Bold but Blameless
Merciful Father, let not my heart become hard toward You, or my spirit bitter. Keep me in faith and hope.
Consider: “For Jesus is not only our Lord but our example. And in leadership, as in all else, he is the supreme pattern for human life” (Dr. Michael Green).
Leadership is a hot topic in business, politics and the church. What constitutes “good” leadership? Strength? Decisiveness? People-management skills? Titus is called to appoint leaders in the Crete church based on Paul’s job specifications, which begins with character, displayed in conduct at home and reputation in the community. He does not start with skills, knowledge and experience. The priority is an integrated life. Leaders cannot be one thing in church and another at home. Rob Parsons in Care for the Family seminars paints the picture of the grumpy father at a family mealtime, suddenly transformed into a caring, sensitive pastor when a call comes through from a member of the congregation. That will not do. Integrity is key. Reputation for steady home life and kindness in the community is as vital as the ability to agree with the church’s doctrinal statement.
Character must be supported by alertness and courage. A church leader must be “self-controlled” (8), which has a ring of “having his wits about him” (Gordon Fee). There is realism about threats from “many rebellious people” (10) and boldness in facing up to false teachers and calling them to account. The citizens of Crete carry a reputation for deceitfulness (12, a quote from Epimenides c. 600 B.C.), and this is exactly what the false teachers are demonstrating. Titus must avoid any naïvety and have a nose for those who are just around for their own gain (11). Courage sits under the control of another motivation, the desire to make people “sound in the faith” (13). There is “rebuking” to be done, which easily opens us to abuse of authority. It must never become an avenue for asserting oneself or putting others down: leaders are not confirmed in their identity by others being diminished. The truth has set them free from such corruption.
“Remember your leaders” (Heb. 3:17). Leadership is a complex business. Those fulfilling that role need prayer and support. How can you best support your leaders?
Lord, I know leadership can often be a thankless task. May my church family reflect Your best qualities, and may the example of Jesus guide the leadership.