Last week, I asked you who your pastor is. Who is leading you? This week, I want to ask you an equally important question. Who are you leading? Last week was upstream; this week is downstream.
One of my buddies once said to me, “If you think you’re a leader and you turn around and no one is following, then guess what? You aren’t a leader. But if you turn around and people are following you, guess what? You’re a leader! The moral of the story is titles don’t make a man a leader. People choose whom they will follow, regardless of titles. We get that, don’t we? So, who’s the president of this organization? . . . That guy. . . . But that man over there is the leader here. Who’s the boss on this crew? Who’s the shift leader? The foreman? The CEO? But who are the leaders? We all know that just because a man has the title, doesn’t mean he’s the leader.
So regardless of the titles you have, whom are you actually leading? Let’s turn the attention on spiritual leadership. Who are you pastoring? Leading spiritually? Leading to Jesus? Let’s look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. NIV
This passage tells us the qualities of a leader in the church. I think it’s safe to say that this is also a Biblical description of a godly man. The first thing to note is that we aren’t given a to-do list for the leader. This is not a “here’s what a leader does” list. This is a “here’s who a leader is” list. Why? Well, for one, that’s what God focuses on. A man who is these qualities is going to have a tendency to do the right thing.
My personal take on elders or godly leaders is that all men are not called to this church role, but all men are called to strive for this Biblical responsibility. Who wouldn’t want to be the man described in this passage? What woman wouldn’t want that man for a husband? For a father? A boss? Employee? Friend? Church leader? . . . See it?
Here’s the assignment today. Make a list of the people you lead. Go ahead and include perceived and reality. The people you have the title to lead and the people you actually lead. Next, hold this passage up to the mirror of your heart and ask God to reveal the places where you need to improve. Doing pretty good on respectable, but not so good on quarrelsome? An “8” on not violent, but a “2” on lover of money? This is not meant to be a condemnation exercise, but rather an inventory for improvement. Where do you need to put some focus this week on real work in an area? Some real prayer for change? An area to surrender to Christ?
So, last week hopefully you identified your pastor. This week, identify those you are pastoring. And, to close and be clear, if you are a Christian man, you are pastoring people. It’s simply a matter of where you are leading your disciples.
Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. —1 Timothy 4:15-16 MSG