#13 – Team Player w/ Business Acumen

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#13 – Team Player w/ Business Acumen

 

The thirteenth characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will be a team player, teachable, and will possess the cognitive ability to comprehend formatted business plans (and other various components).

Scripture repeatedly addresses our relationship with God in terms of family. We are not sole members; we are not solopreneurs; we are part of a team, working together for the advancement of the Kingdom.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us that, as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another man. We are to work together, helping each other, bearing each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). And there is to be no chief but Jesus; rather, we are each to develop and use our individual gifts to minister to each other and, in at least this way, teach each other. (See 1 Cor. 14) Therefore, no man can truly be a leader unless and until he is first teachable.

The Bible is a book of business. It is about transacting the business of God’s kingdom here in the context of earth’s kingdom, but we must understand certain basic concepts around productivity, transactions, money, accounting, etc. And while not everyone will have the degree of skill in numbers as one trained as, say, an accountant, a man of God must have the wisdom to develop at least the thinking skills to be able to follow along in a conversation about financial matters and to weigh options and make basic decisions.

Are you a team player? Are you willing and able to learn? Are you actively engaged in the business of the Kingdom?

#12 – Accountability

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#12 – Accountability

 

The twelfth characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will be able to demonstrate a proven track record of accountability without compromising truth and holiness or succumbing to the fear of men.

It is easy for a man in leadership to get so caught up with the height of his rise to view anyone “above” him as an obstacle rather than an aide and to view accountability as a forced acknowledgement that someone is still higher than he. That totally misunderstands what accountability is.

In the first place, we are all accountable. We will ALL, one day, each of us, give an accounting of our individual lives to our King and Creator. If one tries to deny that fact such that it causes him to live lawlessly, as if he is his own judge and jury, accountable to no one but himself, his life will crash and burn. King David, the psalmist, told us that only a fool says, “No, God!” He created us; He put us here with assignments and resources; we don’t get the prerogative to decide that we can just go our own way.

That said, a wise man will make himself accountable to other men who especially have understanding and insight into his particular gifts and assignments so as to hone his performance to the highest degree possible. If one is not in the habit of making himself accountable even when it is not required of him by some force external to himself, he may balk and buck accountability later when it is required of him.

Do you voluntarily, on a regular basis, make yourself accountable to someone else, either an individual or a body of counselors? What is your track record of that submission and of your attitude towards it?

#11 – Covenantal Integrity

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#11 – Covenantal Integrity

 

The eleventh characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will be willing to covenant to maintain integrity and confidentiality to insure personal security for effective deployment of internal financial mechanisms.

The emphasis here is on covenant.

We live in a contract world. Private contracts supersede even the U.S. Constitution … which is itself a contract. And, while God expects us to honor our agreements, He has never dealt with men via contracts. No, He deals with us via covenants, which are far more enduring and real than contracts that can be torn apart and broken by men and by lawyers.

What is the difference? A contract is a provisional commitment and agreement (a temporary bond) made between two or more parties that is written and enforceable by law. A covenant is an irrevocable commitment (a permanent bond) made between two or more parties, including God, intended to be a lifelong fruitful relationship, “a coming together” and “sticking together.”  At the heart of covenant relationship is the unconditional love of God, which is the very foundation and heart of the covenant relationship. The difference between covenant and contract is “What can I give?” vs. “What do I get?” It is “I’ll give you 100%” vs. “I’ll meet you halfway.” It is “I want to” vs. “I have to.” It is lawful vs. legal. It could be argued that the latter is of lawyers, the other of God.

A covenantal relationship is one that is built on love and mutual respect. It is other-focused (giving) rather than self-focused (receiving).

Americans used to understand covenants, as the first government in the New World was one of covenant. (Read the Mayflower Compact.) And part of this journey for us all will be a re-discovery of covenantal relationships.

So, when it comes to integrity, confidentiality and security of finances, are you willing to enter a relationship based on covenant rather than contract?

 

#10 – Green Light Clean

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#10 – Green Light Clean

 

The tenth characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will have a proven track record of not being corrupted by finances, power (“authority”), and/or narcissistic lusts, nor of being engaged in determined criminal activity.

This is more than having a good reputation (#8 above); it means that he could actually undergo a financial audit and a criminal background check and get a total green light as being beyond reproach.

Now, one of the things that sets the ecclesia apart as powerful is the fact that we are under God’s law, rather than man’s, so, indeed, some of the areas that men would tend to investigate might be according to man’s frequently-artificial standards of law and money. These artificial standards might even paint some activity that was intended for God’s glory as “criminal.” (For example, if a church elects to organize as a 501(c)(3) non-profit – an unnecessary and unwise election – it is, from that point forward, no longer an independent ecclesiastical body but, rather, a man-made entity subordinate to the state and, as such, may be liable to other man-made laws that could criminalize some of its activities … such as speaking out against things that God clearly identifies as wrong.) And, while we would like to see all of the ecclesia break free from bondage to those sorts of systems, that is not what we are talking about here.

Financial audits and criminal background checks can also turn up things that are indicative of an unrepentant heart. Financial corruption, narcissism, immoral behavior – things that mark a man as serving his own belly, regardless of the backlash on others – all are forgivable by God upon repentance, but before that repentance actually takes place and the life is demonstrably turned around for His glory, they would disqualify one from being the sort of leader whom we seek.

So if a comprehensive background check were done on you, would you pass? Remember, too ~ “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)

#9 – An Ecclesiastical Networker

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#9 – An Ecclesiastical Networker

 

The ninth characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will possess effective knowledge of Ecclesia networks and friendly contacts necessary to align with established financial/project management vehicles for the rapid advancement of the Kingdom.

Until they come to see that ecclesia is much larger, much more comprehensive, this may look like church, and most believers are, directly or indirectly, affiliated, interact and network with the church world. Ecclesia is much-broader, much more powerful, but part of the process of helping people to recognize and step up into the reality of God’s kingdom here on earth is to start with the places that they currently identify with in that way. The practical reality is that much of the ecclesia doesn’t know of any place to find ecclesia except in church on Sunday morning. These folks network together at church and in various ministries and outreach efforts around the world, and that is how they know each other.

When Paul wrote to the ecclesia at Corinth, at Galatia, at Ephesus, at Philippi, and at Colosse, no doubt they felt honored, as local folk, to get a personal letter from this world-renowned leader. But those letters, more than being personal to them, hinged on their belonging to the ecclesia – the body of Christ at large. And Paul was networking amongst all of them that he knew to be ecclesia.

Businessmen know the business world; lawyers know the court system; doctors know the medical arena; upstanding ecclesia leaders know the ecclesia. Their knowledge extends beyond the First Baptist of B-town, the Second Congregational of C-town, or the Third Presbyterian of P-town. (In fact, they may not even be directly affiliated with any institutional church at all, but they know God’s people – the ecclesia.) They have contacts and good relationships with the ecclesia that extend beyond their own local church, ministry, denomination or religious association. And while they might not be as well-known as Paul was in his day, they could write letters to other local manifestations of the ecclesia and be received as brothers.

So whether it’s in church, out of church, or both, the man we seek knows how to network in the ecclesia. Do you?

#8 – Good Character Reputation

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#8 – Good Character Reputation

 

The eighth characteristic of the man of God whom we seek is that he will have character references (a “good report” ~ Acts 10:22; 22:12; Heb. 11:2,39) from both within and without the household of faith, exhibiting the character traits illustrated as for bishops and deacons as expressed in I Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:4-9.

It is common for these passages in Timothy and Titus to be viewed as lists of qualifications for church leaders. But better than seeing them as qualifiers, look at them as descriptors. Paul said, when you’re looking for the elders (as in wiser, older men) whom you can trust to guide you wisely, this is what they’ll look like. It’s not a check-list, per se, where every leader must meet every item and cannot fail to be perfect in any one area (the two lists are not identical, after all), but some areas where good leaders will stand out – in which they will have a “good report,” a good reputation, or a “good name.”

Solomon told us that a good name (a good reputation and respect) is far better than great wealth (Proverbs 22:1) and than precious ointment (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Jesus was known, amongst more than those who followed Him, as one who “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38)

It has been well said that your reputation is what men think you to be, while your character is what God knows you to be. And while there may be times in one’s life when it is important to remember that distinction, that is not to say that one should not worry about his reputation.

So we are looking for men who are known to others to have high character and a demonstrably honorable reputation. If you had to produce a dozen personal references right now who could testify to the goodness and godliness of your character, from people you associate with or who know you both within and without the arena of faith, could you?

#7 – Ambassador of Christ

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#7 – Ambassador of Christ

 

The seventh characteristic of the man (remember: includes woman) whom we are seeking is that he will understand that an Ecclesia leader is an ambassador of Jesus Christ; therefore, he must strive always towards the building of the Lord’s kingdom and not his own.

For anyone who really knows who Jesus Christ is, who has a bona fide personal relationship with the King of kings, this presents no problem. After all, which is bigger – being the Duke of Twitterville … or being the personal representative / ambassador of the King and Creator of all? Who speaks with the greater authority – the one who represents all of the human trophies and ribbons that he personally has acquired in his earthly life … or the one who speaks with the authority of the King Himself?

Another way to look at it is relative to What’s In It For Me? To the extent that the institutionalized practice of religion is a business, for example, and one goes into it in lieu of another “occupation,” a purely business consideration might be the opportunity cost of putting one’s time into one activity over another, and a man’s gotta eat, right? That is not what we’re talking about here. We are definitely talking about a “lead from the middle of the pack” or “lead by example” kind of scenario where truly this servant leader’s motto is, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Jesus is the head of this body, and we work together as various body parts that He might have the pre-eminence. (Col. 1:18)

So the reward focus of the man whom we seek is solely on eternity – the heavenly rewards that will accrue to those who hear our Savior say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

It is a life-changing thing for one who comes to realize that his single most important assignment on earth is that of being an ambassador for the King of kings. Are you that one?