I do not recall the speaker or passage he was directly dealing with, but I do recall a statement made: Character is the foundation of leadership. The speaker went on to detail old verses new books an commentary on leadership. In the church it is interesting that the term leadership is used more often than shepherding. While there is significant overlap, there is a different in concept. What we seemed to sacrifice is character during the transition.
Being over doing
As we read 1 Timothy 3, it seems that God is more concerned with being over doing when it comes to pastors and deacons. The overwhelming emphasis on character is without questions. In today’s church climate it seems outcomes are more values than character. We’ve moved to focus more on what people do than who they are. This allows for legalism, and also allows for bad pastors or deacons to remain at their posts.
When trails come
Trials reveal our character, as well as refine it. Sometimes good character is demonstrated by how a person handles failure or flaws. In the spiritual warfare that does exist, solid character acts as a defense against false accusations. It also protects the church for too often people of poor character have fled rather than taken care of God’s sheep. Too often people with good outcomes imploded because the character didn’t match.
Reality not perfection
Given the nature of ministry, the reality is some of our stories may prevent us from doing certain ministries. This does not mean God can not use us in amazing ways. The Bible is not all pie in the sky and recognizes that people are likely to ignore things based on past character missteps. The foundation of character is not about legalism, but about the realities of being up front and in the lime light. For sure in 1 Timothy 3 all pastors and deacons struggle with some aspect of the list. Solid character gives us confidence to do our ministry well.