Can a non-Christian lead the congregation?


I'm in charge of scheduling the worship leaders for a small church of Christ. Recently I was approached by a unsaved regular attendee, who wished to participate in leading our body in different aspects of our Sunday morning worship service -- prayer, reading, communion, etc.  I approached our elders for guidance, as it just doesn't seem right to me.  We all agreed to pray and further study the subject. 

I'm finding that the Bible seems somewhat vague on this particular topic.  Am I limited to interpreting general Christian principles, or can you shed some light or scriptures that you feel will help clarify God's position concerning this matter?


"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1).

When a person leads others, whether it is in teaching, songs, or prayers, he is responsible for what he states and he is accountable for where he leads others. If a person has not obeyed Christ in becoming a Christian as the Bible taught, why would there be any consideration of him leading the congregation is some act of worship? When a person is not a follower of Christ, then he is either untaught or is unstable in his beliefs. Such a person can easily slip and pervert a teaching of Christ, as Peter said happened with Paul's teachings, "which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (II Peter 3:16).

As Jesus pointed out, "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?" (Luke 6:39).

Tell the man that you would love to have him as a Christian and a member of the church, but until he is willing to faithfully follow Christ in all that the Lord commands, he cannot lead the congregation.

Thank you very much, Mr. Hamilton!