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To become president of the United States, among other criteria, a person must be native born, must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years, and must be at least 35 years old. On the other hand, to be a leader in a local church, the qualifications are much higher. One reason for that is, as the apostle Paul put it, the church constitutes the household of God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Because the church has such a high calling, the apostle, in 1 Timothy 3, sets forth the high qualifications of its leaders. The apostle Paul explains that leaders in the local church should have praiseworthy character. They should be people of great integrity. The reason for this is obvious. The purpose of leadership is to guide others in growing in their relationship with God, growing in their love for others, and in practicing justice and righteousness toward people everywhere. It follows that leaders cannot do this effectively unless they practice what they preach, and model what they teach. Not that leaders will be perfect, mind you, but leaders should demonstrate sufficient maturity, that others can have a visible and practical guide to follow. Rather than telling followers to do as I say and not as I do, godly leaders say as the apostle Paul once said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

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