Confidence in Christian leaders has waned in recent years, sparked in part by reports of abuse, immorality, and other scandals. One Christian leader says new leadership is needed as he highlights the importance of scripture in shaping who they are.
"Jesus has words for us about leadership, as does Paul, as does Peter, as does the epistle to Hebrews. So the New Testament and going back to the Old Testament has not left us without a vision for what leadership should look like in the local church," Pastor and Seminary Professor David Mathis told CBN's The PrayerLink.
In his new book, "Workers for Your Joy: The Call of Christ on Christian Leaders," Mathis shares the vision of the calling and work of Christian leaders through the lens of scripture, saying it's vital that pastors embrace an attitude of servitude.
"It comes from the apostle Paul at the end of his first chapter in his second letter to the Corinthians where he said 'we don't lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy'," he explained. "And if Paul who was an apostle, one of the official spokesmen for the risen Christ, who wrote scripture, could say he didn't lord over the Corinthians, but he worked with them for their joy, how much more so pastors in the local church that we would have a vision that why we are leading is for the sake of the joy of our people in Jesus Christ."
Mathis also points out how his book relates to the recent rise and fall stories of church leaders.
"You will find in one rise and fall story after another some clear broach of an attribute and virtue that has been laid out by Christ and his apostles two millennia ago in the New Testament. So that list in First Timothy 3 and in Titus 1 is significant. Paul means it, the apostles mean it. There is wisdom in that list for healthy, normal leaders in the church today."
First Timothy chapter three lists the qualifications of church leaders, such as being blameless, sober, and of good behavior.
But Mathis says the ability to teach is also key.
"When we think of ability, we might think world class, oratory, or a great gifting, is he an entertainer? I don't think that's what's meant. What's meant is ability in the context and it's a man who wants to teach the flock, like Jesus said feed His sheep. And to do that through teaching Bible, it can be very simple," he said.
It's a simplicity that Mathis says is needed now more than ever.
"Christianity is a teaching movement. Jesus was the consummate teacher. And in a day frankly where people can bristle at teaching, they want pastors to do just about anything than teach, do this, do that, care for us, listen to us, counsel us, very important things. But sometimes there is a kind of pressure in the pastoral ministry to not teach, and that is the central qualification and calling of local church pastors in the New Testament."
While Mathis challenges aspiring and seasoned leaders to faithfully embrace the call of Christ, he also encourages congregants to pray for them.