Having a good reputation in life is a good thing. I’m not sure anyone tries to have a bad reputation. Perhaps it just happens, but there are a thousand little decisions that lead to a reputation.
There is nothing Christian about what I’ve said above. This could apply to anyone, but for the Christian and more specifically and especially for the leader it’s not only demanded but a qualifier to be a church leader.
“The pastor is called to model his message. His leadership is authenticated through character. The pastor leads through his life as well as his lips.” Dave Harvey from his book Am I Called?
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 3:7
This is not a stand-alone requirement for eldership, we are well aware of all the preceding lists of 1 Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:5-9. If a man leads his family well or is able to teach, it does not release him from needing to be well thought of in his community.
Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. Proverbs 20:11
The danger has a trickle-down effect, it effects, or should I say, infects the congregation. We as believing people must hold these leaders to a higher standard. They are accountable to God and they are accountable to the local church.
“Whatever the leaders are, the people will become.” John MacArthur
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40
Dave Harvey asks the question: “Is he godly?”
We don’t have to look further than his reputation from the outside, to get an idea what goes on inside. How a man acts matters. Poor behavior can occur in public or private but if there is a tendency to be a public nuisance how much easier does this transfer over to private hypocrisy?
Unbelievers may disagree with what a man teaches or preaches, but they will never condemn his life if he lives out what he professes. Godly men are known in the community because their reputation has already confirmed them. Strive for godliness and a good reputation will follow.