THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
BEING A MAN OF INTEGRITY
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Today’s passage in 1 Timothy describes the qualifications
of a bishop and deacons. These qualifications are very
much suitable to servant leaders, especially elders of
communities. So we look at these accordingly.
Paul says that “whoever aspires to the office of
bishop desires a noble task.” (1 Tm 3:1). It is
all right to aspire to higher positions of leadership,
as a way of serving God and His people more. But one must
know it is a noble task. It is stepping into the very
sandals of Jesus, caring for God’s flock. There
are great responsibilities involved.
such, the qualifications are stringent.
his personal circumstances must be exemplary. He “must
be irreproachable, .... temperate, self-controlled, decent”
(1 Tm 3:2). He must have no serious vices. He must be
“not a drunkard, .... not a lover of money.”
(1 Tm 3:3a,c). This is repeated in the qualifications
for deacons. “Similarly, deacons must be .... not
addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain” (1
his family life must be in good order. He must be “married
only once” (1 Tm 3:2b). “He must manage his
own household well, keeping his children under control
with perfect dignity” (1 Tm 3:4). Indeed, the family
is a small community, while the community is a larger
family. A servant leader’s success in managing his
home points to his capability to govern the larger community,
“for if a man does not know how to manage his own
household well, how can he take care of the church of
God?” (1 Tm 3:5).
his relationships within community must be good. He must
be “hospitable,” .... “not aggressive,
but gentle, not contentious” (1 Tm 3:3b). He must
be welcoming. He must be like a father to all. He should
work for peace and unity within the community.
“he must also have a good reputation among outsiders”
(1 Tm 3:7a). He must ensure that his words and actions
bring honor and dignity to the community. By the way he
conducts himself, outsiders should gain confidence that
the community is going about God’s work, and thus
should be supported.
In a word, a servant leader must have integrity. What
does this mean? Examine yourself as you “study the
way of integrity” (Ps 101:2a). Are you able to say,
“I act with integrity of heart” (Ps 101:2c)?