A Leader Should Not Be Like This
1. Recognize the context: Literary Context- In verse 5, we learn about Titus’ mission on Crete. Paul had left him there to finish what was incomplete, namely the appointment of elders for church oversight in each town. Paul’s model for congregational leadership was most likely shaped by his Jewish experience of synagogue life, in which older men served as elders and performed various necessary tasks.
Verses 6-9 provide a list of essential characteristics for these appointed leaders. To begin with, they must be blameless or “above reproach.” Here, Paul was not stating that a person must have arrived at a state of perfection to be a leader. Instead, these appointees should reflect the godly character and maturity evidenced by someone impacted by the gospel message Paul and Titus have proclaimed. Adherence to the list of virtues in verses 6-9 indicated these appointees were surrendering to and participating with the work of Spirit in their life.
These leaders must be faithful to their spouses. Additionally, their children shouldn’t be wild and disobedient. This statement should not be understood to mean parents are responsible for their child's salvation. Rather, their older children should demonstrate faithfulness and respect for their parents.
2. Read the Scripture: Titus 1:5-9
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.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
In verse 7, Paul characterized an elder as one who is responsible for supervising God’s household. Therefore, he repeated the need for this person to be blameless (verse 6). He then identified five negative traits contrary to the blameless life.
1. not overbearing-This person should not be arrogant and self-willed.
2. not quick-tempered-This person should not be prone to anger.
3. not given to drunkenness: This person should not be an excess drinker who is prone to becoming drunk.
4. not violent-This person should not be quarrelsome or a bully.
5. not pursuing dishonest gain-This person should not be shamelessly greedy.
Verse 8 will provide the positive alternatives to these negative characteristics.
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Today, prayerfully review these negative characteristics of leadership. If you are considering or in leadership, do a personal inventory with the Holy Spirit’s help.
Today, pray for the leaders in your church. Specifically, pray the Holy Spirit will help them not to be characterized by these negative traits.
To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions above, how do you need to respond today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, and co-workers.
What specific actions can you take this week to encourage your church leaders?
If you are a leader struggling in any of these areas, find another person in leadership you can approach for a discussion and accountability.