THE relation of leaders to members is of such a nature as to require the highest spiritual qualification. Whatever their worldly circumstances, educational attainments, age, or sex, they need the first order of Divine preparation. In earthly things, every individual should have the qualification their office or occupation requires, whether teacher, physician, or mechanic. Whatever their attainments may be to other offices and professions, they are expected to have those which fit them for the particular one they follow. The qualification for one may be altogether distinct from the other and have no connection, like that of a teacher and physician. Someone may be a good teacher, but a lousy physician, or a good physician but a lousy teacher; and yet it is possible that, under certain circumstances, they may accomplish the two, but not with that efficiency with which they could attend to the one. Everyone in their order, and only in that can they effectively serve their generation according to the will of God.

Now, leaders may, or may not, possess the qualifications which are necessary for the Sunday School, for the ministry, or some of the secular offices of the Church. Still, there is one qualification which they ought always to have, and that is HOLINESS. Holiness should be their nature’s distinct and felt element, whatever else they have or have not. We know not the entire particulars about the sun, but we know that it gives light and heat. We do not know what life is, but we knew what its signs and its works are. Nor is the knowledge of the other things essential. If we knew, it would be of no practical use. Members may not know all about the secular life of their leaders, nor is this necessary. Still, if holiness is in them, they will know by the burning and shining light that illuminates every meeting they attend and all the influences which flow from them. If they have the divine life, its signs and works will be seen, more or less, according to its degree within them, in every sphere in which they move. Holiness should cover all their defects and the absorbent of all their excellencies, itself embodying all distinctions. It should be the vitality of their words, the force of their example, the atmosphere of their life. Were holiness thus the inherent, moving, speaking, praying, prevailing qualification of leaders, how much more genial, lightsome, reviving, helping, attractive, would the class-meeting be! Oh, ye leaders of God’s Israel, Follow holiness attain HOLINESS! LIVE HOLINESS !!

Your work is holy work. Look at it in any of its relations and parts; it is holy work. It has respect to three classes of persons as members of the Church. 1. The seekers of salvation. 2. The believers in Christ Jesus, and who are seeking higher life in Him. 3. The sanctified, who are living for further perfection in God. The character and necessities of each call for holiness in you as the chief qualification. Your work concerning these is to render such help as shall assist them in realizing what is before them. Without holiness, how can you guide the seeker to Jesus? Without holiness, how can you lead the believer into the way to obtain it? How can you teach the saint how to grow into the living Head in all things without holiness?

It is your duty to furnish your minds with all religious and holy knowledge is especially your duty to furnish your hearts with holy oil from heaven. You must keep that continually burning so that its celestial light and celestial influences may be shed upon your understanding and experience, so shall everything you do in your office be empowered with this element of God, of the Scriptures, and Christianity celestial.

Bate, John, ed. 1870. The Guide to Holiness and Class Leader’s Magazine. Vol. 1. London: Amos Osborne.

By Nathan Zipfel

Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene Pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene in Boswell, PA. Batchelor of Arts Pastoral Leadership, Nazarene Bible College Master of Arts, Ministry, Ohio Christian University Master of Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University (in progress)

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