It’s really easy for pastors to lose focus, forget priorities, and become a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Why? First, because most who enter ministry are nice people who like others. Second, many pastors have an imbalanced approach of being a servant-leader. A pastor is a servant of God. But many allow that servanthood to drive the pastoral role into a “doer of ministry.” They lose sight of the concept of discipling others to do ministry, according to their spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7-13). Third, following the corporate, secular models of organizations, churches are governed by political systems that are foreign to the ethos of pastoral leadership and ministry in the Scripture.
In Paul’s letter to Titus, he opens by calling Titus a “legitimate son in the faith.” Titus was not a biological son of Paul. But it is clear: The approach to becoming a pastoral leader followed Jesus’ example: discipling—not Bible college or seminary, or any other academic approach alone. The discipling approach births leaders through on-the-job equipping.
In chapter 2 of this letter, Paul begins, “Your job….” Here is a job description for pastoral leaders (verses 1-14). This is the focus: Teach solid doctrine; guide people toward healthy faith, love, and endurance; be reverent—void of gossip and drunkenness; be a good example to your children; don’t behave in a way that brings disrespect to God’s Message.
Then Paul tells Titus the mechanism for influence: Show the people by doing those things yourself; be ready to give and forgive; reflect a God-honoring life (verses 11-14).
Paul ends this chapter the way he started it. He says to Titus: “You are in charge. Don’t let anyone put you down.”
Sadly, the way most churches are structured in governance, the pastor is a caretaker, often described in “churchy” language as a “caregiver.”
Many churches have adopted political systems that include nominations and votes and boards. The pastor’s leadership role in many congregations is to attend board meetings, pray, provide a devotion, and pray at the end. How does that reflect Paul’s guidance to young Titus: “You are in charge”?
Many Christians will rebel at this notion. Why? Abuse by pastoral leaders. While those abuses are wrong and out of the leadership character of Scripture, the default to a political system foreign to Scripture is not the answer.