Wednesday 16 June, 2021
5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Throughout the bible, there are many aspirational behaviours discussed. That is, God has set a very high standards for anyone who follows him. But the standard of behaviour for entry to the kingdom is non existent. The bible says that while we were still sinners, He (Jesus) came and died for us. When I look at my own salvation, I know that I was completely unworthy of God’s love, but he pursued me and accepted me anyway. There is no minimum standard to be a Christian.
Leadership in the community of believers seems to be a different story. Paul lists here a series of qualifications about what is needed to be an Elder/Overseer and there is a similar list in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 for Overseers and Deacons. Church leadership structure is much debated, but what is clear is that there are a set of standards that someone must obtain, then maintain and have forward progress in (1 Tim 4:15) if they want to be in a leadership position. The passage here in Titus gives a hint as to why such a list of character, conduct, capacity and calling is listed in verse 9-10: To encourage others by sound doctrine, to refute those who oppose it, because there are lots of people who are rebellious, and people will try to deceive believers.
In our region of the world, I have witnessed a struggle going on regarding whether Christian schools, care organisations and non-profit organisations that are not churches should be allowed to follow this standard of leadership appointment. The world we live in does believe in standards for leadership, and many overlap with this list, however I believe we need to continue to advocate for Christian organisations to be able to appoint Christian staff and leaders to their roles. I believe we need rise in our support of our leaders in the church and in the community, and keep them accountable to these standards too.
Lord, I pray for believers who are in positions of leadership in the Church and in society. I pray that they would demonstrate great strength of character, impeccable conduct, and spirit-empowered capacity as they fulful the calling that you have placed upon them. Lord help your Church to raise up new leaders and train them, support them and keep them accountable.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
Great thoughts, Justin. A good reminder to continue to pray for these groups who are in these leadership positions in our own community, that they may continue to be able to shed Christ’s love to all those they come in contact with.