I received an email today that informed me of another pastor resigning here in the Redwood Empire. As with any organization, the loss of leadership creates a serious void to be filled. In most cases, teams or committees are gathered to do the work of identifying the successor. Early in the process, a set of criteria must be agreed on for filtering prospective candidates. What do we desire in a new leader? What does a suitable leader for our organization look like? Do we need to re-visit the job description? A great deal of serious, strategic thinking goes into choosing a leader.
In today’s text, we read that Titus had been sent by Paul to supply something that was lacking in the ‘Cretan Baptist Association.’ That lack was leadership. Paul gives us his criteria for filtering candidates, and by my count from the NIV, he prescribes seventeen leadership qualities. It is interesting to note that there are no criteria for academic achievement or organizational management or financial management skills. All but two of the criteria are personal character items. Comparing this list with similar references to leadership qualities in Timothy and Acts, we see that God is less concerned with what we do and more with who we are. Character is even more valuable than competency.
The character qualities here are:
Fidelity to spouse
Not quick tempered
Not given to drunkenness
Not pursuing dishonest gain
A lover of good
The two competency-based criteria are:
and Knowledge of Sound Doctrine, which results in
the ability to encourage those who embrace it, and
the ability to refute and rebuke those who oppose it.
I hope our churches, and churches everywhere, will consider the emphases of Scripture as they embark on their leadership searches. Look for men of character. Value integrity and holiness and Spirit-produced fruitfulness. Consider their success in the home. And weigh their ability to accurately divide and apply the Word.
If John Maxwell is right – “Everything rises or falls on leadership” – then the success of God’s churches will depend on pastors of noble character who know, preach, and defend sound doctrine. Are those the emphases of your church regarding leadership? Is that the kind of pastor that you are? That you aspire to be?
Lack of leadership is not just a void. It’s a grave.
Pray: Lord and Master, make me a leader after your own heart, after the criteria of your holy Word. Help every church to discover Your pastor for their people. Help transform the mindsets of churches and pastors, that they may aspire to mission and ministry under Biblically-defined leadership.