Looking for godly character
Here’s the second theme from my summary talk at the recent Reaching the Unreached conference
We have had a repeated emphasis on character rather than ministry or gifting or personality. ‘It is not what you can do, but who you are.’ (Andy Mason) ‘Don’t set the bar low just because someone is from an estate.’ (Duncan Forbes). Don’t give people a ‘get of jail free card’. God redeems us from all wickedness. We have been made new. We have received the washing of rebirth (Titus 3:5-6).
This helps with the tension between discipling everyone and focusing on leaders. One of the striking things about Titus is that the expectations of prospective leaders are the same as the expectations of all Christians. E.g. self-control is requirement of older men (2:2), younger women (2:5), younger men (2:6), and indeed everyone (2:12) – but it is also one of the requirements of leaders (1:8).
So we disciple everyone. And then, as godly men emerge, we appoint leaders. Notice: we don’t create leaders, we appoint the leaders that God has created through the gospel. But then, as we give people responsibility, so we equip them for those responsibilities. We give them the skills for leading and teaching.
But the skills bit is the easy bit. The challenge is creating godly character.
This helps with the danger of preferencing middle-class people. Our models of leadership are middle-class because in our culture middle-class people tend to be the leaders. But we must not take our models of leadership from the world (Mark 10:40-45). Titus helps us. It shows us who to look for and giving a polished presentation or having a scheduled life is not on the list. We’re looking for godly character defined and shaped by the gospel.
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