“Trouble-Shooting With Titus”
“Church Leadership” 1:5-9
Paul finishes his greeting to Titus whom he deems to be a man after his own heart, one with the same attitude, the same commitment to the gospel as himself, with a benediction of grace and peace (v4).
Paul now moves on to the subject of elders, or church leadership, the pastoral oversight of the Church, and of course the quality of those entrusted with such ministry. This leadership is given by God in order to provide proper organisation, supervision, leadership, and teaching. All of which are a necessity for God’s people. It was Paul’s own missionary habit to establish elders, plural (Acts 14:23). Titus must place elders in every town, one of which would be the Pastor of each given congregation. This leadership would no doubt be appointed by the congregations themselves. There would be a recognition of the gifts of suitable men, who would already be performing those leadership tasks, yes, even before appointment. But for a Church to make such appointments there must be also a recognition within the body that there is a need for supervision, a willingness to be corrected, and to receive guidance from these men. I know from past, and sore experience of situations of Churches calling a leader, but have been absolutely adamant as to where they are going, and how they are going to get there. They never really wanted leadership at all, just a figurehead to rubber-stamp their theology and practice already in place. Whether it be biblical or otherwise. And woe betide the Minister who dares to try to lead them in any other direction.
Of course these people who are chosen must be of the right calibre, folk who can be trusted with this work. As you read Paul’s credentials for leadership you may think that every Church leader, every Pastor you have ever known and do know, including yourself, is here disqualified. Then you are probably right. Scripture aims at perfection, and that is what we ought to be always striving for, even though we may feel ourselves to be far from it. If Paul’s words here cast us back upon the grace of God, then that cannot really be a bad thing, can it?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1998)