In Titus 1:7 Paul lays out the rules of living as an overseer or leader. These words have been ringing in my head for the past few months, possibly a full year. As I have heard of leaders failing in big business and ministry alike. Paul writes “Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless-not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain” (NIV). These are strong words that give some high expectations for people called to be in leadership roles.
As I have just recently received my Masters of Divinity with an emphasis in Pastoral Ministry (M.Div) I am now even more aware of my call as a leader in the Church, but also the world. When thinking of Paul’s words in his letter I have a lot to live up to.
According to Paul a leader is to live a “blameless life”, but what does that mean? Does that mean a leader has to be perfect? Does it mean no mistakes? Does it mean that their humanity must disappear? I must submit the answer is a very big NO!
So, what is Paul saying? I think character is the main focus. Paul shares the examples of what a leader should not be. A leader should not be overbearing (a micromanager, a slave driver, or any other descriptive term you can come up with). They should not be quick-tempered, to put it simply, gracious. A leader cannot be given to drunkenness, this could be a hot topic, but I will let you interpret what this means. They should not be violent, which is a good thing. Finally, Paul says they should not pursue dishonest gain, so a leader should not try to make their self look good by taking down their people. This is what the character of a leader should not look like.
So, what does good character look like in a leader? Paul shares “…be hospitable, one who loves what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined” (NIV). Paul is sure to bring a connection between his words of what not to be and what to be. If you are not overbearing, then you are hospitable or welcoming or loving. If you are not quick-tempered, then you will love what is good and be just. If a leader is self-controlled, then drunkenness and violence will not be an issue.
Finally, if they walk upright, are holy, and disciplined then dishonest gain is not the pursuit of their work. A leader should be seeking the best for the people they serve, the people that follow them, and the company they work for. A Christian leader focuses on these same elements, but the company they work for is God’s and they seek to bring Him glory above all else!
Being a leader is a major calling in life. We can have managerial roles, we can be a CEO, we can be whatever title the world wants to give us, but without sound leadership we are just a title. I hope my character is that of a leader and not just a title. As a leader I will strive to love people as I love myself, be just and ethical, control myself in my lifestyle, have nothing that people can question about my character, and discipline myself in Biblical principles in order to guide and provide for those God has put in my path.
Question: What defines a healthy leader for you?