Bramhall Baptist Blog February 2021

I don’t know about you but I guess that over the last few weeks and months you will have had cause, like me, to ponder “what makes a great Leader”? Whether that’s within your own home or family, at Bramhall Baptist Church or when thinking about the great matters of State. We see in the press an awful lot of talk about the politics of leadership and what people will say or do to become a leader… whether legitimate or not… and none of it seems to me to be very edifying. Not many of our leaders, despite implying their allegiance to Christ and Christian values, manage to translate that into policies or political positions with which most Christians would be content.

What does God look for in leaders? I find the contrast with what men think good leaders look like striking. Israel wanted a king like the other nations… and God gave them the King that they wanted, Saul. That didn’t turn out well! Samuel 15 is a very sad read. God’s selection for king was David… who it would appear wasn’t even on the selection list to start with… they had to go and call the shepherd boy from the fields! Moses didn’t even want the job…

We are reminded of the characteristics of secular leaders and their behaviours in many places throughout the bible; and not much seems to have changed… if truth be told they don’t seem to have deviated much from the times of the new testament. I was reminded of this in a reading at my work Christian Union where the reading was based around the discussion between Jesus and Pilate. Jesus says to Pilate “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate responds, “What is truth?” in an early example of what we might now regard as a very post-modern response… that comment could easily have come from the lips of the current crop of secular leaders in 2021.

We need more from our leaders, don’t we? Sadly no one will ever come up to meet the standards that Jesus set, in this age, in either the secular or spiritual environment but we shouldn’t let ourselves or our leaders off
the hook that easily, should we? What might constitute good leadership is not just a theoretical concept. It is something that has a real and practical impact and is a subject that for the members of Bramhall Baptist at the
moment is, or ought to be, very close to our hearts.

As we turn our minds to hearing from candidates for the pastorate at Bramhall Baptist Church it is worth us reminding ourselves of God’s standard when it comes to overseers (noting that there are a variety of
leadership roles in a church. This is the challenging list of characteristics Paul writes in his letters to Timothy (1 Tim 3 vv2-13) and to Titus (vv6-9) that should distinguish those appointed “bishops” or “elders”, and
“deacons”. They should be:
– Above reproach
– Husband of one wife (faithful)
– A good manager of their own children and household
– Sober minded with self-control
– Not arrogant or quick tempered
– Hospitable and apt to teach
– Not a Drunkard or Quarrelsome
– Not greedy or a lover of money
– A lover of what is good, upright and holy
– Not a recent convert
– A teacher of sound doctrine, with a good testimony

Now I’m not saying that all Christian leaders will always and at all points meet these standards. Some of these characteristics apply more to Elders than Deacons. There is always failure and that should be acknowledged. These are, however, scriptural characteristics (and sobering ones, at that). May we reflect on these standards over the coming weeks as we come to understand what the Lord has in store for us. As we listen to the candidates that he presents to us may we submit ourselves to his direction as to who he wants to lead us at Bramhall Baptist. We should continue to pray for the Elders (and the selection team) as they grapple with these matters.