.3:1,2]. But, a bonafide 5-Fold Leader of God must be 100% Qualified for his role. If he fails in any of the Biblical Leadership Requirements, then he shows himself as UNQUALIFIED.
The Biblical guidelines themselves for Christian leadership are made clear & simple to grasp. They are also vital in these End Times for the body of Christ to handle accurately since these are the most deceptive times in human history. [2 Tim.4:1]. Having this knowledge will result in sharp discernment for God's people in order to confidently recognize "who's who?" amongst today's Christian Leaders.
Believers who know the 'bullseye profile' of God's Leaders will quickly identify each Leader who does [or does not] match the true profile. But, unless a person were to study closely both a true dollar bill compared to a counterfeit dollar bill, then if ever a "test" might arise to accurately discern the true one from the false one, then that person would be left in a total guessing-game. How much more vital is pinpoint accuracy in discerning true leaders from the false ones?
In the prophetical days ahead, God's true leaders will be recognized like bright flood lights amongst God's people. These will clearly prove out all of the standards & guidelines set in scriptures for the high calling of God's true 5-Fold ministers. Those leaders who do not meet all of the set standards will also stand out to the discerning body of Christ.
1st & 2nd Timothy: guidelines for the church & Leaders
In his last 2 letters which Paul penned before his martyrdom in Rome [about 65-68AD], he focused almost entirely on every aspect of the dealings within God's House. These were the 2 letters to Timothy, the younger man of God. For believers today, these 2 letters provide a clear & concise detailing of guidelines, requirements & the overall do's-and-dont's within the House of God. 2nd Timothy deals even more in depth with God's Leaders & their responsiblities.
In these 2 letters, passage-after-passage is jam-packed with specifics about conduct, order & the 'rights-and-wrongs' within the church enviornment. Paul contrasts everything from true leaders & their motives to false leaders, proper & improper conduct within the church & amongst leaders themselves, solid teachings vs. false doctrines, spiritual growth & self discipline vs. the worldliness of character & undisciplined leaders. He also clarifies many profiles of End Time things to come including the religious imposters who are devoid of the Spirit [2 Tim.3:5] & who wrangle the scriptures about to the ruin of their hearers. [2 Tim.2:14].
But, in 1 Timothy Chapter 3 [the whole chapter] is found a virtual condensed "checklist" of Leadership Requirements. Every believer should take time to review these specifics regarding a "Leader". As stressed, having this knowledge from both 1st & 2nd Timothy will result in clear discernment about the profile of a true [& false] Leader.
For example, very clear is the fact that "a man" is called to "oversee" God's flock, not a woman. [1Tim.3:1,2]. Likewise, a "deacon" must also be "men". [1Tim.3:8]. Another obvious guideline is that a true Leader will be married to "only 1 wife". [1 Tim.3:2]. This immediately eliminates any so-called "man of God" who has multiple wives at the same time, like a Mormon leader. Another specific qualification is just as simple: a Leader "must not be a new convert". [1Tim.3:6]. In fact, in America, this has occurred alot & makes up the bulk of the 90% "unqualified" Christian men seen operating as "5-Fold" leaders today.
These are true Christians, some who are truly called to Leadership. Yet, they jumped the gun & leaped into the forefront without having become fully mature in the "character" of Christ. These are those who are seen today failing miserably in humility, love, kindness, patience & "respectable behavior", another requirement of Paul's. [1Tim.3:2].
Typically, the prime [if not only] requirement which today's unqualified Christian ministers show strong skills in is the "ability to teach". [1Tim.3:2]. This, plus their charisma, has caused other undiscerning leaders [& the body of Christ] to interpret them as seasoned 5-Fold Ministers. In the Evangelical circles, many of these unqualified Christian men have strong spiritual giftings which have also played into premature acceptance of them as a 5-Fold minister.
Obviously, these are only a few of many requirements a solid man of God must be QUALIFIED in. But, regarding this "checklist" [& both letters themselves], Paul leaves no doubt about his purpose when he states his clear intent is "so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God". [I Tim.3:15].
100% QUALIFIED Leaders....
Here is an important fact to remember before reading through the following Leadership Requirements. That is, every so-called Christian leader who is seen [today or future] holding himself up in front of God's people as a 5-Fold minister is automatically representing himself as being 100% QUALIFIED, "above reproach" & having fulfilled all of the following requirements as set forth by the great Apostle Paul.
Similarly, when a person enters a doctor's office, then that doctor is representing himself as "fully qualified" just by walking into the room & standing in the lead role as the doctor. From the patient's perspective, most every patient has no second thoughts whatsoever regarding whether that doctor is fully qualified, partially-qualified or a medical phony altogether. Currently, this is the exact same scenario within the body of Christ today in assuming that a leader at the forefront is automatically "fully qualified".
Logically, just by the mere fact that a "Christian" minister is standing up in God's House & operating as a "5-Fold Leader", then immediately [even without that leader verbalizing it] he is representing himself as being 100% qualified. In knowing this, then as believers begin gaining the knowledge of Leadership Qualifications, then many [90% or more] of today's "Christian" leaders & "Reverends" will suddenly be accurately discerned by believers as not being 100% qualified at all, which makes them unqualified.
Most of today's unqualified leaders are wonderful true Christian brothers, even gifted with true leadership skills. However, if they have not passed ALL of the tests then they are not ready for 5-Fold Leadership capacity. Most believers [or anyone] would rebel at the thought of having surgery by a surgeon who was recognized as being only "partially-qualified". How much more alert should believers be in identifying a qualified [or unqualified] spiritual leader who leads God's sheep & who is charged [by God] with watching over their eternal souls ? [Heb.13:17].
The extreme seriousness of a Leadership Role...
One very impacting experience for me as a minister was in observing a wonderful Christian Pastor who always kept the Holy Spirit in a complete box. He had pastored this one church for over 25 years. No gifts of the Spirit nor any movement of God's Spirit whatsoever were welcomed by the Pastor's own choice. After the Spirit had given me a vision of a "sinking Titanic with only its boat's end sticking out of the water", the church leaders came together in order to hear of the vision & "word" which I had been given.
The meaning of the vision & word was conveyed that they had kept the Holy Spirit in a box & that God's people were being neglected from many spiritual needs. The specific "instruction" which came with the vision was that the Pastor "was to begin allowing God's Spirit to have full priority & freedom there & as a result His people's needs would be powerfully met by the Holy Spirit. If not, then the church itself would 'completely sink' & would close."
In tears, the Pastor immediately agreed [as did all leaders] that this was a clear word from the Lord. The Pastor & his wife also expressed to me & the 7 or so ministers present, that these same things had been prophesied to them many years before. But, very sadly, even after the Pastor announced to the congregation the following Sunday morning that they had heard a clear word from the Spirit, the Pastor & leaders did not follow through. Instead, the Pastor stuck to their religious mode which was devoid of the Spirit & neglectful of God's children. Within months the church closed abruptly & very sadly the Pastor himself died shortly after that.
This personal experience made a major impression on me with regard to the vital & serious responsibilities of standing in a Leadership role in front of God's people. In itself, continually & knowingly resisting the Holy Spirit is a very serious matter for any person, especially a 5-Fold Minister in charge of God's people.
Biblical Requirements for God's Leaders
A true leader of God must & will bring credit, honor & respect to the Lord Jesus Christ in ALL areas of Leadership Qualifications. If not, then he is UNQUALIFIED & not yet fit for any of the 5-Fold ministry roles. Assuming a man of God has truly been called to Leadership & is already baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit [a prime key for any believer or minister], then Paul's requirements come into play as the blueprint for that leader to fully adhere to.
Although scriptures are plentiful with principles & guidelines for every "believer" to abide by & grow in, a "5-Fold Leader" has a whole 2nd set of guidelines that he MUST ALSO qualify in. As stressed, this Bible criteria is also solid for use in accurate discernment for the believer. However, even though a person's "eyes" might be opened from the following insights & discernments about leaders, every believer still must make sure that he himself has fully "taken the log out of his own eye FIRST" in order to be fully confident that he is "seeing clearly" & by the Spirit. [Math.7:5].
Equally important is that every solid & true Christian [& especially a Leader] who "sees clearly" with sharp discernment will also have the purpose & attitude of "helping" others to be free from their spiritual blindness. [Math.7:5]. Never will a true & mature man or woman of God project SPEECH or an attitude of condemning a person or making "light" of a person's discernable downfalls, sins or imperfections.
The following brief overview shows 4 key categories of Leadership Requirements based in various scriptures including 1st & 2nd Timothy.
[*Note: The discerned percentages which are presented refer specifically to the 300,000 or so "Christian" ministers [ non-Catholic ] in America. IE. Non-denominational, Evangelical, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Protestant, Methodist, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Pentecostal, Reformed, Nazarene, etc... ].
1] BELIEFS & TEACHINGS: [1 Timothy 4:16]
In his beliefs, every true leader will always clearly exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the divine Savior & Lord & as the only way to salvation through the cross & His bodily resurrection. If not, then that leader struck out all together. He is not even a Christian, much less a "Leader" of God.
On the other hand, a leader who professes true Christian beliefs & has Biblical teachings in NO WAY automatically qualifies for Christian leadership. Nor does it automatically make him a true Christian at all! There are still numerous other requirements he must ALSO collectively meet to be 100% qualified. Besides, even the devil can profess Christianity, can prophesy [Acts 16: 16,17], teach the Bible & quote scriptures as he did directly to the Lord Himself. [Math.4:6]. Scriptures are clear that "many" leaders in the End Times will indeed claim to be Christians & have the appearance as one. [Math.7:22,23].
Regarding a minister's "teachings", they are a definite key in discerning a minister & his concerns [or lack of concern] for helping God's people. A minister's teachings topics are immediately linked to Paul's instruction to all ministers to "equip the saints". [Eph.4:12]. But, if any Leader is not equipping God's people, then he is neglecting them. This makes that leader irresponsible & immediately UNQUALIFIED. Generally in the USA today, most [90% min.] of the Pastors, highly visible TV ministers & the so-called "prophets" come nowhere close to "equipping" God's thirsting people nor "pressing them towards maturity" as scriptures instruct. [Heb.6:1,2].
God's Word is powerful, but can become "elementary" [Heb.6:1] if continually presented to a person or church body who has already internalized it & is ready to move on. This is exactly what has transpired in the Christian Leadership in the USA. Americans have been lulled to sleep in the last 20 years with continual teachings which have become 'old hat' from unqualified ministers & mimicks.
Today's tiring teachings include "faith", "prosperity", "marriage & family", "the authority of the believer", "salvation", "the importance of living upright as a Christian" & others. Even unbelievers & atheists can mostly quote these true Biblical topics at this point. These teachings are still vital for various groups in America like new believers. But, the nation as a whole has been ready for years now to move on to mature food, instead of being drowned in "milk" by 90% [or more] of today's elementary ministers.
The epitome of today's incredible neglect for God's people is the fact that many believers who attend churches weekly are not yet "filled with the Spirit". Various Christian denominations in America have thousands of ministers who, as a rule, do not give much attention or any "teaching" whatsoever to this vital topic. Largely, the ministers themselves are also not filled with the Spirit. Many of these leaders are more concerned in holding onto their position as Sr. Pastor or church President and/or not rocking the church counsel "boat", instead of "equipping the saints".
As a result, hundreds of thousands [maybe millions] of God's precious people sit neglected week after week while listening faithfully as their Leader delivers another "dead work" sermon. But, how much more neglectful can a Christian Pastor be in not "equipping" God's children? No 100% qualified Pastor would leave God's children high & dry from the mighty experience of being "filled with the power of the Holy Spirit" as the scriptures instruct. [Eph.5:18; Luke 24:49; Acts 19:1-6].
In contrast to many of today's leaders, when Paul came across good Christians in Ephesus, one of his first questions was whether they had received the Holy Spirit. When they said 'no', Paul immediately made sure they were equipped. He laid his hands upon them & they all received the full power, being filled with the Holy Spirit. [Acts 19:1-6].
Another area of neglect is also true with the lack of "teachings" on these End Times. Again, 95% or more of today's Christian leaders in America don't bother with "equipping the saints" with vital teachings & insight concerning these End Times. This is a crucial mistake in the face of the imminent foretold events & judgements of God including the very return of our Lord Himself.
Only a very few leaders in America [less than 5%] can be heard today "equipping" God's people for readiness. Today's greatest example of "neglect" is the Roman Papacy itself who is never seen talking about "being filled with the Spirit", the End Times or any "teaching" for maturing a believer. Instead, 99% of the pope's speeches are political, generic & self-serving. This leaves his 1 billion followers in the dark & without any solid food whatsoever.
To reiterate a key point, typically the "teaching topics" a leader chooses can be discerned as either "equipping" God's people or neglecting them. In knowing this, it will usually be very clear about a leader's faithfulness in taking care of God's children as he is charged to do. In fact, the Lord specifically stated that even a leader's eternal destiny could ride on that leader's faithfulness in providing God's people their essential food [teachings] just before Christ's return.
Jesus said, "Who then is the faithful & sensible slave [End Time leader] who his master put in charge of his household [the body of Christ] to give them [God's people] their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave [End Time leader] who his master finds do doing when he comes." [Math.24:45]. For those End Time leaders who would be found not equipping the saints in readiness, then they were assigned to a place where "hypocrites" & "gnashing of teeth" exist. [Math.24:48-51].
2] SPEECH: [1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Tim.2:16]
A true QUALIFIED man of God's SPEECH will be seasoned & perfect. [Math.5:48]. The words he carefully chooses will contain truth, wisdom, accuracy & grace. His words will always glorify Christ even if a whole different subject than the Bible or Christianity is being talked about. God's leaders will be found blameless & spotless even in their SPEECH. [Eph.5:27; 4:32].
But today, most Christian leaders [especially TV ministers] can be seen clearly speaking with unChrist-like SPEECH. 90% or more of Christian ministers have "talk" which shows the recognizable consistency of being arrogant, flippant, sarcastic, worldly, self-exalting, cocky & unbecoming. Most of these unqualified Christian leaders have no idea how much of a reproach they are bringing upon the Lord. This is a serious matter amongst today's preachers & Christian ministers.
But, a person's SPEECH will tell volumes about a person. In terms of discernment, sometimes just one word by itself can tell all sorts of things about that person. Jesus warned all believers that we are accountable for "every word" we speak, even in the day of judgement. [Math.12:36].
For example, one of the popular [but totally false] "prophets" in today's Evangelical circle has freely used the slang term "That sucks!" numerous times on the TV airwaves. Just this one simple phrase speaks loudly. No true prophet of God would ever talk this way. God's true prophets [like Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul, etc] were too solid to even make an "honest mistake" like this. This religious huckster also has an obvious pattern of SPEECH which constantly exalts & praises himself as he spewes constant reminders that he is a "prophet". This he does while clearly failing to meet most other Leadership requirements.
Today, this self-praise exists in a major way amongst false prophets and unqualified Christian leaders themselves. Some ministers are bold & some are more subtle in their patterns of self-praise & arrogance of SPEECH. Either way, that minister is failing in the "love" of Christ since Paul specifically clarifies that "love does not brag" & "love is not arrogant". [1 Cor.13:4]. This makes that minister not "above reproach" & UNQUALIFIED.
[1 Tim.3:2]. [Or, a false prophet altogether.]
Another common tip-off of numerous unqualified ministers today are what I call "screamers". These ministers clearly have a pattern of consistently screaming at the top of their lungs from the pulpit. Numerous top Evangelical TV ministers [men & women] have this clear pattern in their preaching styles. Unfortunately, Evangelical & various non-denominational Christian ministers are the prime group in America with this most unbecoming presentation.
Of today's male pulpit "screamers", approximately 80% are true Christians who are unqualified for ministry. These mostly are "self-appointed" pre-maturely into ministry & widely accepted because of their charisma & their "teaching / preaching" skills. About 10% of today's male "screamers" are indeed qualified for 5-Fold roles. These are solid Christian men of God who at some point became sloppy & off course. These should be taken to the side & privately corrected. [Gal.6:1; Math.18:15]. If they become corrected, they should remain in Leadership. The other 10% or so are religious phonies, mimmicks & false prophets altogether.
Scripturally, there is NO place in the New Testament where Jesus or Paul or any of the men & women of God can be found "screaming". In fact, only several times in the whole New Testament are there acounts of Jesus & Paul even "raising" their voices. Then, it was only with "a loud voice" at the very moment they were calling into a effect an awesome miracle. Jesus cried out with a loud voice when He raised Lazarus from the dead. [John 11:43]. And Paul, "with a loud voice", commanded the cripple from his mother's womb to "Stand! And walk!". [Acts 14:10].
But, even though their teaching & preaching was with authority & intensity, the Lord & His apostles were never 'screamers'. Although many of God's people in America are accepting of this, it is unChrist-like, unscriptural & unbecoming. If a video of these "screamers" were to be muted, then their facial contortions, wild gesturing & flailing of their hands at the pulpit would be recognized as mirroring the arrogance & unbecoming appearance of other pulpit pounders like Hitler or Sadaam Hussein.
Today's female "preachers" & "prophetesses" can also be seen readily on Evangelical TV as "screamers". Of today's popular female "screamers", 99% are unqualified altogether to be standing in the forefront of God's House at all. Their arrogance & unbecoming SPEECH & behavior falls miserably short of demonstrating Christ's character & "love". [1 Cor.13:4,5].
Of all female "screamers", 7 out of 10 seen in the Evangelical circles today have evil spirits. They are in the exact same profile of the witch with the "spirit of divination" who stood in the midst of Paul's ministry as she prophesied accurately "for many days". [Acts 16:18]. But, by sharp discernment of a man of God like Paul, he named them as "noisy gongs" [1 Cor.13:1] & as "greatly annoying" in the House of God. [Acts16:18].
Today's screaming "prophetesses" are the same. On the other hand, numerous "false prophetesses" today are less of the "screaming" type. But, their evil intent is still evident & annoying in their unbecoming behavior & speech, arrogance & dominating-controlling character. Even their eyes reveal the demonic activity within them. [Heb.5:14]. The other 30% or so of female "screamers" are true Christian females who have been negatively influenced & should be privately corrected in the Spirit of gentleness. [Math.18:15; Gal.6:1].
But, most [99%] of women at the pulpits today are "self-appointed" into ministry. They are also completely out of the order & structure which Paul laid out in conjunction with the men of God in 5-Fold ministry. Largely, this has occurred from the influx of unqualified men themselves in 5-Fold ministry roles in America. This will change dramatically for the better in the coming days ahead. Many hand-maidens of the Lord will be raised up powerfully in evangelism, teaching & prophetical giftings with signs & wonders following them in these End Times. [Joel 2:28, 29].
But, these upcoming women of God will understand their roles in relation to the order & functionality of the 5-Fold ministers made up of true men of God. However, in these deceptively religious times ahead this profile of dominating, annoying & unbecoming women in the forefront will continue to exist to some degree.
But according to scriptures, a true woman of God will always demonstrate "respectful behavior" [1 Peter 3:2] & a "gentle & quiet spirit" which "is precious in the sight of God". [ 1 Peter 3:4]. This is true Christ-likeness & is easy to spot in a solid woman of God.
The accurate discernment of most all leaders [male or female] found in this pattern of "screaming" is that their character is typically: impatient, arrogant [not humble], manipulative & insensitive towards others. These are serious failures in areas of the "fruit of the Spirit". [ie. patience, humility & kindness].
Their arrogance in SPEECH also demonstrates their lack of Christ's true "love" since "love is patient", "love is not arrogant" & "does not act unbecomingly". [1Cor. 13:4,5]. This clearly places the "screamer" profile of leader in the UNQUALIFIED or false prophet status since they are failing in the Lord's prime commandment of "love". [John 13:35]. Paul also gave clear instruction: "Speak the truth in love." [Eph.4:15]. Here again, many Christian ministers [even false prophets] "speak the truth", yet fail to speak it in "love". This makes a leader immediately unqualified or "false" altogether. This is prominent today.
No true solid Leader of God will have SPEECH which opposes or misrepresents the "character" of Christ. [ie. humility, kindness, patience, peace, etc../ "fruit of the Spirit" / Gal. 5:22]. Nor will any true bond-servant of God present SPEECH towards people, not to mention towards God's own people from the pulpit, that fails in the "love" of Christ.
Other Discernments of SPEECH most common today include:
a] Condemnation: Many ministers use words and/or a tone even from the pulpit that clearly projects "condemnation". Arrogance usually will accompany this trait. This is never of Christ. In 33 1/2 years Jesus was never found having any condemning tone in His attitude or SPEECH towards others. Never the slightest trace of condemnation [like rolling the eyes or facial expressions] could ever be seen in the Lord. Even to those who opposed Him, He still always projected a humility, respect, kindness & patience in tone & attitude. There is no condemnation, none, in Christ. [Rom.8:1].
But clearly, many Christian ministers project a haughty & condemning tone with words that match. Also, most every false prophet & false prophetess will definitely demonstrate this. This condemning delivery can be seen today as soft & subtle or it may be loud & brash. Either way, that minister has seriously failed in the "love" of Christ, His greatest commandment. [John13:35; 1 Cor.13:4-8]. This immediately disqualifies that minister.
b] Constantly mentioning "Race": Any person who has the clear pattern of constantly elevating his own "race", is "racist" in nature. Also, patterns of denouncing or speaking unfavorably of a "race" is equally as "racist". Typically, this ungodly pattern of SPEECH will manifest in anger, hate, disrespect and/or argumentativeness. But, no true man of God will have any need for anger or argumentativeness about issues of "race".
Since scriptures are clear that a person's words will profile what is in his heart [Math.15:18,19] then many "Reverends" & so-called "Christians" in America can be discerned as having placed themselves into this profile. Today, America has become desensitized to commonly-heard statements like " I'm proud to be white / black / Jewish....." which are clearly racist in nature.
In fact, any minister [or person] found in this profile has completely & dangerously placed himself outside of the standards & principles of Christ & His "love" for others. He or she is no Christian at all. But, a true bond-servant of God [ministers] will have true Christ-like love & respect towards all people, having no influence whatsoever by a person's "race". This is Christ. [*Note: This above discernment of "racism" is not related at all to the true favor of God shown to the Jewish race throughout the Old & New Testaments as part of His plan. But, through the Lord Jesus Himself, the door has now been opened for all people to be born into God's family regardless of "race".]
c] Worldly, flippant & sarcastic SPEECH: This is prominent within 90% of today's Christians in the forefront. Ministers [TV ministers included] disqualify themselves by their consistent worldly, flippant, "cute", sarcastic & even ungodly SPEECH. Nothing about the Lord Jesus is ever found to include these common traits of today's Christian Leaders' SPEECH.
3] The CHARACTER & ATTITUDE of Christ:
This vital category of Leadership Requirements covers much ground for a true man or woman of God to be QUALIFIED in. If a leader fails in these areas, he has immediately disqualified himself as a leader. Most likely he is bringing a reproach upon the Lord. Both moral behavior & SPEECH itself are also included here. It also includes the powerful nature of Jesus' humility & "love" which manifests [& can be discerned] in a person's character, attitude, speech & behavioral gestures towards all others.
In 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 & Galatians Chapter 5 are found the clear-cut traits of Christ's "love" & His "character". [Gal.5:22]. Every thirsty believer can line himself up with these specific "checklists" & become continually more mature in Christ-likeness.
But, for every Leader [in fact, every believer], showing Christ's "love" in one's own character is the loudest-speaking evidence of all Leadership requirements. Although scriptures are plentiful with principles & guidelines for every 'believer' to abide by & grow in, a "Leader" himself has a whole 2nd set of Leadership guidelines he must also QUALIFY in.
Regarding the 'love' of Christ, many persons [both believers & unbelievers] make the mistake of equating the 'absense of hate' within one's own heart, as being the same with having the "love" of Christ. This is never true. Christ's love is immeasurably greater [eternally] than just "having no bitterness or hate" against anyone. God did not offer His Son at the cross based on "the absence of hate". But His gesture originated from His deep, eternal love for all people. A true bond-servant of God will actually have the deep "desire" to show kindness, patience, respect, care & peace towards all people. This is the real & true "love" of Christ within a believer. It is not just "surface" gestures of the same kind which even unbelievers can present.
Without exceptions, the "love of Christ" must & will shine forth towards others from a true & 100% qualified man or woman of God. If not, then that minister is in NO WAY qualified to lead God's people. He must step down. Sadly, 90% [minimum] of today's Christian ministers come nowhere close to demonstrating the "love of Christ" in their character, attitude & nature.
Ministers in America [ie. church Pastors/TV ministers] have so failed in this specific area that they have actually done more to cloud Americans from seeing true Christ-likeness than to reflect it.
However, whenever Jesus walked into a place, He was always observed as the perfect gentleman. His kindness & care for all others was overwhelmingly obvious as was His disarming humility. Once in His presence, even as a child & young man, His clear respect, patience & kindness towards all people was quickly observable by all. In His presence, the "peace" was inexpressably strengthening. Every person who met eyes with Him could sense His true care for their best interests & welfare. Later at the cross & resurrection is when full understanding opened to the eternal "care & love" He had for all people.
But, scriptures say clearly that a leader who does not demonstrate Christ's nature & attitude of "love" is no more than a "noisy gong" & "clanging cymbal" in the House of God. [1Cor.13:1, 2]. Although all "believers" must "grow" into maturity & Christ's "love" over a period of time, a "Leader" carries even greater responsibility.
Why? Because a Leader standing in the forefront is already holding himself up not only as a "mature believer" but also as a 100% qualified Leader. So, if ever a "Leader" is discerned as not showing the true "love" of Christ, then he immediately exposes himself as not only UNQUALIFIED to lead God's people, but also in need to go back & "mature" as a "believer".
It bears repeating that the "love of Christ" is what speaks the loudest of all Leadership Requirements. When coming into the presence of a true & solid man or woman of God, then their character, speech, attitude & behavior is a very powerful reflection of Christ Himself & His love. By this kind of "love", the Lord said, "all men will know that you are My disciples." [John 13:35].
This 4th category of Leadership Accountability can be detailed greatly. But here, only a brief statement will be made which summarizes. The bottom-line prime purpose for a Leader to be accountable to other men of God is for the well-being of both the Leader plus the body of Christ itself.
100% Qualified Leaders who are accountable to each other will strengthen each other with confirmation, guidance, correction, reproof, growth, protection & other spiritual needs each may have. This kind of Biblical accountability helps a Leader to fulfill his ministry responsibilities in overseeing God's children. As a direct result, God's children will also advance in strength, growth & spiritual benefits from God & from those accountable 5-Fold Ministers. Again, this is the purpose & goals of solid accountability amongst God's Leaders.
Conversely, any leader who is answers to no one can easily sway off course & can go unchecked. This can result in great harm & spiritual shipwreck to the Leader himself & God's children. Many false prophets, false religions & even so-called "Christian" religious sects have been originated over the centuries by men who "did their own thing" and/or were "one-man shows". Typically, their best targets have been followers [even true believers] who were unversed in the solid principles of the written Word of God.
In America today, any accountability that exists is mostly amongst unqualfied ministers of the same spiritually-weak & undiscerning mindset. This is epitomized by numerous Church ministers, TV ministers & "prophets" who have been exposed in evil deeds in recent years [ie. homosexuality, alcoholism, drug usage] while being highly exalted & promoted into the forefront & pulpits. As a result, the body of Christ in the USA suffers the consequences of continued neglect at this unparalelled prophetical time in world history. [Math.24:45; Eph.4:12].
To re-emphasize, if any so-called "5-Fold Leader" fails in even 1 of the Requirements for Leadership, including the above areas, then he is UNQUALIFIED to lead the children of God as a 5-Fold Leader. He must qualify in ALL areas.
The Apostle Paul called it "being above reproach" which he said every Leader & overseer "must be". [ I Tim.3:2 ]. Paul left no exceptions. As previously indicated, he also said that unless a man is "first tested" & then found to be "above reproach", then he does not even qualify for a "deacon" position in the church. [1 Tim.3:10 / Greek: "attendant"]. Not to mention as a 5-Fold minister in charge of overseeing God's flock.
But today, 90% [minimum] of today's Christian "leaders" in America fail Paul's very 1st requirement of being "above reproach". Many TV preachers & ministers today have such unbecoming natures that their unChrist-likeness can be discerned within the very first moments that they begin speaking. This shows them as being unqualified.
But, if ever a minister is discerned as being unqualified, then the next discernment should be to determine if that individual leader is truly a Christian or, in fact, is a false man or woman of God altogether. Here again, the criteria & insight in this chapter coupled with the kind of spiritual discernment spoken of in Hebrews 5:14 will clearly identify "who's who?".
However, at this time prophetically, if a particular Leader is recognized as being UNQUALIFIED & not "above reproach", then the body of Christ must FIRST pray for that person & for his or her strengthening & that he/she will be found & kept in Christ. Secondly, a believer must consider prayerfully about peacefully withdrawing from that particular leader since he has more work ahead of him in order to pass the "tests" & qualifications which Paul identified in scripture. [1 Tim.3:10].
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul gives many powerful insights, instructions, encouragements & even warnings to God's Leaders & also to believers who aspire to Leadership. One major word of wisdom & warning which he gave to Timothy is just as vital [maybe more] for today's 5-Fold Leaders in these End Times. The Apostle Paul said:
"Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance & by the laying on of hands by the elders. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself & to your teachings; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself & for those who hear you." [1 Tim.4:14-16].
>>>>>end Chapter4 / Biblical Leadership Requirements
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