INTERVIEW SUMMARY ______________ A Summary Paper Presented to Dr. Michael Wilder The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary _______________ In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Course 40800 WW ______________ by Jason M. Guffey [email protected] January 6, 2019The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble taskbut let them be tested (1 Tim. 3:1, 10). All throughout the Old and New Testament we see a clear pattern in which God calls and presses man into church leadership, a noble task in service to Himself (Eph.
4:11-16). A Christians call, character, and competencies have been understood to be the core essentials for Christian Leadership and that it evaluates the effectiveness of a leader in the church. Within the two interviews, my goal is to attempt summarizing a leader’s call into ministry, their perception of issues relating to the character of a leader, their perspective on the essential competencies, what I’ve learned and how I might apply it in ministry. There have been many discussions revolving around what exactly it is to be called into ministry, what the characteristics and competencies one must possess.
In my attempts, it was not long before I understood Christian Leadership is in a class of its own and it’s different from leadership in the world. It’s not simply about the person alone. Rather, it’s about a total surrender, a sacrificial service where each day man is dying to self, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24). Chevis Horne stated this about calling, God does not call us because of natural gifts i.e., attractiveness, good speech/voice, spiritual sensitivity, etc. Neither does God call man because we are good, deserving or even trustworthy. No, God calls man through grace, which cannot be understood fully. Charles Finney, the nineteenth century evangelist utilizes his own calling, he says, I have a retainer from Christ to plead his cause. Additionally, J. I. Packer states, Jesus Christ demands self-denial, that is, self negation, as a necessary condition of discipleship.At this point, it’s fare to say that mans calling is important but, we just don’t leave it as such. It’s important we continue digging toward not only the calling of man but, also their character and competencies and what they believe, teach, and live out in their lives. Oswald Sanders wrote, True leadership, is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to them. And this is never done without costThe true spiritual leader is concerned infinitely more with the service he can render God and his fellowmen than with the benefits and pleasures he can extract from life. He aims to put more into life than he takes out of it. In fact, the apostle Paul shows us and even tells believers in Philippi they are to serve each other the way Jesus served, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:4-5). What we see, in a sense, is that God’s less concerned with mans skills or lack there of but, more concerned with the content of what man believes, teaches, and lives out. Furthermore, Albert Mohler describes the heart of leadership when he wrote, I believe that leadership is all about putting the right beliefs into action, and knowing, on the basis of convictions, what those right beliefs and actions are. In short, at the deepest point, what man believes has an impact on their leadership. Our lives are to reflect the same as that of Christ, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant (Phil. 2:6-7). This is exactly why I believe many do not understand or grasp this type of leadership, because it’s completely opposite of what this fallen world teaches. A good example we can look at in our process of understanding is Pauls letters of Timothy and Titus. In these letters, we notice the seriousness of Paul’s words, To keep thecommandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 6:14). We’re to believe in sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). Thomas Schreiner explains, Often Paul exhorts Timothy and Titus regarding the importance of right doctrineOrthodox doctrine, Paul insists, leads to love, and hence orthodoxy is immensely practical. Also, we see Paul is continuously telling Timothy to believe, teach and live out sound doctrine which leads to a healthy church and we are to guard that which has been handed down (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:14). In other words, Paul explains to us the importance in understanding and believing in sound doctrine. When we understand the importance of believing in sound doctrine, it is said we can then transition to the importance of teaching sound doctrine. Gary Bredfeldt wrote, The Biblical leader is first and foremost a Bible teacher and the people of God are a distinctive teaching-learning community. In 1 Timothy 4:6, Paul instructs Timothy he must teach that which has been handed down, sound doctrine. To teach and to rebuke with all authority, But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1) and Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you (Titus 2:15). To drive this point home, Christopher Beeley says, Above all else, the teaching of the Scriptures in a spirit of holiness is the premier task of leadership in the church. Up to this point it’s been affirmed and it’s important a Christian Leader is to believe and teach sound doctrine, there’s one last point. A Christian Leader must live out sound doctrine. Again, Schreiner explains, Sound doctrine is intertwined with a godly life, for healthy teaching is carried out when older and younger men, older and younger women, and slaves live godly lives. So, I believe it’s fare to say, this is applied to Timothy as well.So, I conclude with this, that a life of a Christian Leader must be grounded on believing, teaching, and living out sound doctrine. A Christian Leader is indeed distinct from a fallen worlds leadership. Bruce Ware has stated, All such [Christian] leadership, regardless of titles, or training, or longevity, or position, or reputation, or prestige, is under the one and absolute authority of Christ. Leaders, then, lead as they are led by Christ; they teach as they are taught by Christ; they build in the manner by which they have been instructed by Christ; and they labor for the glory, not of themselves, but for the glory of the One to whom belongs all glory and honor and praise” the Lord Jesus Christ.