Exodus 18:21 “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”
It appears to me that one of the functions of the leadership in the church is to be continually looking for future leaders. Moses did not ask for applications from among the people to run for the office of church leader. He actively watched the people and chose (from the current men there) those who had already proved themselves trustworthy, feared God, and hated bribes.
The qualifications are also interesting to me. First, they needed to be men. It doesn’t appear there was an age restriction, other than they must have lived long enough to be called a man and not a boy. Also they must have lived long enough to prove their trustworthiness.
These men needed to be chosen from among the people. They couldn’t be training for the pastorate while living off campus. They were to be living among the people they were to lead.
They needed to fear God. Proverbs tells us that this quality alone is the beginning of wisdom. They couldn’t fear the people to a greater level than they feared God. They had to be able to do what is right even if they stood alone.
I already mentioned that they needed to be trustworthy. But they needed to hate taking a bribe. I think the reason is because if the man believed that justice could be purchased at a cost, then they would not judge fairly.