Mature Spiritual Leaders?

I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done. Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions. As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?” It’s important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God’s house, be looked up to—not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it. Titus 1:5-9 MSG

What happens when a ‘system’ is set up and the expectations and traditions are more important than the actual purpose? This has been the problem within the institutional American Christian church system when it comes to choosing ‘spiritual leaders’. It’s become more important that the individual has been groomed and coheres to the denominational (or current group) ideals and doctrines (academic education), and whether they can contribute to the financial goals of the institution, rather than the actual characteristics and mature spiritual fruit of the Holy Spirit being present and accounted for in their lives. Don’t believe me? Look at the current roster of Church ‘boards’, elders, deacons, etc., and ponder and ask yourself why they were each actually appointed. And whether any of them were ever challenged to get deeper with the Holy Spirit and more mature in His fruit of the Spirit?

Where are you in this list that Paul give Titus? Have you ever considered this list as personal goals? Have you ever engaged with the Holy Spirit about this list? Have you asked Him questions about where you fall short in this list?

Is this just a list? Or are these life goals? And if so …are they to be continually pursued? What does it mean when a spiritual leader thinks they have attained the level necessary to be an ‘elder’? Is real humility a requirement? Should it be? Can you tell the difference between false humility and real humility within yourself and others? How ‘real’ are they or are they always ‘performing’? Are you your real self or are you performing most of the time? Why?

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3 ESV

Are people chosen to be elders / leaders / overseers because they are ‘friends’ with the ‘pastor’, or have significant wealth, or celebrity status, or because of their actual spiritual maturity? Too many professional career ‘pastors’ I see are too ‘polished’ and ‘smooth’ in their delivery — my BS meter is pegged. We value smooth delivery / oratory too much – I’d rather see humble honesty.

The depth of any group with God will be to the level the leaders have a real and active relationship with the Holy Spirit. This should be our personal pursuit to … know Him at greater and greater levels within us. This side of Heaven — we will ALWAYS have further to go in our personal spiritual maturity.

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