By Dr. Jeff Fugate
I love the following verse of powerful instruction. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” – II Timothy 2:2
One of the most important words in the Bible is the word faithful.
When we stand before Christ, one of the things we want to hear is that we have been faithful over whatever talents, opportunities, and privileges God has given to us in life. Paul stated in his “departing” words that he had kept the faith, which means that he stayed faithful. One important aspect in building a growing church is finding men who are faithful and can help in building that church.
They are faithful to the Saviour.
Does this seem obvious? Well, it is not necessarily so. There is a difference in men who are faithful to a church because it fits their agenda or personality and men who are committed first and foremost to Christ. Churches are split when we place men into office whose personal agenda is not the same as Christ’s. We must be careful not to merely put men of means, talent, or personality into leadership.
They are faithful in their walk with God.
We cannot replace a walk with a talk. Some men can teach well, but their personal walk with the Lord is not what it ought to be. Here is an important statement: “There is a difference in a man having a spiritual gift and a man being spiritual.” We often applaud those who “perform,” whether that would be to sing a song, preach a sermon, or play an instrument. Then, those who have a walk with God are so often overlooked.
They are faithful to their family.
Men who are faithful to the raising of their children and to their marriage are men we want leading in our ministries. I am not speaking here of parents who have adult children that may have strayed from the will of God— that is a personal decision of an adult. I am talking about ruling his house well and ruling it in a spiritual manner. For potential leadership in my ministry, I watch how certain men honor their wife. I watch how they serve together. I watch to see if their children are kept in order or if they are allowed to run wild and do their own thing. I even pay attention to ensure proper treatment of other ladies. These must be men of discretion.
They are faithful on the job.
Men who cannot be trusted at work cannot be trusted in church leadership. If they are not obedient to their employer, they will not be obedient to leadership in the church. I am not necessarily seeking men who hold executive positions. I am seeking for faithful plumbers, janitors, mechanics, and faithful laborers. Their faithfulness is based upon their character, not on the amount of money they are being paid. The men who can be trusted in the smallest of tasks can be trusted in the bigger matters.
They are faithful to their church.
The faithful men are those who attend all services and special meetings of the church. They are those who are not sporadic in attendance. If I commit to them, they must be a good example in their church attendance. Sometimes we have men come to church who could do so much if they were faithful. We think that if we commit to those men, it may motivate them to be more faithful. Pastor, that is a huge mistake. Their unfaithfulness is a symptom of a deeper problem, not the need to be motivated. Included in this faithfulness is his tithing.
They are faithful in Christian service.
Again, it is easy to think that if we commit a bigger task to gifted men that they will become more faithful. Unfortunately, this often backfires and can create strife when we are forced to remove them from that position. I recommend that we begin with smaller tasks to get an idea of their commitment. If they are faithful to that task, then we can commit more to them. That said, we still must be watchful.
They are faithful to the pastoral leadership.
Pastor, if men are not committed to you as their pastor, you cannot (or should not) use them in leadership of others. Leaders commit certain things to every member, but the amount of commitment they make is determined by the return commitment. Do not misunderstand that. I will love and pastor every person who attends my church, even if they never become faithful. I will love, counsel, minister, and treat them with kindness and respect. HOWEVER, there are things I am NOT to commit to them if they are not faithful. I want their loyalty, not for my sake, but for theirs. I am not a dictator who wants my way, but I do want a man who knows how to trust and shows respect to other authority. God put me in my position and faithful men will honor that as unto the Lord.
When a pastor finds faithful men, he must train them and equip them for the work of the ministry. Many leaders make the mistake of thinking that building a friendship is the same as developing faithful men.