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Family qualifications for leadership

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

This verse is the first in a series of 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 he 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', and the leaders act as the guardians of the 'children of God'.

So, Titus was to select men who had already demonstrated their ability to cultivate good family relationships; and a home where children honoured their father and accepted 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 ineffective father or bad family leader. But Paul asked Titus to look for strong men of peace, who could confront disorder and model a pattern of living which is harmonious and communicative.

Such parents place a high value on instructing the young 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 exactly the same process that Jesus talked about when He commanded His apostles to 'make disciples'. So those fathers who cannot raise obedient and loyal children are unlikely to be able to make disciples of Jesus Christ. So if you have the responsibility to appoint elders, take note. If you are an elder, take note. 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