Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This week's lesson: discipling spiritual leaders

There's more to spiritual leadership than being spiritual. 

Take Paul's criteria for bishops (or "overseers") in I Timothy 3:2-7 (NIV): 
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his 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, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full 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.
And no, Paul doesn't say the overseer should be a mighty prayer-warrior (though that may be assumed).

Paul doesn't say the overseer should be a spell-binding preacher (though that's always nice).

Paul doesn't say anything about miracles, musical-ability, or advanced degrees (which may be just as well, since nobody has ever found a correlation between pastoral-effectiveness and a D.Min.).

Instead, he talks about simple, everyday, commonplace stuff -- stuff such as how the potential leader actually treats their family, handles money, and gets along with outsiders.

And maybe it's because we can fake spirituality more easily than we can human decency.

Maybe it's because the simplest test of our spirituality is just how we treat other people.

And maybe we should get a little nervous when a large number of people -- teachers, administrators, and TV preachers -- look like spiritual leaders, and act like spiritual leaders, but have little or no accountability when it comes to the way they treat others . . . 

But if nothing else, it's clear that "spiritual leaders" should be known for more than their spirituality.

No, they should also be known for their humanity.

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