The 3 C’s in 1 Timothy 3

The 3 C’s in 1 Timothy 3

I’ve spent the last 17 years recruiting ministry apprentices in Australia & South America with MTS.

I tell people that the most important thing to look for in a prospective apprentice is not ministry competence, not conviction but character.

Character is King.

When I say this, people give me quizzical looks.

People are sceptical of such statements because we live in the age of the ‘celebrity pastor’. We live in an age where we can easily access sermons by leaders who are gun barrel straight theologically (great conviction) and can preach so powerfully  that you could hear a pin drop in a huge stadium (very competent).

In this climate Bible believing Christians get confused.

We can easily think that competence and conviction are the main things, or at least just as important as character.

That’s why I love using this simple little training exercise (see training paper attached) called, “The 3 C’s in 1 Timothy 3.

This training exercise has three simple steps:

  1. Get someone to read page 1 out loud in front of the group assembled, the text of 1 Timothy 3:1-7. This is a list of the qualifications to look for in an overseer, an elder, a church leader.
  2. Get people, in groups of 2 or 3 to look at page 2 of the paper. They need to classify each qualification as either a character trait, a conviction or a competency. I encourage people to put a 1 in each square. If they think the qualification is a combination of 2 squares, I say, “Put 0.5 in one square and 0.5 in the other”. Once numbers have been placed in every row, the columns are added up. People should have a total score of character, conviction and competency.
  3. Gather people’s attention to the front. The leader facilitates a discussion, asking people the question, “What were your scores for each column? What is Paul looking primarily for in future leaders? Character, conviction or competency?’

When I do step 3, I rarely give answers.

I get an answer from one cluster of people and then I turn to the whole group and say, “What do others think? Do you agree with this group, disagree? What are your thoughts?”

This training exercise is simple, fun and very instructive.

It helps people to really dig deeply into 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and it also helps them to know the mind of God better.

That God thinks character is indeed King.

Download the 3C’s worksheet

By Ben Pfahlert