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Leading from the Second Chair (part 2)


This week’s series of posts relates to leadership and leadership development in the early church. Yesterday I observed from Acts 1:15-16 that the Bible should be the basis for leadership decisions in the church. In today’s post I want to share a little about the qualifications for leadership in the church. It should be no surprise that the qualifications for leadership in the church are spiritual in nature. What kind of spiritual qualifications am I talking about?

For one, those considered for leadership were to be people who had been intimates of Jesus. Acts 1:21-22 says, “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were travelling with the Lord Jesus—from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” (NLT) Clearly the expectation was for those considered for leadership were first and foremost people who were close to Jesus. Notice that close proximity to Jesus trumps talent, skill, upside, education, and track record. The most important thing any spiritual leader can possess is a vibrant and dynamic walk with Christ.

The second qualification that is called out is character. In Acts 1:24, the disciples prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart.” Literally the prayer was, “Lord, you are the heart-knower.” It reminds me of that famous story in the Old Testament that recounts the selection of David by Samuel. Samuel looked over Jesse’s sons, and was impressed by size and physical appearance. God then reminded Samuel that he didn’t look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) As I think about God’s emphasis on knowing the hearts, I am reminded that God is far more interested in character than competence. Don’t forget that before Judas was a betrayer he was a thief! Judas’ replacement was to be a person who was an intimate follower of Christ and a person of character and integrity. Those should be the primary items we focus on as we look for spiritual leaders today.

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