What are the basics of the Christian faith? If you drill down to the central message, what is it? Do most church people get it? Do most preachers make it their focus? Can you clearly articulate it?
In Paul’s letter to Titus, he begins with first things first. He clarifies to this young leader the top priorities, the non-negotiables.
Here is the backstory. Paul was involved in launching a Christian community—a church—in Crete. As usual, he demonstrated something rare among many pastors and church leaders today. Paul multiplied himself—he discipled Titus.
On any given weekday, thousands of pastors will visit someone in the hospital to minister to them. Our research demonstrates that less than 5% will take someone with them, to equip them to do the work of ministry. This is a modern tragedy for the Christian movement.
This multiplication process is called discipling. It is the centerpiece of a movement: a culture of multiplication. It was modeled by Jesus and by His followers, like Paul. It is disturbingly absent among most Christians, church leaders, and even pastors today.
What we see in this letter to Titus is an apostle nurturing his disciple even through this letter. He is, in the opening four verses, underscoring the key priorities of faith. As we join in, consider this: How often is this content the centerpiece of your church, the foundation of the faith you confess, and the baseline for ministry in your life and in your congregation? How well do Christians, and your church in general, clearly articulate these basics? How clearly does your life reflect them?
Paul begins by confessing that he is “God’s slave and Christ’s agent for promoting the faith….” Three key and non-negotiables are demonstrated here: (1) God owns Paul—like a slave is owned by a master; (2) Paul is an agent of Christ—a representative; (3) Paul’s central purpose? Promoting the faith.
Is it your priority to promote the faith? By “priority,” I mean, is it that which you always do first? Is it your main mission in life, no matter who you are or what you do? Is it the priority, the driving mission of your church? Is it reflected in the activities, the very culture, of your congregation? Is it your personal priority—demonstrated by your life?
Paul continues, “…getting out the accurate word on God and how to respond to it.” How central is it to your ambition to grow the “accuracy” about what Jesus taught, what Scripture teaches?
Paul continues saying that his aim is “to raise hopes.” Hope is huge in the Christian faith. So, what is the real power of hope? Paul clarifies, “by pointing the way to life without end.” How often is heaven—eternity—a part of your discourse with others? Do you hear it from the pulpit regularly?
Paul ends this opening to Titus by articulating his authority—and yours! He says, “I’ve been entrusted to proclaim this message by order of our Savior, God Himself.” Guess what? You have that same authority. So does your church. The question is, “Is that clearly apparent?”