Biblical Requirements of the School Administrator

April 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

**I know this is a long post, but EXTREMELY important, so I did  not want to break it up.**

I would suggest scrolling down to the “Printer Friendly” button to print for reading later.

At a Christian school, the Administrator is like a Pastor (or Shepherd), as well as a General Manager of a business.  Not one or the other, but both.  Since a Christian school is “Christian”, then I think the biblical requirements for Pastors should apply to the school Administrator as well. (As mentioned earlier, you may call your school leader something different such as Headmaster, or Principal)

As a school board member, I used the following as the criteria when interviewing potential candidates for Administrator as well as fellow school board members.  Let’s take a look at them, primarily from Paul’s letter to Timothy:

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”
1 Timothy 3:1-7 (ESV)

According to this passage, we can use these requirements for an “overseer” which we can also call the position of school Administrator or Board of Directors member.  Let’s look at them individually:  (Please note this passage uses male gender specific language, and I will also in kind, however, feel free to change the gender terms if your Administrator applicant is a female, they all apply basically the same)

 

Noble task.  The leadership of the school is a noble endeavor.  The person’s heart must fully be “into it”.  Training precious children is one of the most noble tasks of humanity. Parents have been given by God the responsibility to train and school their children biblically. When those parents entrust a portion of that training to you, the leader of the school, they are believing in your noble ability to fulfill that responsibility.

Overseer is used to describe a person in charge.  The Greek term is used for a Bishop, Pastor, or other responsible leadership person.  It is a term used do describe persons that lead, labor in the Word or Doctrine, and teach (5:17) To help the spiritually weak (1 Thess. 5:12-14), care for the people they lead (1 Peter 5:1-2)

Desire, two different Greek words are used here.  The first means “to reach out after”. It describes an external action. The second means “a strong passion” and refers to an inward desire.  This describes a person that outwardly pursues the duties because of a strong inward desire.

Must is a particle stressing emphatically that a blameless life is required

Above reproach (blameless) in a criminal sense, there can be no accusation of wrongdoing that can be made against him. No overt or flagrant sin can mar his life, and the reputation of the school.  He must be an example to be followed.  (A background check would be wise)

Husband of one wife literally a “one woman man”. The Greek term describes a moral and sexual purity. This requirement is near the top of the list because it is the area most leaders are prone to fail.  This does not mean the person must be married, after all it was written by Paul, who was single.

Temperate which can also mean “alert”, “watchful”, “vigilant”, or “clear headed”. The person must be able to think clearly.  I like to use the term “being infinitely aware of your surroundings.”  Know what is going on, be aware of the “scuttlebutt” that is muttered amongst others. The person must command the respect of others, so that there is no need for others to mutter about him/her behind their back.  The person must be known as James said in chapter 5 verse 12: “But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No”.”

Self controlled which is a well disciplined person that also knows how to organize his priorities, orderly, and also is serious about his duties as well as spiritual matters.  Self controlled also means being confident. A leader that portrays firm confidence is one that is respected and looked up to.   A school Administrator is a self controlled and confident leader whose “yes” means yes, and whose “no” means no. (A biblical requirement of every Christian)

Respectable. The person must have, and be aware of the respect of those under him, as well as parents and students.  He must also have respect for his boss: the School Board. And, of course, respect for God and God’s requirements.

Hospitable comes from the compound Greek word meaning “love of strangers”.  As with all spiritual virtues, he must set the example; his life and livelihood must show his spiritual character. (Romans  12:13, Hebrews 13:2, and 1 Peter 4:9)

Able to teach is, after all, what a school is about. 2 Timothy 2:24 says to “not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those in opposition, … so that they may know the truth.”  This more applies to a church Pastor, but in a school setting, it sort of still does similarly in that the Administrator must have at least some qualities of a Teacher, particularly relating to teaching from God’s word where bringing up a scripture passage and relating to a situation that has come up.  It can also be applied to the school Administrator being able to teach some of the classes, but not necessarily.  There are basically two types of  General Managers of a business:

The first is able to perform all the tasks in the company. They can fill in when an employee is sick, and they can teach each position to a new employee.  This is important in a leader because it enables them to be respected by their employees.  The second type is one that is able to delegate tasks to those best suited to doing them. This manager is good because he can recognize the strengths and weaknesses in employees, and place people where their strengths will be best used and flourish, or can get training, if he deems it will be beneficial, to enhance the weaknesses of some employees.   Both of these manager types should be able to remove the obstacles that prevent their employees from performing to their utmost abilities. This certainly applies to the administrator of a school.

Not given to drunkenness Obviously we do not want drunkard.

Not violent but gentle. He must react to difficult situations with calmness, control, and gentleness. (2 Tim 2:24 again)  We do not stand for any violence.

Not quarrelsome Peaceful, reluctant to fight, one who does not promote disunity, or disharmony. Not contentious.  Not one to stir up trouble.

Not a lover of money. Not covetous (one of the 10 commandments). The Administrator must be motivated by the love of God and His people, not money. He must have a full understanding and maturity that God will meet his needs, and that God will give him the desires of his heart (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20). If he is working for money, it reveals a heart set on the world, not things of God (Matt 6:24; 1 John 2:15) Granted, he needs to make enough money to afford to live and function in the location.  Covetous characteristics is one Paul says is a trait of false teachers (Titus 1:11 and others)

Must manage his own family well for if a man does not know how to rule his own spouse and children, and finances well, how will he take care his school, co-workers, students, and the budget?  There must be a good and long pattern of solid family leadership, in biblical principles, moral issues, discipline, finances, taxes, laws, etc. His children must respect him with reverence and submission.

Must not be a recent convert First, he must be saved, his testimony must be sincere and according to Scriptures: there must be a specific time of realization of his depravity, true repentance, acceptance of Jesus Christ as his redeemer, and a commitment to follow in Him.

A new believer has not had sufficient time in the Word as well as the Word vs. the world to be an effective Administrator in the situations that come up daily. A mature Christian will not be as tainted by the world’s sin as a recent convert would.  A mature Christian should be well grounded in the Word so as to be discerning and to view any situation in the light of the Scriptures.  He will understand that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12)

Not puffed up with pride A new Christian would be tempted with pride in this leadership role. Pride is the first sin, and it has been said that all sins have pride as their root.  Pride is what caused the fall of satan. Pride denies the work of the Lord. Humility is a trait of Jesus, and a goal of His followers.

A good reputation. A good testimony in the unbelieving community. How can he make a spiritual impact on those who do not respect him? (Matt 5:48; Phil. 2:15)  The person must be known for what they are FOR, more than what they are against. 2 Timothy 2:15 says “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  The reputation of the school depends on the reputation of the Administrator.

In a very similar passage to 1 Timothy 3 reviewed in detail above, Paul also writes these requirements to Titus.  In chapter 1 he mentions a few additional things.  In verse 9, he requires leaders (of a Christian school in our parallel here) to hold “fast the faithful Word according to doctrine, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict…”  Biblical knowledge, and the willingness to turn to the Word of God in teaching, and discipline is paramount in a Christian school.  He goes on in verses 10-16 to warn that there are many people who say they know God (are Christians), but in their works, they actually deny Him.  Their actions don’t match their statements, and that disqualifies them for the position.  Read that passage during your evaluation process and do your “homework” and check references, because these people will say what you want to hear to get the job.

In Titus 3: 1-2, Paul also helps with choosing a Christian school Administrator by requiring the applicant to be subject to, and obedient to, their authority, which can be the school board, trustees, church leaders, parent’s group, and/or to God. They are to be ready for every good and godly work, and are not to speak evil of anyone, not quarrelsome, but are patient and meek.

In Titus 3: 9-11, Paul says to avoid applicants that are divisive, contentious, engage in foolish disputes, because he says such things are unprofitable and useless.  He even says what should be done with a person like this. He says to “reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”  So not only are you to steer clear of such people as applicants for Christian school Administrator or Board of Directors, but use these principles during periodic reviews to ensure they are maintained. If a person you have now in leadership does not measure up to these principles, you should consider discussing the deficiency with the leader, remediation, and/or possibly even letting them go, and find a suitable replacement.

A sound Christian school follows God’s requirements for their Administrator or leadership, and keeps them accountable to those requirements, even if dismissal and a replacement is necessary. 

 

Question: Does your Christian school use the Timothy passage above when interviewing candidates for your school’s leadership?

 

Copyright 2012  Kevin Brownlee

 

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One response to Biblical Requirements of the School Administrator

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