Hey church leader, have you ever thought that you go to a lot of meetings? So often in contemporary American church life, church leadership teams (elder boards, sessions, etc) have a lot of meetings. It can leave church leaders wondering if there is more to their role. There is more to their role! Or at least their should be. Meetings are not wrong or bad. In fact, I believe meetings are very important, and can be extremely life-giving. If you don’t believe me, I urge you to read the book Death By Meeting. Meetings are needed to discuss a variety of situations and decide what to do about them. But as we conclude our study of Paul’s teaching about church leaders in Titus 1:5-9, we see in verse 9, that blameless leaders are to do at least three things that will likely not take place in a meeting (though I suspect there will be necessary meetings leading up to them):
- Hold fast to the faithful message that was taught to them.
- Encourage/Exhort/Console/Beg/Appeal the church with sound doctrine.
- Expose the contradictory ones.
We’re going to look at each task, but I first want to point out that it is notable that the leaders do all these things. Notice that Titus is not doing these things. Instead, Paul says Titus is to appoint the leaders, and then the leaders will do these things. You would think Titus is the leader of the churches and thus he would get in there and handle what needs to be handled.
But Paul said Titus’ primary mission was to raise up leaders who would do the work. We have seen this principle taught time and time again Scripture. There are to be groups of leaders who are responsible for the church. Not one person, but a group. Not one pastor. Not one leader. But groups of leaders, of which all are involved in leading.
So what are these leaders to do? Three things.
First, they hold fast to the faithful message that was taught to them.
They heard this message from Paul and Titus before. It is the preaching and teaching of the good news of Jesus and what it means to be his follower. They are to hold to the way of Jesus. They are not to be influenced by other ways. Leaders lead by example, by how they live their lives.
Second, they encourage/exhort/console/beg/appeal in sound doctrine. I list all those variations of the word because the word Paul uses is translated by many different English words. By seeing them all you get a richer flavor of what Paul is saying to Titus.
Last week in our series of posts on Titus 1:1-4, we saw that sound doctrine is one of Paul’s main concerns in this letter. And it is the leaders who are the stronghold of sound doctrine. They hold to the message, and then they encourage and exhort the rest of the church to do the same. They are to lead the church in knowing Jesus and being followers of Jesus, even in the midst of a culture that might not care all that much, or that might even make fun of them, or that might even persecute them. Leaders tow the line.
Third, they expose the contradictory ones, the ones who are teaching something other than sound doctrine. They refute them. They shine the light of truth, exposing the falsehood. They speak up. In the next passage Paul is going to address these contradictory ones. So we’ll talk more about that next week.
For now, we see the role that leaders have.
Are you a leader? This is your job description. These are your marching orders.
Maybe you are not a leader? This is what you can use as your goal: blamelessness. Let us be a people who pursue the blamelessness of Jesus, and let us be a church that only selects leaders who have distinguished themselves as blameless.