Character is listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 …. “This is a faithful saying:If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober- minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is willing”
An evidence of God’s calling a person to serve is the presence of a desire or passion. This is not a human ambition; it is a calling from God – a deep desire and compulsion to lovingly serve the Lord’s people, the Church. A fivefold minister’s motivation is pure. It is not his ambition worked out in a spiritual atmosphere where he can hide his true motivation. He is doing it because it is the Lord’s call on his life. He loves the Lord and loves the Church that Jesus is building. He desires to see the Body of Christ strengthened and become mature. He would never knowingly do something that would bring disgrace or harm to the family of God or those in it.
To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is above reproach”
“being above reproach” or blameless is not referring to perfection. Paul was calling attention to a person’s reputation. A fivefold minister lives his life in such a way that no one can legitimately find fault wth him. He is free from the taint of scandal and accusation (Colossians 1:22) and has unquestionable integrity. If people look at his life and try to find something they can use against him, they will find it difficult, because he is blameless and above reproach. His character sets an example for all to follow. A man’s reputation will go before him. A fivefold trans-local minister must be above reproach because his is a travelling ministry; his reputation travels to a place before he does, and in many cases his reputation is part of the reason he is being invited.
To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is the husband of one wife.”
The Greek translates this as a “one woman man.” He maintains God’s standard of morality. This passage is sometimes used as a proof text that a divorced person cannot serve as a fivefold minister in the Church. However, if we look at the time it was written, we see that some of the converted Jews still had several wives as permitted under Semitic Law. It was this practice of having multiple wives that was being discouraged at the time of Christ, hence the reference to “Being the husband of one wife.” When he came to Christ, the new convert was faced with a new standard of morality – God’s standard. The same standard applied for any Christian woman. She too was to to be faithful to one husband.
Regarding the question of “Can a previously divorced person serve in any capacity of leadership?” It seems biblically that they can. While every divorce is the result of sin – sin can be forgiven. And, not every divorce is sinful. There are those who have been abandoned and had no choice to divorce or not to divorce. Their mates left them. Physical abuse and having to leave for fear of their lives is another common situation today. There are abused husbands as well as wives. Drug addiction, alcoholism result in a life out of control leads to separation and then, often, divorce.
But, whatever the reason for the divorce, the key here is if the individual acknowledges that divorce is sin. Did they work at bringing reconciliation to the broken relationship – acting redemptively in the marriage? Were they willing to continue to work through the broken relationship with the goal of restoration?
After all, God is a God of restoration. Initiating a divorce is not an option for a believer. However, often good people find themselves in a divorce situation because the spouse went for the divorce. If the person did everything possible to rescue and save the marriage but ended up divorced in spite of his effort, he is not disqualified from leadership or being a part of the fivefold ministry.