Why is the crew chief so important to the race team? What about the owner of the team? Well, they both provide leadership and leadership is one of the keys to achieving your goals while at the same time setting boundaries for staying on the straight and narrow. We see the importance of leadership in every facet of life. In the family Dad’s leadership is vital. As Dad goes, so goes the family. So, Dads I admonish you to dig into the Word of God, teach it to your family, and pray much for your family. We see the breakdown of the family too often in America. In business good leadership is one of the reasons why some businesses are successful and others are not. In sports it shows up clearly in the win/loss column as well as how a team is remembered aside from the wins and losses. And in church, leadership is a huge piece of the faithful, godly church.
Titus 1:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you
Paul placed Titus in Crete. Okay, let’s get that right. God placed Titus in Crete and in leadership. We are all placed somewhere by God who in His providence, in His sovereignty, knows best. Notice the phrase, “set in order.” Here we get a really good look at one of the things a good leader must be able to do. Leadership, good leadership, needs to be orderly and able to put together plans. Leaders need to be able to delegate others to assist in carrying out the plans. They have to set goals or targets. God is a God of order and not disorder. Today we see a lot of disorder. Is your life orderly? Is your life ordered by prayer and by God?
Notice the end of the verse. It points to the local church and how we should have individual leaders in each of those small assemblies or local churches. I really think that God wants the church to be small and connected so that local leadership can be involved in individual lives. We see that Paul poured into the lives of the local leaders, teaching them in both Scripture and life. He held them accountable and prayed over them. What a great picture of what a leader should be doing. Do you see that in your local assembly?
Verse six reads, “namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.“
God is very specific with His guidelines for leaders. We see the beginning of them here. We can’t pick and choose the ones we agree with and give a free pass on those we don’t. The list begins with “above reproach.” This does not mean without sin. There is only one who is sinless and that is Jesus Christ. So what does it mean? It means that sin bothers us. It means when we see sin in the mirror we are driven to confessing and repenting of that sin. Is there an overt sin in your life? We need to be watchful. I know I struggle with some things that are sin and that is the point. It bothers me and I know it is sin so I have no excuse. Also, this is why accountability amongst the church leadership is vital to the health of the leadership and the church.
Next is “husband of one wife.” This could upset some but I think it is clear here. It points to marriage and the way that God sees the institution of marriage; a man and a women. There is more to it but I will just highlight this other point. Church leadership is to be men. I know there is the argument that not enough men have stepped up so we need more women to lead, but that is just not Biblical. There are plenty of places for women to serve in church leadership as in Women’s Bible study, Sunday School, etc. but not preaching or pastoring. It is clear that many denominations have stepped out of obedience by failing in this area. Their fall continues to develop as we see them move deeper into sin in this area and away from the LORD and His standards. One more point. If you are a single man, can you pastor? Can you be a church leader? Yes, but purity is a must. Have you taught the gospel and the Bible in your own home? Your children each have an independent choice to make but have your words and actions matched, and has a clear Biblical message been sent to them?
Moving on to verses seven to nine, “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.“
We see a list of virtues for an overseer. An overseer is one who is charged with seeing that things are done rightly by others. Again, it is a high calling. We are to be God’s stewards. How is your stewardship of the things God has given you? Next might be the most challenging, “not self-willed.” Self-will is so dangerous. We see the damage of self-will all around us. Next is “tempter.” We need to be able to keep our reactions under control and think and not burst. “Not addicted to wine.” We should abstain from alcohol. That might be hard to hear but we don’t know when we are going to be called to help someone and if we are influenced by alcohol that could lead another astray. I know that is a hard one. “Not pugnacious” speaks to not being a fighter, a bawler. “Not fond of sordid gain” speaks to greed. Leaders should not be greedy, wanting more than they need. I struggle with that as Americans are so wealthy. “Hospitable” speaks to opening our homes and lives to others. “Loving what is good.” I see one of the great sins in the church right now is the lack of holiness. Sin does not bother “Christians” as it once did. The Holiness Movement (many Puritans and Methodist were involved in this movement) had part of that right. Sin bothered them and they wanted to call out sin. I feel as if I fall short of so many of these and we are not done yet. I am thankful for God’s mercy and grace. They are heart issues. Do you love what is good? Next is “just”, that is doing what is right. “Devout” shows up as one that is sincere, rock solid, and reliable. How vital is “self-control”? It is of utmost importance. What does self-control look like to you? What does self-control look like to God? Are they the same? Ouch. Maybe I should not have thought about it that way. LORD, forgive me for how far short I fall in this area. There is too much of me and not enough of You as I think about this. You know the areas I fail in. We are getting to the end and to another critical teaching – “God’s Word and sound doctrine.” God wants us to handle His Word correctly and to have sound Biblical doctrine. Have you written out your personal Statement of Faith that I have challenged you to do in the past? It’s important for a measure against what God says in the Bible. Lastly, leadership must be able to discipline as needed, never in a harsh way or for personal gain, but in the few cases where the flock is in jeopardy of harm, discipline is a must.
So you might be saying, “Who can possibly measure up to all this?” It is not easy but there are men out there and though they are far from sinless, they can serve. We need to find them and keep the church pure.