|Godly leadership - being like Jesus|
(1 Tim 3:2 NKJV) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
(1 Tim 3:3 NKJV) not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
(1 Tim 3:6 NKJV) not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
(1 Tim 3:8 NKJV) Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
(1 Tim 3:10 NKJV) But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
(1 Tim 3:11 NKJV) Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
As we seek the same rights as straight people, we often forget that as Gay Christians, it comes with the same responsibilities as straight couples. If we were truly consistent and inclusive, the proper conduct of straight couples would equally apply to gay couples – the boundaries of adultery, promiscuity, and faithful commitment to each other. Such character and attitudes are required especially when we are leaders of the church. Most situations would be a non-issue for a church member, but for a church leader would mean a serious indiscretion.
I have a liberal view on sex, and have no issues with casual sex with multiple partners. Yet, for leaders of a church it is no longer their personal opinion of what is right or wrong but whether they can be considered blameless to all people in their moral and spiritual purity. As Gay Christian leaders, there is a much higher bar of having a committed long term monogamous relationship with a partner (1 Tim 3:11) who has the same fervency for Christ, a requirement no different whether we are gay or straight.
In the mainstream church, it would be highly unlikely for a church pastor or cell group leader or even the worship leader to have many casual sex partners in the congregation. Sexual purity and self control is a reflection of our holiness unto God. We are to keep pure and holy lives if we were to lead people into godliness and spiritual faith. The gay Christian leader is not exempted simply because he was gay or that casual sex or frequent breakups were widely accepted in the gay community.
When we seek Christian leadership, we should be mindful of our weaknesses. Part of realizing oneself is to see how the condemnation and the persecution we faced as Gays has damaged us in many ways making us self centered, aggressive in our bitching against others, having multiple sex partners, and having a gym culture. The norm should not be translated into acceptable leadership attitudes and behaviors. The character of Christian leaders must be 100% beyond reproach. We cannot be mindful of ourselves and our own limitations without knowing our weaknesses and where we need to crucify the flesh if we were to be in Christian ministry leadership.
The right character for qualification of leadership includes:-
a) Humility (not proud) and able to change quickly when advised of an indiscretion.
b) Have only one partner, who is also a Christian and have a Godly character with reverence for God.
c) Temperate and restrained
d) Gentle, and Hospitable
e) Not prone to anger or being argumentative
f) Not bitchy
g) Proven in service as deacons
h) Not self centered or overtly concerned with money
Leaders are expected to be of Spiritual maturity, depth of faith and commitment, knowledge in the Word of God, and not to be a novice in faith. There is to be gradual progression from deacons to Bishop. Leadership must be carefully chosen especially for a worship leader or a preacher on Sunday because their life is seen by all and their failings impact the whole church.
Leadership are chosen not based on popular vote, or being inclusive or representative of a particular race, sex, or sexual orientation, but the calling in one’s life. Most inclusive church would have chosen at least five or six woman disciples amongst the first 12 disciples for equality sake. Yet, such inclusivity is often not God’s ways. True inclusivity goes beyond the outside, and sees who we are on the inside. We should not be judged on our sex or sexual orientation, but whether we have passed the test of character, spirituality, faith, commitment, and availability and the calling from God.
The growth of a church is dependent upon its leaders, whether we dedicate our lives to the service of God and mindful of our conduct, speech, spirituality, and faith in ministry of Christ. It is not about intellectual discourse on theology or even asking the tough questions, but God sees our heart whether we are passionate for Jesus, to see His kingdom come and His will and justice be done on earth. The issue with gay churches is that we have come to be so used to what is considered norm in the gay culture that we do not apply the same standards and norms of Christian leadership of holiness and separation unto the work of God. Our dedication to Christ and His purposes comes first beyond all else.
We are to be holy and separated unto God, for the Spirit of God to work within those we minister to. If our lifestyles are overtly focused on sex, shopping, pubs, or a gym lifestyle, then our hearts, mind, soul and spirit will not be fully aligned with Christ to be able to speak the inspired Word of God into the lives of people in church or in Christian ministries. We will operate on our carnal self which produces few fruits.
When we are dedicated to God living a life of prayer, meditation, reading and studying God’s word, He will filled us with the Spirit of the Living God, such that we will minister in the word of knowledge, prophecy and anointing to break down the yokes of bondages in the lives of the community. Godly leadership can only come when we dedicate our lives, and be crucified at the Cross until it is not our will, but God’s will be done.
As the greatest sinner of them all, I am work in progress, and hopefully there is still hope for me too. Let us abide in God’s grace and changing slowly to conform to His image as a new creation in Christ.