What are the prerequisites of an effective congregation? It preaches Christ so people believe in Him when it demonstrates sound doctrine in the gospel, lives out its faith, prays for leaders in society, encourages men to take spiritual leadership, selects qualified leaders and follows God's instructions on church order.
Preach Sound Doctrine of Christ's Gospel
Paul told Timothy, his son in the faith, to stay in Ephesus and command certain men not to teach false doctrines, myths and endless genealogies that promote controversies rather than God's work of faith. The goal of this command was love from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith. The law was good if a man used it properly for lawbreakers, rebels, ungodly, sinful, unholy and irreligious. All were contrary to sound doctrine conforming to the glorious gospel of God entrusted to Paul (1 Tim. 1:1-11). Preach sound doctrine of Christ's gospel in love from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith.
Livc Out God's Grace, Faith and Love
Paul was shown mercy after acting in ignorance and unbelief as a blasphemer, persecutor and violent man. God poured out grace, faith and love abundantly through Christ who came into the world to save sinners. The mercy shown Paul as the worst of sinners was an example of His unlimited patience to those who would believe on Him for eternal life. God received glory and honor as the King eternal, immortal and invisible. Paul encouraged Timothy to fight the good fight by holding on to faith and a good conscience instead of rejecting them like Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:12-20). Live out God's grace, faith and love as an example to unbelievers.
Pray That All Leaders Know Christ
Make prayer a priority, especially for kings and those in authority so people can live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness. God wanted everyone to be saved and know the truth since Jesus was the one mediator between God and man. Paul was appointed a herald, apostle and teacher of the true faith to Gentiles (1 Tim. 2:1-7). Pray that all leaders in authority get rescued and know God's truth in Christ.
Encourage Men to Take Spiritual Leadership
He wanted every man to pray without anger and women to dress modestly without expensive clothes showing their good deeds. Women should learn, submit and not exercise authority over a man. Adam was formed first and Eve was deceived. She became a sinner. Women would be kept safe through childbirth if they continued in faith, love and holiness (1 Tim. 2:8-15). Encourage men to take spiritual leadership in prayer and teaching God's word.
Select Elders Above Reproach
The qualifications of an elder involved being above reproach, one-woman man, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to much wine, gentle, not quarrelsome and not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey with proper respect as a proving ground for taking care of God's church. He must not be a recent convert and also have a good reputation with outsiders so he would not become conceited or fall into disgrace and the devil's trap (1 Tim. 3:1-7). Choose elders with a heart for the task who are above reproach and manage their families well proving they can take care of God's church.
Select Deacons and Wives Worthy of Respect
The qualifications of deacons involved men worthy of respect, sincere, not taking much wine, not pursuing dishonest gain, holding the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience and one-woman man who managed his children and household well. Test them before they serve as deacons. Their wives must be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. Those who served well gained an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith (1 Tim. 3:8-13). Choose deacons and wives worthy of respect who manage their households well by testing them before they serve.
Follow God's Instructions on Church Order
Paul wrote instructions how people should conduct themselves in God's household or the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. The mystery of godliness was great: God appeared in a body, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world and taken up in glory (1 Tim. 3:14-16). Follow God's instructions on church order so Christ is preached and believed on in the world.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your church in preaching Christ so people can believe with the following criteria:
1. Preach sound doctrine of Christ's gospel
2. Lives out its faith
3. Prays for leaders in society
4. Encourages men to take spiritual leadership
5. Selects qualified leaders
6. Follows God's instructions on church order