1. Does our outward appearance matter?
2. If not, why not just let ourselves dress and look just any old way?
3. If so, then to whom does it matter?
Let’s assume a church is looking for a new pastor. The Search Committee has diligently looked at resumes and gone to listen to the most promising preacher. They have narrowed their search down to two individuals: Both are well qualified and are good speakers. One is tall, athletic looking, and strikingly handsome, but the other is overweight and physically unimpressive.
4. Which one is likely to get the recommendation of the committee?
Our church, here at FBC, Ardmore experienced a similar situation, although not in search of a pastor but a gifted speaker. In the late ‘90s we established a prayer ministry and were seeking a speaker to “Kick Off” our Intercessory Prayer Ministry. The name Dr. T. W. Hunt kept coming to us so we contacted him and made arrangements for him to come for a four-day event to speak to us and help us get the ministry off the ground. When I picked him up at the airport, I must say I was surprised at his stature. He was small, a little plump and balding. Not an appearance that would exactly scream “dynamic speaker”! But, boy! was I wrong! Other than our Pastor, I do not believe there is any other person that has had a greater impact on our church than Dr. T. W. Hunt!
5. How much does a person’s physical and outward appearance contribute to your perception of a person as a leader?
Today we will be looking at God’s qualifications for a leader, which are quite different from our human qualifications.
In the last verse of 1 Samuel 15 we find “Samuel mourned for Saul”. Listen to the first three verses of chapter 16.
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-3
The Lord told Samuel that it was time to move on.
Read 1 Samuel 16:4-5
1. Leadership roles can often lead the leader to a place of isolation. In what ways does pursuing the call of God upon one’s life bring isolation for others?
2. What are the risks and rewards of such a pursuit?
3. In what ways is a congregation or a group of people called upon to trust their leadership when full disclosure in a particular situation isn’t prudent?
4. Do you find the people’s reaction to Samuel coming to their town strange? (Sometimes church members react that way when the pastor or a staff member comes to see them.)
Just as with Samuel, our prompt obedience to God is a good indicator of our faith and trust in Him. We may have honest questions or doubts, but we trust God’s best for our lives, so we obey without delay.
God’s Criteria! Read 1 Samuel 16: 6-10
God could have told Samuel ahead of time which son to anoint. Sometimes discovering God’s will in a specific situation is a process, like Samuel experienced in looking at all of Jesse’s sons for the future king. Not only did Samuel learn a lesson, it was recorded so that we might learn a lesson as well.
1. Doubtless we have all had similar situations in job hunting, which city to live in, or where to serve in church. What lessons did you learn through the process of discovering what God’s will was for your life?
2. What dangers lie in assuming that certain individuals are suited for leadership based on appearance or a generalization?
3. What does it mean that the “Lord sees the heart”? (God sees and knows the inner person. He knows the intent and purity of the heart. David was the right man [boy at the time] for the job.)
4. What criteria do we use to select our leaders?
5. How does God’s choice open the door for Him to be honored?
6. There have been times when we felt there was no right answer in sight. How can we learn to trust God more in those situations? (If God leads in a particular direction, God provides.)
David’s Selection! Read 1 Samuel 16:11-13
1. What characteristics of David are mentioned in this passage?
2. Do you find it odd that David is described as having a handsome appearance when God had just emphasized that He looks on the heart not the outward appearance?
3. What do we know about David up to this point in Scripture?
4. What similarities exist between a shepherd and an effective leader? (The welfare of the sheep is of utmost importance.)
This event points to another anointing. Samuel anointed David in Bethlehem. Not only would Bethlehem be important for God’s people in Samuel’s day but also in days to come. The prophet Micah would point to Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Promised Messiah. Centuries later, that prophecy was fulfilled with the birth of Jesus; God’s anointed One, who is our perfect King!
5. How can we learn patience in waiting for God’s plan to unfold in our own lives? (We cannot let our impatience hurry “God’s timing. We need to trust Him and patiently wait for His will to unfold for our lives.)
6. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit indwelled certain individuals to help them carry out specific tasks. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. What does this passage reveal about the Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of Christians? (Today, we have the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit living in the hearts of all believers. Paul says here that the Holy Spirit is a kind of down payment on what is to come for those who have trusted Christ as their Savior.)
7. On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for a leader to be sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit?
8. Would you consider a person’s willingness to follow the Holy Spirit as a requirement for being an effective leader?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. How are you doing in following God right now? (Following God is not measured by any score-keeping system. It’s a lifetime of daily commitments to follow Christ and love others in the best ways possible.)
2. How could you better follow Him? (Talk with Him daily.)
3. You know your own heart, what can you do to have a heart that pleases God?
God chooses leaders for His people. At times, believers’ motives are more important than their actions. When we are called upon to lead, we can trust the Holy Spirit for guidance.
How can we encourage our pastors more as they seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our church?
What options as a group can we adopt? Let’s select at least one action for encouraging our pastors and other leaders to remain faithful to God’s promptings.
The best thing we can do for our spiritual leaders is to pray for them and let them know we are praying for them.