Explore The Bible Study: Setting the Example

9:34 AM

We are living in a time when the reputation of the office of pastor, as-well-as the church in general, are being destroyed because of the ungodly actions of some pastors and churches who have protected, justified, and even hidden the actions of their pastors and other church leaders. The Explore the Bible Study: Setting the Example, drives home the fact that we as the church and as church leaders must live lives that are “above reproach” and of “good reputation” (1 Timothy 3:2 and 3:7)

This is again one of those timely studies that only God could orchestrate. There are so many reports coming out about the immoral actions of church leaders and the way the church responded to the incidents and the victims. We all agree that this must change! I also recognize that no one, absolutely no one, is immune to succumbing to all types of temptations. We should be praying for and supporting one another as we seek to live  godly lives.

I recently visited with some family members who I love dearly, but who do not know Christ. They know that I am a pastor and have served in that role for 40 plus years. While we were sitting around laughing and talking about life, something that was said resulted in them making fun of pastors and the church because of the recent godless actions that have been reported from those who are leaders in the church. I was saddened that "my profession" had this kind of reputation among the unbelieving. 

As you lead your group through this challenging, yet opportune, passage of study, 1 Timothy 3:1-15, challenge your group to look at not only what they should expect from pastors, deacons, and other church leaders, but to look deeply into their own lives. Instead of debating the validity of Paul's standards in today's culture or justifying someone’s inability to live up to these standards, use them as an immovable bar that all leaders should strive to attain so they can model the Christian life to others.

I have provided as a part of the closing challenge in the supplemental teaching ideas, four reasons for understanding the importance of adhering to these standards:
  1. They give the church a guide for selecting spiritual leaders.
  2. They give the leader a guide for how to live and avoid the sinful actions that will not only destroy his ministry and family but will bring irreparable harm to the victims involved.
  3. The leader provides a model to the church for how they should live as fully devoted followers of Christ.
  4. They protect the reputation of the church and the gospel.
Different Standards for Pastors than other Believers?
Remind your group that pastors are often expected to live by a different set of standards from which church members are exempt. This should not be the case. Pastors aren’t in an ivory tower reserved solely for pastors. They are demonstrating to us how we should live. This means we should not only encourage them to live by these standards, but we should let their model teach us how we should live.

1 Timothy 3:14-15 is the key to this entire discussion. 
This is what Paul says about why he wrote this, “I write these things to you, hoping to come to you soon. But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

We all need to strive to live to a higher standard in our lives because of Who we represent when we are serving Him in the church, at home, and in the community.


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