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Heart & Soul

How is a pastor to answer this question: "Are you qualified to lead the church?"

For pastors, it feels a bit presumptuous to say yes. The church is Christ's body, his bride, the temple of his Spirit. What human is worthy to guide it? But it feels hollow and faithless to say no.

In some ways, the question reminds me of a cartoon we ran in Leadership a while back: "You say you covet your neighbor's humility … that's a tricky theological issue."

One pastoral staff member I asked this question of, replied, "I feel qualified educationally and professionally. My personality and my desire to minister qualify me. But on the spiritual level, when I examine myself, I sometimes feel completely unqualified."

How do we handle the stringent biblical expectations (1 Tim. 3:1-13; 2 Tim. 2:1-15; Titus 1:5-9), which Darrell Johnson in the Leadership Handbook of Practical Theology summarizes in four words:

Commitment. Are you clearly committed to Jesus Christ? Do you have a passion to know him?

Convictions. ...

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