This is the second of four posts of my notes from the very excellent Reaching the Unreached conference which was held in Liverpool last week. As always with my conference notes I remind readers that these may not be the actual words of the speakers, so I might have misheard or misrepresented their views.
Titus 1:5-16 – Andy Mason
How would you feel about being taught to be fit by a fitness instructor who smokes, has a big belly and is clearly about to collapse physically? Healthy churches need spiritually healthy church leaders. Training healthy leaders is part of our ministry.
Titus 1:5 – indigenous leadership is necessary (an elder in every town to be appointed by Titus)
The job is not done until we have raised up local leaders.
Crete was a spiritual disaster zone – liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons.
1. Get healthy spiritual leaders – from the indigenous culture
The elders are men. Men are to be gentle spiritual heads of families and communities. That is not what it is like in our communities, men are either lovers or fighters and women run the family as the men float in and out of various relationships and are disconnected from their kids.
Men are not great with conversation, emotions, relationships, and women are to be thanked for being patient with them. But men are to be Christlike and not womanlike. Women need to let men be men, and put up with a bit of insensitivity as men live for Christ.
Men be sensitive! And as a leader it’s not about what car you drive, where you live, how much education you have got. It’s not even about wearing a suit.
It is not about what you can do but who you are. What sort of character do you have? What is blamelessness? Benefits cheats, trading in stolen goods, faithfulness. What sort of husband and dad are you? You need to lead yourself before you lead your family, and you need to lead your family before you lead the church. Self-control is necessary to direct my desires toward things that are holy and good, self control.
Healthy leaders have got good doctrine. Receiving good teaching and being able to correct bad teaching. Girl at church collapsed because she had only eaten chicken nuggets since she was 2. She had a vitamin deficiency, and we can’t have men who feast on spiritual chicken nuggets.
2. Shut up the unhealthy spiritual leaders
Crete has got loads of unhealthy spiritual leaders. Paul does not mention their lack of skill, ability, experience, size of their church, but rather their character and bad doctrine.
V10 – rebels – their own spiritual authority, mere talkers, v11 – money makers, v15 corrupted, impure, they deny any knowledge of God by their actions- treating women in church as objects for sexual gratification rather than pure sisters.
They ruin people, they corrupt the church. Suburbia is defined by a secular,smug and self-satisfaction. But the inner city is filled with conspiracy theory, end time scenarios, weird teaching on healing and mental health issues being defined as demon possession. This can feel overwhelming, therefore, (v10), raise up godly men with spiritual health and good doctrine. We need to get good doctrine in because the vacuum will be filled with all sorts of spiritual hocum.
V11 they MUST be silenced (muzzled). V13 REBUKE them
This must be done by men with good character. No forceful arrogance but humility and gentleness.
Jesus is Lord means this…positively and not this…negatively.
You cannot be a coward and a good spiritual leader at the same time. We need to teach and rebuke.