This coming Sunday night, the saints of GBC will be meeting at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate the wonderful gift that God has given to us through our spiritual leadership.
The two affirmations that our congregation is asked to make each year include: 1) the annual budget; and, 2) the nominations for elders, deacons, and deaconesses. It is important that every member of the church demonstrate their submission to the spiritual leadership by answering the call to assemble for the purpose of affirming the will of God for our church. The members’ participation in this process is not ceremonial or even extraneous, but critical for the stewardship of the purity of the Body of Christ. The leadership is calling upon the saints to come and give voice to their perspective on the leadership. Is the leadership characterized by godliness and blamelessness as stipulated in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1? Except for one of the qualifications for spiritual leadership, all of them are character qualities that are established through reputation.
There is an old proverb that states that “a fish rots from the head first.” The reality is that the kind of leadership that exists at the leadership of the church will inevitably affect the spiritual quality of the Body. In clear support of this principle the inspired author of Scripture states that “it is necessary” (KJV) that elders and deacons be qualified according to the standards listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The New American Standard states that “an overseer, then, must be above reproach ….” Thus, it is not merely recommended or suggested that those placed in spiritual leadership of the church “measure up” – it is required that they do so. Today, the attitude is often portrayed that to disqualify a man from service is to deny his legitimacy and will inevitably discourage him. Or, that a particular culture is so bad that it is impossible to find someone who can meet the qualifications. However, the welfare of the Body of Christ demands that we not mitigate or compromise our obedience to God’s will for spiritual leadership. To lower the bar of fitness for spiritual leadership is to place the Body of Christ in the hands of men who Scripture itself declares to be unqualified.
With reference to those who serve as deacons, the Scriptures declare: “Select from among you … men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of … task[s]” (Acts 6:3). These are matters that must be determined by those who are observing the lives and ministries of those being nominated - the perspective of the members of the church are essential to insure the integrity of the spiritual leadership. If we all with united voice affirm the selection of our leadership according to these biblical standards, the Spirit of God has indeed led through us! It is needful for the members of the church to involve themselves in this process. Members who absent themselves from this process are failing the Body of Christ - falling short of faithful stewardship of that which they’ve been called to do in guarding the Body, the faith, and ultimately the Gospel itself.
See you Sunday night!