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Family qualifications for leadership

Titus 1:6
An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. (NIVUK)

This verse is the first in a series of Paul’s God-inspired instructions to Titus for appointing church leaders (Titus 1:6-9).  The qualifications for elders (otherwise translated as overseers, presbyters, and bishops), and deacons, are also seen in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 amongst which Paul wrote, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5).  The principle here is that the church represents the 'household of God' (1 Timothy 3:15), and the leaders act as the guardians of the 'children of God'.

Titus was to select men who had already demonstrated their ability to cultivate good family relationships.  The elders were to be men of relational integrity, faithful, loving, and mutually submissive to their wives (Ephesians 5:21-33).  Within their homes, children should be seen to honour their father, accepting for themselves what he believed, instead of being wild and disobedient.  Such an elder would be 'blameless', meaning that he should not have a reputation for being an adulterous husband, an ineffective father or bad family leader; nor have a wild or uncontrolled character (Titus 1:7).  

Such parents place a high value on instructing their family while giving them opportunity to practise what they are taught, setting appropriate boundaries.  When the children obey, they are praised; and when they fail they are gently rebuked, corrected and then taught how to get it right.  This is the same way that Jesus trained His disciples.  

So those fathers who do not model Christ-likeness will not trouble to raise obedient and loyal children; and they are unlikely to be able to make disciples of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:4).  So, if you have the responsibility to appoint elders, take note and take your time to assess the person (1 Timothy 5:22-25).  Competence is important, but consistent character matters much more.  And for all of us, we need to pray much more for the domestic lifestyle of our leaders than we might imagine.

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for being wise, kind, and just; correcting me when I go wrong and encouraging me to keep on the right path. I am sorry when I have not acted like that towards others. Please help me to develop godly characteristics in my relationships, to change from what is offensive to You and learn a right way of interacting with others. I pray for my church leaders that they will be given great strength to live at home as they do in the church. May they be clear about the truth, strong for what is right, compassionate with the weak and determined to make disciples for Jesus Christ in a way that builds up His church. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams