1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 mainly talk about character, not competence. The writer speaks of qualifications for leadership in the ministry – yet the only competency trait listed is ‘teaching’. Everything else refers to character, lived out in the context of Relationships. When employees are asked within a business context what they value most in their leaders and managers, integrity comes out top of the list.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying – competence and skill is important, but character is the priority.
I like what Arthur Friedman said, “Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared, but only men of character are trusted.”
David in the bible is often regarded as a leadership success, and Saul a leadership failure. Buried in Psalm78:72 is one of David’s secrets to success; ‘with an upright heart he shepherded them and guided him with his skilful hand.” Here, we see the perfect combination of integrity (character) and skill (competence).
All through the bible, we see leaders rise and fall over character issues. The books of Kings and Chronicles are full of examples of character failures of one leader after another, with occasional exceptions. Building character is no one time feat – continual growth is key, and matters to God!