The Lifestyle For Teaching
Pastor Steve Ellison
Quality leadership is a necessity for every organization and also for an organism like the church. If the church is going to function as God intends it to, we will have to emphasize developing leaders. The book of Titus tells us how to go about that task. A quick reading of Titus shows that character not skills determines the quality of church leadership. According to Titus 1, the Christian leader is called to be above reproach which does not mean perfect but rather making progress, admitting to failure, and repenting.
Titus 1:7-9 states, “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.” NASU The church leader realizes that God owns everything and he is simply a manager working for God. Thus, the manager’s reputation and God’s reputation are inseparable. A manager will not be self-willed. Rather, a manager will work to see that the will of the owner is done. Many of us fail in this area. We forget that God is the owner. Because we are not the owner, we must keep in mind that our will does not matter. Verse seven also tells us that we are not to be quick-tempered. I wish I could go back and have another try at some situations where I lost my temper. It was not a pretty sight and it dishonored the name of my Savior. Verse seven also tells the church leader that he is not to be addicted to wine or prone to fight. One can get into a fight without the help of booze but booze can certainly help. As church leaders we must avoid drunkenness and fighting.
Verse seven says nothing against honest gain but rather condemns dishonest gain. There is nothing wrong with a church leader making an income of any size. However, it must be made honestly and without mistreating other people. Also, we would be wise to remember that we will be called to give an account regarding what we have done with the money God entrusted to us. It’s not ten percent that belongs to God but rather one hundred percent belongs to God. He has retained ownership of everything and we are His stewards. Verse eight rolls out a list of positive characteristics that would make all of us more attractive and pleasing to the whole world. Good hospitality causes evangelism and ministry of all types to be more fruitful. Church leaders are instructed to love what is good. It is amazing that such instruction is necessary but it is. We are called to be fair, show good sense, and realize that we are set apart for God’s purposes. It is imperative that we demonstrate self-control. Losing control negates any good we might have already accomplished and limits any good we might attempt in the future.
Verse nine lays out a couple of requirements for church leaders that will be impossible to fulfill if we have not complied with the rest of the teaching in chapter one. Verse nine tells us to hold fast to Biblical teaching so that we can exhort (teach, encourage) other believers and refute those who teach falsehoods. Our teaching will be authoritative if we are above reproach in regard to the lifestyle taught in Titus 1. If our lives do not measure up, then our teaching will not be heeded. We will not be able to exhort those who need it nor will we be able to refute those who need to be refuted. ……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org