In any type of leadership—whether in the home, the church, the workplace, a political office, or anywhere else—character should be an important component. Not only that, but leaders should be constantly aware of raising up other leaders. You won’t find any more fundamental rules of leadership than these two things.
In our passage today, Paul begins his letter to Titus with a few basic ground rules for being a pastor. He doesn’t tell Titus to work on his sermon illustrations or his building budget. He doesn’t tell him to dress a certain way or make sure he reads the right leadership books. Maybe these things have their place, but they aren’t fundamental to leadership in Paul’s mind.
Paul starts with character. He tells Titus to be humble and self-controlled and sacrificial. He tells him to be bold in this leadership, protecting the people he leads and driving out evil and false teaching. False teachers are “unfit for any good work” (Titus 1:15).
These are strong words by Paul. He’s not raising up weak-minded pastors to be nonchalant about sin and heresy. He even tells Titus to be “blameless.” Now, surely, someone like Paul doesn’t mean that Titus should never sin. This is the same Paul who calls himself the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). He’d be quite the hypocrite if he told Titus to be sinless when no one can be—not even Paul (Romans 3).
Paul is instead comparing two types of leaders: those who are fit for ministry due to their character and striving for truth, and those who are unfit due to their lack of character and striving for falsehood. The idea of blamelessness here refers more to a disposition or worldview rather than pure sinlessness. In other words, God will use a humble, kind, sacrificial, and truth-seeking person, even in his or her weakness and imperfection.
Whether you’re a pastor, parent, construction worker, school teacher, or astronaut, you’re called to lead. You don’t need a team of marketers reporting to you in order to be a leader. As Christians, we are called in every sphere of life to reflect Christ and teach His ways to others (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus was perfect and sinless on your behalf; your job is to be “blameless” before others, to point people to the One who was perfect so you don’t have to be. That’s the type of leader—the type of person—God will use.
Written by Brandon D. Smith