Has been prepared according to the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. Truth Watch challenges poor leadership practices because it wants church leaders to model the best possible biblical practice, and has been written in the knowledge that it presents an ideal which no Christian leader is likely to model in every respect.

1. Doctrine and Teaching:

(A) Believes and correctly teaches these essential doctrines: Salvation by faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone by God's grace alone [Ephesians 2:4-10].

(B) Believes and teaches the correct gospel: That we are saved only through acknowledging that before a perfect God we are all sinners. That we are saved when we confess and repent of our sins and truly believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, who died and rose again on the third day for the forgiveness of sins [1 Corinthians 15:3; Acts 2:23-24,27,38; Matthew 20:18-19; Luke 24:46-47].

(C) Believes and teaches that the Bible is the revealed and inerrant 'Word of God'. Does not add to, or take anything away from the true meaning of Scripture [Revelation 22:18-19; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32]. For example: God is accepted as the sole creator of everything, according to a literal interpretation of the creation account [Colossians 1:16; Romans 1:20].

(D) Does not teach that there are other paths to God. Does teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. There are no alternative ways to God [Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Hebrews 10:19-22].

(E) Does not promote 'ecumenism' - the unbiblical idea that the Christian Church should have fellowship with those promoting false gods or a false gospel. For example: Robert Schuller's false 'self-esteem' gospel [Philippians 2:3], or the Roman Catholic rites/beliefs pertaining to redemption and the forgiveness of sins [2 Corinthians 6:17-18; Revelation 18:4; Galatians 1:6-10; 1 Corinthians 11:3-15; 1 Timothy 1:3-4].

(F) Will not teach or promote hyper-charismatic doctrine commonly described as 'kingdom now/manifest sons of God', word of faith, or faith prosperity gospels [John 18:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Matthew 4:5, Matthew 24:24; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5].

(G) Does not promote a false emphasis on the Holy Spirit [John 16:13-14], emphasising mystical or 'signs and wonders' experience/emotion over biblical instruction and the central importance of Jesus Christ [Matthew 16:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Matthew 24:24; Matthew 12:39].

(H) Rejects eastern mystical and psychological approaches to worship and meditation, including visualisation, emptying ones mind and other psychological techniques [Colossians 2:8-9 eg: 'rebirthing'].

(I) Does not misuse biblical references to tithing to apply excessive social and psychological pressure to tithe [eg: threatening the right to fellowship, public humiliation, checking tithing records and frequent tithing messages from the pulpit], depreciating faith in God's willingness to meet legitimate needs [2 Corinthians 2:17; Jude 1:11, 2 Peter 2:15].

2. Leadership and Pastoral Care:

(A) Has a clear vision for the perfecting of the saints and evangelism [Ephesians 4:11-16]. Models servant leadership [Matthew 20:26]. Provides teaching and other opportunities for everyone to grow in their ability to spread the gospel, defend the faith [Jude 3] and pursue their 'calling' inside and outside the church.

(B) Demonstrates the gift of a good Bible teacher. Regularly expounds Scripture exegetically [2 Timothy 4:2-3]. Goes beyond elementary teachings so that everyone is able to recognise good from evil and the holy from the unholy [Hebrews 5:12-6:1]. A background in formal biblical studies through a sound Bible college is an advantage.

(C) Regularly teachers on the fear of the Lord, obeying Gods Commands, the reality of hell, creation, hating what is evil, practicing agape love and the fruit of the spirit [Acts 20:27]. Performs the role of a shepherd, protecting the sheep [Psalm 23; 2 Timothy 4:2-4].

(D) Is the husband of one wife [1 Timothy 3:2], with a household that is in good order. A previous partner's proven adultery [Matthew 19:9] or unregenerate state [1 Corinthians 7:12-15] should be the only grounds for any history of divorce.

(E) Accepts the right of members of the laity to question an elder/pastor's actions or teaching, providing it is constructive with no self-serving or destructive motives [Acts 17:11; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:21]. Does not use personal [ad hominen] attacks to avoid confronting criticism or questions.

(F) Is not a 'heavy shepherd' [Nicolaitianism - power over/destruction of the laity] demanding unquestioning obedience, uncritical acceptance of every teaching, restricting legitimate rights to freedom of choice and association [Jeremiah 5:30-31; Mark 7:13; Revelation 2:6,15]. Rejects priestly leader-follower relationships and the so-called 'apostles movement'. Accepts that the Church is a 'kingdom of priests' and a 'body of many parts' [1 Peter 2:4-5, Revelation 1:6; Isaiah 61:6; Exodus 19:6; Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30]. Does not limit people to narrowly defined roles. Supports those wanting to pursue a calling to legitimate Christian endeavour.

(G) Is a good steward of the church's financial and other resources, ensuring there is accountability and transparency in all such matters [see the Good Stewardship protocol on this website - Exodus 20:16-17; Ephesians 5:3,8-9, 2 Corinthians 4:2].

(H) Teaches and models correct behaviour and obedience to God's commands/biblical teaching in all aspects of life and ministry [Titus 2:7], including the role of a husband, the role of wives and the raising/behaviour of children. Freely and publicly acknowledges any failings/sin. Promptly steps down from ministry for any serious sin or accountability failure, especially where the name of our Lord is brought into public disrepute [1 Corinthians 5; Ephesians 5:3].

(I) Has very good pastoral skills. Willing to support people with encouragement and advice, marshalling practical help where necessary [Isaiah 58:6-7; Psalm 146:5-10; Galatians 2:10; Deuteronomy 15:11; Matthew 6:3-4; Acts 4:34].

(J) Is not a new Christian but has the time and experience in the faith to qualify as mature in the faith [1 Timothy 3:6].

3. Church life:

(A) Does not emphasis fellowship for the sake of unity at the expense of fellowship based on the truth [Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 1:9] and a shared determination to promote the Gospel of the Kingdom in the community [John 14:12; Matthew 24:14].

(B) Is committed to a plurality of elders. Leadership, as modelled by the apostles, is a shared responsibility [Philemon 1; 1 Peter 5:1; Colossians 4:11; Proverbs 15:22].

(C) Avoids a people pleasing ministry/culture that offers 'cheap grace' and a cheap gospel [no emphasis on repentance and the central importance of Jesus Christ as Lord] within a so called 'seeker friendly' environment [Galatians 1:10; Romans 1:16; Philippians 1:27-28; Ezekiel 44:10-13].

(D) Does not promote 'royal families' - the nepotistic practice of guiding family members and friends into positions of advantage and authority within the church [1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5-6; Ephesians 5:21].

(E) Is not committed to unnecessarily large building programmes that place the church in debt, hampering the church's ability to meet needs and promote the spread and defence of the gospel [Haggai 1:9; Psalm 127:1; Acts 2:46].

(F) Provides for the discipling of new and immature believers [Matthew 28:19].

(G) Has not forsaken clear biblical teaching and accepted women into eldership [1 Timothy 2:12-14]. Conversely, women are not suppressed but encouraged to perform deacon's roles in evangelism, other forms of outreach, women's ministry and children's ministry.

(H) Does not ignore known 'sin in the camp' [Psalm 101:4; Ephesians 5:11; Joshua 7:1, 22:20] but confronts and exposes it, according to Matthew 18:15-18, recognising that a good shepherd protects the flock [Psalm 23; Galatians 5:9].

(I) Will not promote the unscriptural use of the gifts of the Spirit during meetings and the weekly service [2 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Corinthians 14:32-33]. For example, the irresponsible use of words of knowledge, tongues and proven false prophecy.

(J) Protects the flock from false teachers, false prophets [Matthew 24:11; Acts 20:29-30; John 10:12; 2 Corinthians 11:13] and those trying to 'profit on the blood of the lamb' [unbiblical money making ventures or appeals - see the Truth Watch protocol on Good Stewardship - 2 Corinthians 2:17].

(K) Actively teaches, models and encourages personal holiness in speech, actions and lifestyle that oppose an idolatrous over-emphasis on career, materialism, personal wealth, sport or anything else idolised by the unsaved [2 Timothy 4:2,16; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 7:23; Romans 12:12; Ezekiel 44:10-13].

(L) Does not use church services or other activities to brainwash, propagandise or psychologically attack, separate, [or create dependent, guilty] people. Such activity is clearly cultish [Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:16].

(M) Maintains an active children's ministry focusing on raising kids to fear the Lord, understand essential doctrines and the gospel and honour their parents [Matthew 19:14; Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:4; Ephesians 6:4; Exodus 20:12].

4. Outreach:

(A) Uses programmes and teaching on church history, understanding the times and 'apologetics' [having answers in defence of the faith] to thoroughly equip God's people to promote the Kingdom of God, defend the faith, present the gospel, and disciple new believers [Jude 3; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Corinthians 10:5].

(B) Actively encourages and leads outreach efforts designed to help the poor and needy, make new converts and be a witness for Christ Jesus [Isaiah 58:6-7].

(C) Is committed to church growth through evangelism/conversions rather than competing with other churches for people who are already Christians [transfer growth].

(D) Encourages people to adopt a Christian world view and oppose injustice and unrighteousness in the community/nation [2 Corinthians 10:3-5] A Christian world view is defined as a Christian/biblical understanding of history, philosophy, psychology, culture, politics, the times in which we live, science, economics and sociology [Colossians 2:2-4,8].

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