Scripture: Titus 1:5-9
I. A quality leader is marked by good character.
A. Titus was in charge of putting others in charge in the church in Crete (vs. 5). Verses 6 and 7 say a leader must be above reproach. He must be a man of integrity. He must have a good reputation for living a Christian life. And the first references that you should check for potential elder-pastors in the church would be his wife and children. The church is God’s family – God’s household. The elder is called God’s steward (vs. 7) – the overseer of God’s household. The way that a man leads his family will tell you a lot about how he will lead God’s family, the church.
B. The good character of a potential leader in the church is seen in six positive virtues in vs. 8. Notice here that Paul does not tell Titus to look for skills in leaders. He tells Titus to look for character. Character is far more important in church leaders than skill. Do you possess the character described in Titus 1:6-9?
II. A quality leader is not marked by bad character.
A. The bad character to be avoided is found in vs. 7: “He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain.” All these character qualities are immediate red flags which disqualify someone from leadership. Money is a big idol, and Jesus said in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
B. Skills that are used for selfish ends become destructive. People with skill are effective leaders. But if that skilled leader does not have godly character there is a good possibility that this leader will eventually crash and burn and the church will crash and burn with him. In recent church history there have been too many examples of pastor-elders who have become bullies in their churches – the violent people of Titus 1:7.
III. A quality leader teaches and defends God’s truth.
A. We have seen in verses 6 and 7 that a quality leader must be above reproach in his character. Now we see in vs. 9 that a quality leader must be above reproach in his doctrine. A pastor-elder must hold firmly to the truth that the church has always taught for 2,000 years. And if there are those in the church who contradict the doctrinal truth found in the Bible, the pastor-elder must confront and rebuke those false teachers. Are you humble enough to receive a rebuke? Are you loving enough to give a rebuke?
Pray that Hope’s leaders would be Titus 1 leaders and that you might be such a leader.
The letter to Titus
Commentaries by Andreas Köstenberger, Robert Yarbrough, Tim Chester and Denny Burk.
Sermon Discussion Questions
1) Why is godly character so important in church leaders? How does leadership in your family translate to leadership in the church?
2) Why does Paul emphasize character over skill in church leaders? Are there any other red flags you can think of that would disqualify someone from church leadership?
3) Since knowing and teaching God’s Word are so important for leaders, how well would you say you know the Bible? Are you loving enough to give a Christian a rebuke?