What are you for?
· The gospel
· Personal growth
· World wide evangelism
· Transformed lives
What does it mean to live for something?
· To be an advocate
· To be intentional
· To be actively seeking
· Financial involvement
· Give time
What does it mean to give your life for something?
· To be all in!
· To surrender
These questions grow out of a study of the opening verses of Titus that we begin today.
The title of this study series is Live Like a Man, Lead Like Men.
Titus is a letter from Paul to Titus.
We could think of it as a memo from an older man to a younger with instruction on how to live like a man and directions on how to lead like men. It is lessons from one leader to another, one leader who is mentoring the other in how to live and lead.
In this memo Paul models what it means to live and lead as a man. His dedication, commitment, determination, and direction for Titus show the direction of his life and what he values the most. At the same time he teaches Titus how to live as a man, the kind of character it takes to be a man of faith and service for Christ.
Such a man is a man first of all and then he becomes a leader. First he must live like a man, then he can leader like men—redeemed men who make an eternal difference in their world.
This is always God’s sequence: live, lead.
Too many try to lead without living, they try to succeed without a core, and their leadership always collapses. What Paul teaches Titus to do is to lay an appropriate foundation so it will hold whatever you build on it.
What kind of a foundation are you laying for your leadership?
Where are you trying to lead without an adequate foundation of manliness?
What is happening to your leadership efforts?
How can you strengthen your foundation so you can be a stronger leader
· Paul the apostle
· Titus the Gentile
Titus was a test case for the gospel of grace early on in Paul’s ministry.
Following the first missionary journey (Acts 13-14), a debate developed as to whether Gentiles had to be circumcised in accordance with the Old Testament requirement for entrance into God’s covenant family (Gen. 17:1=14). The Lord had appeared to Peter and sent him to Cornelius (the first Gentile convert) with no conditions of any kind and, when Peter presented the gospel, the Holy Spirit entered the Gentiles just as He had the Jews in Acts 2. There were no pre-conditions for the Spirit to indwell the Gentiles, and this was true throughout Paul’s first missionary journey. When Paul reported this, many raised questions, so a council was convened in Jerusalem to determine if Gentiles had to become Jews in order to have eternal life (Acts 15:15-1-35).
Paul took Titus with him to the Jerusalem Council as a private test case to determine if circumcision was required for salvation, but it was determined this was not the case (Gal. 2:1-3).
Salvation comes solely by grace through faith with no pre-conditions of any kind.
Titus is living evidence that the gospel is a matter of pure grace, that all of us come to Christ by God’s grace alone.
Point: The focus of Titus’ life is grace, and that’s at the heart of Paul’s memo to him as he teaches his protégé how to live and lead.
We live and lead by grace!
Stop and think about what God’s saving grace means in your life.
List the changes in your life that grace has brought to you.
How does grace impact your motives?
How do you depend on grace to carry out your daily responsibilities?
What other thoughts do you have about grace?
There are several key themes in Titus we’ll be looking at as we work out way through the book. All of these themes appear a number of times in this short memo. I list them below in the order that they appear. Read the book and see how often each of them appears. Fill in this table below with the references you discover. Read the memo in several versions to understand it better.
Titus became a trouble shooter for Paul in Corinth helping him in one of the most difficulties moments in his ministry. He took I Corinthians to the church in Corinth and later met Paul to give him the good news that the Corinthians had responded well to his teaching and demands presented in his letter to them (II Cor. 2:13; 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18).
Their relationship, the fruit of grace, was very special, and Paul called Titus “my true child in a common faith.” That is a very amazing statement in the ancient world where no Jew would own a Gentile as his “true child.” Gentiles were dogs to the Jews, and they had as little to do with Gentiles as they possibly. The common faith was the work of grace in both of their lives that brought each of them to Christ from very different places.
This is amazing. Paul, the Jew of Jews, and Titus, the uncircumcised Gentile, part of the same family holding the same faith as a result of the same grace.
Who is in your family of common faith that you would never have a relationship with apart from grace?
What is that relationship like?
What does that relationship mean to you?
Write a word of appreciation to this person expressing how much it means for you to be together in God’s grace family.
Titus is on another trouble shooting venture for Paul. They were traveling together when they came to the island of Crete south of Greece and a bit southwest of Turkey in the Mediterranean. Paul saw great needs in the church that had already been established on Crete, so he left Titus there to do two things: set in order what remains to help the church to become healthy and appoint elders. Both of these are leadership tasks, and Paul wrote his memo to remind Titus of what these responsibilities required.
This is why Paul begins his memo the way he does.
Paul starts his directions to Titus in the same way as anyone in the ancient Greek world would begin an epistle, with the form of a standard salutation, although his content was different, of course. In fact, this is the only time Paul begins in quite this way and this beginning takes us back to our opening question:
What are you giving your life for?
Let’s look at Paul’s answer to this question. As you read these words remember that all that matters in life is contained in this short sentence.
Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised long ages ago (Titus 1:1-2)
Before reading ahead write out the core principle that grows out of these words as you read and think about them.
Here is my core principle:
Whatever you give yourself for defines who you are and determines what you do the way you do it and why you do it.
Look at it this way:
Who Person slave identity
What Purpose for reason
Way Passion apostle/leader responsibility
Why Persuasion hope motive
Because Paul is for the faith of the chosen (because Paul is giving everything he is and has to purify and strengthen the faith of the chosen) he is a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ living out of the absolute certain hope of eternal life.
Before reading ahead in these notes think about what it means to give yourself for something. What is involved in giving yourself for something? List at least three things giving yourself for something demands of you.
Here’s my answer.
To give yourself for something demands
You must give yourself over to whatever it is you are for. You cannot hold back anything or you’re not really for it. You can’t be for the Cowboys and hold anything back, no matter how much they disappoint your. And because you’re for the Cowboys, you keep coming back for more and more punishment.
So we say we are for Christ. What does it look like to release ourselves to Christ in shoe leather?
To release yourself to something because you’re for it means you give up all control of life and time in pursuing the thing you are for.
Think of your career. You’re certainly for your career. And you’re certainly giving yourself over to the control of your career.
So we say we are for Christ. What does it look like to give all control over to Christ in our career?
Whatever you are for demands a price from you—a very high price. Just think of what Jerry Jones is getting for seats in his new stadium. This means you are paying a price for whatever you release yourself to, for whatever controls you.
So we say we are for Christ. What price are you paying to be for Him?
And if you discover through this time that you’re not for Christ, what are you for? And what is your ROI on the investment of your life for something other than Christ?
Read Exodus 21:1-6 and list the characteristics of biblical slavery.
Titus 1:1: Paul, a slave of God . . .
Remember the core principle from Titus 1:1-2
What you give yourself for defines who you are and determines what you do, the way you do it, and why you do it.
Who Person slave identity
Way Purpose for reason
What Passion apostle/leader response
Why Persuasion hope motive
Who owns you? Whose slave are you? Who is your master?
Whoever created you—the potter owns the clay
Whoever you obey/serve
Whatever you yield to
What ever inner hunger drives you
What ever fear dominates you
Whatever gives you power and control over life?
What are some owners we can give ourselves to?
· The identity we seek to get
What is our purpose in giving ourselves to be owned?
· To be God
What does your owner demand of you?
What does your owner give you back in return for what he takes from you?
Who could own you? What are some possible masters that could own you?
Mammon—the way you keep score and gain significance
People—the way you get acceptance is to be liked and gain security
Sex—really a play for power.
What others might there be?
The bottom line is that we sell ourselves for the same thing, not matter what it is we enslave ourselves to.
Whether it’s money or people or sex, our aim is to gain security and significance and to get this we must have power and control.
How do you respond to the idea that we sell ourselves to the owner we think will give us power and control so we can be safe and secure?
What others masters have you sold yourself to in the past?
And what master are you selling yourself to now?
The drive for security and control—really independence— fits with Satan’s original appeal to us to be like God so we could be in the place of highest knowledge (the knowledge of good and evil) and greatest power—and control. Satan’s plan for us is to make us independent of God, not so we can be truly independent, but so we can be dependent on him in his role as the prince of the power of the air, which means we live according to the course of this world (Eph. 2:2), blinded by him as the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4).
Have you ever made a painful discovery about yourself and said, “I can’t believe how blind I’ve been?” What was that blindness about?
What impact did that blindness have on your relationships? On your values? On your walk with God?
What part did you play in that blindness? What made you want to be blind? What signals did you miss in your blindness? How willfully blind were you?
What lessons did you learn from your blindness?
When that kind of blindness occurs you have given yourself over to Satan’s kingdom, not to his possession, but to his kingdom. In other words, you have chosen to buy into Satan’s lie that you can be as God and taken over God’s role in your life only to discover that you cannot be God; you can only end up with a master who destroys you and will never deliver you. It’s not so much that Satan can’t deliver you (he can’t), but he won’t deliver you (he doesn’t want to; he wants you beholden and in bondage to him).
What makes you want to be your own god?
We think of ourselves as Type A Personalities, driven men, ambitious men, successful men who think we are in control, but who deceive ourselves into thinking we actually can control our careers and the results of our lives.
We like our drive. We love the challenges we face in life and think of ourselves as being able to overcome and surmount any barrier we will ever face. And we have evidence that we can do this since we have succeeded at it in the past—and we may still be succeeding as overcomers.
But we have some uneasiness within us. Life isn’t going quite as we expected it to. The current economy is creating uncertainty within us; we don’t know what’s going to happen and when we don’t know what’s going to happen, we can’t have the same level of confidence we’ve had in the past.
As it turns out, we are exactly what the Bible calls us: sheep. And sheep need a shepherd, but we try to shepherd ourselves, and it’s not working. If we take a good look at life, we discover self-shepherding never has worked and we’re learning more and more that it never will work. We’re not really Type A Personalities as much as we’re Type A Sheep, and Type A Sheep rush off in every direction trying to make their own way only to end up falling off cliffs, stuck in brambles, and breaking their legs. What we need is a shepherd, but the owners to whom we currently give ourselves are not shepherds but thieves. They have promised us everything and given us nothing. Instead they have stolen us and all that matters to us and once they have all they want, they will toss us aside and leave us shattered and broken on the sheep pile of life.
So how do you respond to being a sheep—a Type A Sheep?
Are you willing to own that identity? Why? Why not?
What are your needs as a Type A Sheep?
How are you currently meeting these needs?
How well are your needs currently being met? Why? Why not?
How can you see these needs more fully met?
What decisions must you make to have a shepherd who will fully meet your need?
I resign being You.
Knowledge is power, and power is what we want. We want security, but the only way to be totally secure is to have total control and the only way to have total control is to have total power. Or to have total trust by giving up our control to Someone who truly has the power and control we seek to give us the security we want.
The option is this: to gain security through knowledge that gives us power and control or to gain security through knowing the One who has the power and control we need and can never get on our own.
We think we’re trusting ourselves, but we’re not; we’re trusting whatever gives us the false sense of power and control. This means the bottom line of life is trust—and the only way we can trust is to give ourselves so totally over to the One with ultimate power and control that we become a slave.
Which option are you choosing?
Whom do you trust with your life?
The answer to this question is the answer to the question “Who owns you?”
So what’s your answer to “Who owns you?”
The concept of slave just doesn’t make it with us. It was a repulsive concept to the ancient Greeks and it’s a repulsive concept in the modern world. The ancient Greeks saw it as a perversion of human nature. Slaves could never be citizens in ancient Greece, so they never had the dignity of freedom nor could they speak with the voice of the people. They were without voice or value—they didn’t exist in society.
The Jews saw slavery as something that is not normal—something that should not mark the human condition. There was an illegality and irrationality that marked slavery, as they learned in Egypt. It spoke of the force of power and submission that robbed a man of all his God-given dignity. The rabbis viewed the word slave as an insult, and a man could be excommunicated for calling his neighbor a slave (Kittel, II, 272).
As a concept slave is a thorn that has no rose—and Paul knew it. We cannot water down this word. The slave was not a bond-servant with a contract of come kind that had a release clause in it. It was a permanent state that meant exactly the same thing in the ancient world that it means today.
Slaves were at the bottom of the heap in Paul’s day—and many of those who came to Christ were slaves, so they were in the ancient church.
Slaves had no will of their own; slaves had no choice, they did what they were told to do no matter how the felt about it, whether they liked it or not. Slaves had no choices of their own—they could never say no. Slaves had no time of their own. Slaves had no position of their own. Slaves had no possessions of their own Slaves had no future of their own.
Slaves always wore a white apron that identified them wherever they went, very much like the yellow Star of David that Jews had to wear in Nazi Germany. Even though they could occupy very high and trusted positions such as tutors to the heirs of very wealthy households, they were still slaves, and they had neither voice, vote, nor rights.
Yet the word takes an amazing turn in the Scriptures. The highest position a man can have is to be a slave—the slave of God. Biblical thought is totally distinct from Greek thought and even some dimensions of Jewish thought.
To be God’s slave is to enter into an exclusive and absolute relationship in which He totally controls a man for His purposes—and that’s the highest honor a man can ever attain. This concept carries over into the New Testament: the highest position a man can attain is to be a slave!
All of us are slaves to something—Romans 6:16. You have many choices as a slave, but you are a slave, no matter what you think...
You can be a slave to your followers, but you will always be a follower rushing forward so you can follow from the front.
You can be a slave to your peers, but you will always be an inferior held in the shackles of competition and the feelings of fear.
You can be a slave to yourself, but you will neither lead nor follow—you will protect yourself in every way you can.
You can be a slave to your culture and pursue all its values in Jesus’ name, but you will be a man of your culture and never a man of Christ.
You can be a slave to your Lord and always be a leader, though at great cost to yourself and great benefit to your followers.
So whose slave are you?
Think about this:
Go to Exodus 21:2-6 and see what it means to be a slave to God. Before going further in this study, read Exodus 21:2-6 and write down what you understand this passage to be saying about being a slave.
Here’s what I think it means.
In the Bible slavery was voluntary. (Ex. 21:5) The man who entered into slavery for six years chose to make it a lifetime commitment. He was not forced to become a slave, even as we are not forced to become God’s slave. He had a choice, just as we do.
We can choose to become God’s slave or someone/something else’s slave. Now as believers we have been bought for a price and God owns us, no matter what other slave master we may change. And sooner or later God will assert His ownership rights either to bring us back or take us out for our own eternal security (I Cor. 11:30-32). So you have a choice to make: whose slave are you?
In the Bible slavery was a response of love. (Ex. 21:5) What would make a man become a slave? Only one thing: love! “If the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children . . .”
Plainly—clearly, definitely, not under compulsion, but because of what his master has done for him, in a response of gratitude and a heart of love. This type of slavery cannot be coerced.
If you don’t see what God has done for you and respond to Him with a grateful love, don’t be His slave—in fact, you can’t be His slave. There is only one reason why we can become God’s slave: out of a love for Him in response to His love for us.
In the Bible slavery was a response of commitment. (Ex. 21:6) The slave made a radical commitment to his master. He committed never to go past the limits of his door post.
These may have been physical limits or they may have been emotional limits, but they were limits. In essence, the slave was making a voluntary and radical commitment of love never to go anywhere his master did not allow him to go, no matter how limited that might be.
In the Bible slavery was a response that was permanent. (Ex. 21:6).
In the Bible the master had a legal responsibility to the slave. (Ex.21:6) The master had to bring the slave before the judges (the elders who sat in the city gate and acted on the people’s matters) to make certain that the slave was making a voluntary love response.
Once this was confirmed there was a legally binding action, the piercing of the slave’s ear on the master’s door post to seal the radical and permanent commitment of the slave.
For us the legally binding action took place on Christ’s cross. What else could show us the kind of loving Master we so desperately need?
The point of it all:
Every man needs his ear pierced!
What does it mean to be God’s slave?
To belong to God by grace and to be radically committed to Him out of love so we do whatever He wants no matter what it is or what it costs us.
What do we get out of being God’s slave?
The greatest life with the greatest ROI we could possibly imagine!
How does being God’s slave impact your day-to-day life? Oh, yes—the limit of God’s door post is all of our time and His eternity for us.
What’s the limit of your current master?
All our ghosts are real.
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”
Ghosts are previous events in our lives – things that haunt us.
All our ghosts are real.
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”
Ghosts are previous events in our lives – things that haunt us.
· Traumatic events
· Those who failed you, including you
Ghosts: those events in our lives that haunt us and impact the way we think and feel about ourselves so they distort our identity and limit our abilities.
All the feelings we have that make us who we are—
· the joys that encourage us
· the challenges that call us
· the excitements that stir us
· the sense of our gifts that motivate us
· the response to our opportunities that engage us
as well as
· the fears that drive us
· the tensions that stress us
· the insecurity that freezes us
· the lust that shames us
· the voices that define us
· the anger that blinds us
· the memories that mislead us
So it is that All our ghosts are real.
Time out questions:
What are some ghosts that haunt you in your heart?
How do they impact you?
What feelings do they create in you? Any fears? Any anger?
What do you do about these feelings?
Drown in them?
Struggle to swim through them?
Pray your way through them?
Deny them with the hope they will go away? Do they go away? How long do they stay away?
Do you have anyone you can talk about with them? If you don’t, why don’t you?
Do you feel you will be rejected if you talk about them?
How can you find someone to help you gain freedom from these feelings?
I recently heard a son speak eloquently at his father’s memorial service and tell of one time when his father, as a boy, took one whole afternoon rearranging the tools in the barn in an effort to please his father, but there wasn’t one word of praise. This son’s father was one of the most successful people you could ever know, yet he never gained any approval from his own father despite all of his success. He had not done what his father wanted him to do, so everything he did was a waste in his father’s eyes.
I once spoke at a conference where I met a truck driver named John (not his real name, but a real event) who told me all he heard growing up was, “Johnny, can’t you do anything right?” I spoke that week on what it means to have our identity from Christ and at the end of the time, John came to me. He was a big strong man who was the epitome of what you imaging a truck driver might be. He came to me to tell me that he had gained freedom from his painful memories. Than he took my hands into his and squeezed with all his might. I thought my hands would break from the strength of his gratitude—the pain was severe, but the joy and release were great. His grip on my hands reflected the power the ghosts in his life once had over him.
Many men think this way.
“I can never please my father,” and they live their lives trying to please their fathers or they live their lives rebelling, seeking to hurt their fathers, but all they do is hurt themselves. Or they have echoes of condemning statements in their hearts that define and drive them, even torment them until they become prophetic words in their souls.
And there is a very important life principle we need to understand.
Heart Talk Determines Life Walk.
Time out questions:
What does this principle mean to you?
What does your heart say to you?
How does what your heart says to you relate to what God’s word says to you?
We have all heard about self talk and how constructive or destructive it can be.
It’s true that self talk is a powerful reality in all of us. How do heart talk and self talk relate to one another?
They are pretty much the same thing. The world around us recognizes the problem we have with sin and the flesh; they just do not have a biblical solution for it. It makes great sense to change our self-talk so we are no longer destroying our confidence with painful and futile thoughts, and we can do this totally apart from Christ. Unbelievers can redirect their lives so they become more productive and effective human beings, just not more godly and Christ-like. That they cannot do. Some of them may end up being nicer than some of us are because we never confront our heart talk and gain deliverance from the destructive messages of our souls. They bring their self-talk under the discipline of new thoughts that work according to the flesh. We do not change our heart talk that way.
We can only change our heart talk through God’s word and the practice of the spiritual disciplines in the Spirit’s power. That’s where real change comes. We change to become those who love God and neighbor, but we can not deny the reality of the virtuous unbeliever who looks really good to the society around him. Yet that virtuous unbeliever can never enter into a relationship with God apart from the humbling acceptance of God’s grace.
If Satan can become an angel of light, the flesh can become a reflection of that light. It’s just not the true light, but a counterfeit light that can work well in time but never in eternity.
The way we think of ourselves in our hearts determines the way we express ourselves through our lives.
Consider Proverbs 23:7: As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (KJV).
While the King James Version reads heart in this passage, and this is how Proverbs 23:7 is best known to us, the word is actually “soul.” Soul means breath, and when we speak of our soul, we are speaking of the fact that God breathed the breath of life in Adam and also in us. One way we gain dignity as human beings is through the fact that God breathed in us and made us alive.
The Bible tells us that there are two things God breathed. One is the soul that He breathed into Adam when He gave him life and the other is the Scriptures. II Tim. 3:16 tells us that the Scriptures are God-breathed, that is, inspired. Both humans and the Bible are eternal, the only two eternal realities we have in our world. Everything else will pass away, but we and the Scriptures are eternal because God has breathed life into us in a special and unique way. But sin distorts our souls and makes us something other than what God designed us to be. He created us to belong to Him heart and soul and to find all that we need in Him, not in ourselves. Heart talk is actually soul talk, thoughts that arise from the very deepest parts of our being.
If a man thinks selfish, he is selfish, no matter how generous he talks.
If a man thinks fear, he is afraid, no matter how intimidating he may be.
If a man thinks lust, he is lustful, no matter how purely he may talk.
If a man thinks personal ambition, he is personally ambitions, no matter how humble he may talk.
And it goes on.
No matter what a man says with his mouth, what he says in his heart determines what he is in life.
Heart Talk Determines Life Walk!
Our heart talk determines who we are and how we act. Now how can we change our heart talk? The change comes slowly, imperceptibly, unconsciously through the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:1-2). The mind in the New Testament is equal to the heart in the Old Testament. The heart is the Hebrew way of talking about the whole person, and the mind is the Greek way. So when Romans 12:1-2 speaks of the renewing of the mind, this is the New Testament way of talking about renewing the heart.
Time out question: And how do we renew the mind?
By responding to God’s mercies and radically giving ourselves to God and His will.
We do this by filling our hearts and minds with the truths of God’s grace so these truths become our heart talk and God’s grace determines our life walk.
The mercies of God are the great motivators of the Christian life. For far too long our ghosts have driven us through guilt or shame or fear or pride or bitterness or many other destructive longings. But God has covered all that through His mercies in Christ. This is what Paul talks about in Romans. He starts with the reality of our sin and then shows us how God can be just and the justifier of those who have sinned and calls for us to respond to God by trusting Him. Then he tells us what our justification means—a new identity as those who have been identified with Christ on the cross. We can no longer live as we used to live—motivated by guilt—because we’re not who we used to be. We’re not guilty any more. Even though we struggle with sin, there is no condemnation for us and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But how can we be sure we can trust God to keep His word? How can faith be enough when we’re so guilty? Because the faith way has always been God’s way. Paul showed us this when he demonstrated that Abraham was justified by faith. And he also shows us this through God’s faithfulness to faithless Israel and His plan to keep His word even to those who have dishonored His covenants with them.
So now we know God has been merciful to us. He justified us, identified us with Christ, delivered us from the exclusive control of sin in our lives, freed us from condemnation, guaranteed us His love, and He proves all of this through His faithfulness to Israel. We can take God at His word so we can trust God. His mercies are new every morning—great is His faithfulness.
The ghosts are false voices in our hearts that distort our souls and take our true identity from us. Live in light of the mercies of God and you will live in the light of God’s very life. Finally, you will begin to become you.
Time out questions:
What steps are you taking to fill your mind with the reality of God’s mercies?
How do you confront the ghostly voices from your past with God’s truth?
This confrontation is a great battle. Remember that Martin Luther threw an ink well at the devil when he was once fighting a battle with his heart talk.
Now we have a new understanding of reality and this is how we build a true identity.
For so many of us reality is a matter of control and not of trust. This is where we get in trouble. For all of us at times reality is something to be excited about, to move toward
because of what it promises.
And sometimes reality keeps its word, but many times reality
· and disappointments.
For many this has been their experience of reality, so reality is something they seek to control because it is something they
· hide from
· run from
· are ashamed of
· pretend it isn’t true
· hope against
· are stressed about
· are uncertain about
Reality is a very bad memory they can’t escape from. But none of this is true when Titus 1:1-2 is true in our lives. None of this is true when we are sent slaves—when we are slaves of God sent by Jesus Christ.
Then we realize that while all our ghosts are real,
None Of Our Ghosts Are True!
We live in a new reality—God and Jesus are our new reality.
POINT: Now reality means
Now we realize Reality cannot be controlled because God is Reality. That’s what godliness is all about—taking God for real and living that way.
That’s what the faith of those chosen of God is all about. We are chosen of God.
We are not weak men who must prove ourselves strong—we are chosen of God.
We are not frightened men who must intimidate others into fearing us—we are chosen of God.
We are not lustful men who must over power women to prove our manhood—we are chosen of God.
We are not driven men who must run over others to show we are #1—we are chosen of God.
Chosen of God is what defines our identity.
Now we begin to think of ourselves as men who were created by God,
· who were given the breath of God as our life,
· who were given the image of God as our dignity.
Now we think breath, image, chosen when we think of ourselves.
Time out questions:
What does it mean to you that you are the chosen of God? Spend 15 minutes thinking about this.
Why were you chosen? Only because God chose to choose you.
What could be more humbling than to be chosen of God?
Now our heart talk determines a new life walk—as men of dignity and self-respect and humility and dependence and freedom and value. Now we have nothing to prove and every confidence in God’s good hand upon our lives. This is the truth that results in godliness—in taking God seriously and living in the reality of His presence, His purpose, His power.
But we can only gain this through trust because we can only enter into true reality if we trust God to take us there. All our ghosts are real, but none of our ghosts are true because God and His grace is the Ultimate Reality we have all longed for and only occasionally realize.
Time out question: Why is our realization of this so rare?
Because we do not live according to the faith of the chosen. We live according to the control of the unbelieving. I know I speak often of control, perhaps too often, but control is the core issue of Reality. Who’s in control determines the reality of our lives. When we’re in control we live in the false reality of our ghosts—they determine our identity and become the drivers of our lives.
“I can’t please my father, but I’ll spend the rest of my life angrily striving to do so.”
“I can’t do anything right and I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to prove my parents were wrong and proving over and over again that they were right.”
This is the reality we know—the reality of the rejected, not the reality of the chosen.
We do not enter into the trust that our New Reality demands and so we live in the futility of the old reality.
Time out question: What changes does this call for in your life.
Answer: This means I’m alive for a purpose.
No matter what anyone may say abut me or has said about me or what doubts I have in my mind, I am alive for a purpose. I start with where I am today and assume that what I am doing now is God’s purpose for me unless it is illegal, unethical, or immoral, and I pursue that purpose for all I am worth and with all that I have no matter how I feel unless and until God tells me otherwise in whatever way He communicates this. And I pursue what I have to do today whether I succeed or fail. I strive to succeed and I seek not to fail, but I must remember that the most important thing we do in life is grow!
Now I know what it means to be sent by the humiliated, crucified, and glorified One. It means a total re-evaluation of how I measure others because I know I’m not as superior as I thought I was when I follow the Humiliated One into His humility. It means a total transformation of what I value in life—death to sin is more important than life in sin to me now as I follow the Crucified One into His death. It means a total exaltation of the New Reality as I follow the Glorified One into His glory and give glory to Him—and no longer seek glory for myself.
Fill your heart with the realities of God’s grace and respond to them by faith in light of the truth that leads to godliness.
This is what your life is all about.
Change your heart talk so you can change your life walk.
Heart Talk Determines Life Walk!
Leader Formation InternationalMalcolm Gladwell, in his book The Tipping Point, shows an amazing fact about leaders.
In the 1970s and 80s New York was one of the crime capitals in the world From the mid-seventies until 1992 there were 675,000 crimes committed every year in the Big Apple. But then in 1992 crime took a sharp drop downward and stayed there.
What caused this?
More aggressive police work? Economic improvement? Nope. Something far more surprising and seemingly insignificant.
Something that shows that leaders are the tipping point for good or far bad.
The transformation in crime statistics was due to two leaders who did very small things that brought about big changes.
One was a man named David Gunn who was hired as the subway director and charged with the task of rebuilding the subway system.1 He started his assignment by removing all graffiti from subway cars. Many thought that was a waste of time, that he had bigger things to do, but he determined that to rebuild organizational morale, you had to get rid of the graffiti. It takes three nights to graffiti a train car, one to paint the place where the design will go white, one to stencil in the words, and one to paint the graffiti. Just as soon as the kids doing the graffiti were done, a painting crew moved in and repainted the car. The kids were in tears, but none of their work ever saw the light of a station.
The other man was William Bratton, hired to head the transit police, who decided to focus on fare beating, those who would leap over the turnstiles and ride for free. Again this seemed like such a small thing, but he went after it anyway. Bratton would shackle the fare beaters and line them up until he had a full bus load to take to jail. At first the police thought it was a waste of time, but when they discovered that one out of every seven arrested had outstanding warrants for other crimes and one in every twenty had a gun, they saw great value in what they were doing.2
And that was the beginning of a turndown in crime in New York City.
These little things became the tipping point to deliver New York from being the crime capital of the world to becoming one of the safest cities in the world.
What does this tell you about what leaders do?
Leaders see a problem and take action
Leaders focus on the seemingly insignificant
Leaders are strategic in their actions
Leaders are determined even when followers are uncertain what whether what they’re doing is the right or smart thing to do
Leaders start at the bottom and work their way up (true, but not always)
Leaders discern the source, the root of the issue
The Broken Window Principle
The Broken Window Principle states that the more broken windows you have the more broken windows you will have.
The idea that when a family or a business or a church looks as if no one cares—the way a house with broken windows looks—then no one will care, and more windows will get broken. Followers will conclude that since the leader doesn’t care, they don’t need to care either.
That’s why fixing the broken windows—literal or figurative—in our families, our businesses, and our churches begins to make a huge difference in the atmosphere and attitudes involved. For this reason I ask you, what broken windows do you see in your family or your business or your church that you can fix. If you can fix them, then you should fix them, and you become responsible for the atmosphere and culture of the entity you lead.
When we fix the broken windows in our lives, we take the first step of leadership as we’ll see from Titus 1:5.
Turn to Titus 1:5 where Paul says, “The reason why I left you in Crete was so you would set in order what remains.”
In the book of Titus Paul is writing a memo to his trouble-shooter on the island of Crete for the purpose of helping him carry out his assignment. The assignment was very simple, comprehensive, and demanding: he was to set in order what remains—to straighten out what needed to be made right. We will see more completely what this meant as we work our way through this memo.
Think of Titus as a leadership memo from a senior leader to a younger leader whom the senior leader has put in charge of a major responsibility. In this memo, he summarizes the core essence of leadership as he describes the responsibilities he assigned the younger man to carry out. Like any good senior leader, Paul leaves the specifics up to Titus. He tells him what to do, but not how to do it. He gives him general direction and clear guidelines about his task, but leaves the rest up to him—the man on the spot who knows best how to go about doing the job.
There can be little doubt that the way Paul begins his memo is part of his message to Titus—that he also needed to be committed to stand “for the faith of the chosen and the truth that leads to godliness,” all of which is built on the foundation of hope in the promises of the God who cannot lie.
This lies at the heart of the kind of leaders we want to be—leaders that build the faith of our followers and brings them into the truth that results in godliness. In other words, Paul is building on the five foundation stones of leadership that rest on the sub-foundation of hope.
I’m trying to come up with some kind of a code that will speak of the five foundation stones of leadership plus the sub-foundation on which they all build, hope in the promises of God who cannot lie. For the moment I have settled on 5fl/1. 5fl stands for the five foundation stones of leadership and /1 refers to hope. I will use this as a kind of logo statement that will enable me to remind you of this core concept without having to spell it out all the time.
So when you see 5fl/1 think of slave, faith, chosen, truth, and godliness along with hope and the realities that each of these introduce into our lives.
And don’t forget the additions of dignity and security that being chosen by God also means in our lives.
We are building on these concepts today as we look at two things from Titus 1:5: what leaders do and who leaders are.
Time out question:
What does this kind of leadership look like in business?
Paul and Titus had gone through Crete some time during AD 63-64 when they observed some significant needs in the Cretan church that concerned Paul greatly, so he left Titus behind while he moved on so that Titus could bring order to the church.
This brings us to what leaders do.
Leaders take orderly actions.
Leaders are the tipping point, the ones who tip their families, their businesses, their churches, their nation for good or for bad through what they do The question is what kind of leaders are we—which way do we tip the point?
Leaders come into disorderly situations, figure out what’s causing the problem and act to make order out of chaos. Leaders clean up messes and solve problems so the followers are focused on the primary tasks that need to be done and have the freedom to do so without being distracted by situations and circumstances that keep them from doing what they’re supposed to do.
Paul’s directive to Titus suggests there’s a standard of quality that shows what is missing, what is getting in the way, the kind of disorder that keeps the organization from doing its best work. There’s something missing or something present that falls short of what is necessary for excellence to flourish.
So the leader’s job is to
The leader’s job is to
We have to remember that this assignment was important enough for Paul to leave one of his best men behind as he moved on to things he needed to do.
Time out question:
What does the leader need to bring order out of disorder?
To bring order out of disorder a leader must have
In essence the leader is a change agent and that introduces another key point.
Some times a leader may have to make a greater mess to clean up the mess he has on his hands.
A messy room cannot become neat without first becoming messier—stacks get restacked, clutter becomes more clutter, and sometimes the room looks the messiest just before it is cleaned up. And that’s the way it is when leaders take orderly actions. Many times leaders must take what is orderly and make it disorderly so it can be reordered in a better way.
Time out questions:
Think through your business and your family.
Is there any change you know you need to make that you’ve been putting off?
Why have you been putting it off?
What resistance are you anticipating? What is there is this resistance that causes you to put off tackling this change?
Is there any disorder in your family that needs to be faced?
What’s the cause of this disorder?
What will happen if you move toward making order out of this disorder?
How are you working to build the faith of those you influence and move them toward the truth that results in godliness?
Paul gives us a great picture of delegation and accountability. He tells Titus exactly why he left him on Crete and what he is to do. He also establishes accountability for Titus by reviewing his assignment so he makes sure he understands his assignment.
But by putting the assignment in writing Titus can show the church what his responsibility is. In other words, Paul isn’t only addressing these words to Titus; he’s also addressing them to the church since it’s understood that Titus will read this memo to the church—that’s part of Paul’s purpose since all his writings were read to the church to which they were sent. By doing this Paul calls the church to accountability just as much as he does Titus. Some of the tasks Paul gives Titus to do to bring order out of disorder are not easy to do nor will they be popular with the people involved, so Paul lends his authority to Titus to show the church that he is not acting on his own. Paul makes sure everyone knows this by putting his directives in writing.
Now what’s the first thing Paul tells his trouble shooter to do so he can turn disorder into order?
To appoint elders.
Leaders are Job 1!In other words, to appoint leaders.
It takes leaders to transform order into disorder—and, according to Paul; it takes a particular kind of leader.
In the New Testament, the highest office a man can attain is the office of elder, and that’s why elders must have clearly recognized qualifications for their office.
And this brings us to the second reality about leaders in this passage.
The first is what leaders do: leaders take orderly actions.
The second is who leaders are: leaders live exemplary lives.
Leaders are those who model what the followers are to become.
The first has to do with competence; the second has to do with character. The first is functional; the second is foundational.
Clearly this is true in a church.
But it also is true in a business or a country or a family or any other place where leadership is exercised. If we do not have leaders that live exemplary lives, we will not respect them, we will not respond to their call for order, and the result will be greater disorder than ever.
Paul knows this and that’s why the first thing he does to bring order into the church on Crete is to send a leader to serve them and the first thing he tells that leader to do is to appoint other leaders who will work with him to bring about stability and maturity in the ministry.
The assumption is that Titus is the kind of leader Paul wants to be appointed. If he did not have the kind of character needed, how could he measure, evaluate, and appoint others who do. No one would respo0nd to him and follow him if he lacked the kind of character they were expected to have. What could be more hypocritical than that?
And this brings us to our theme—the one you have seen every week since we started this study of Titus: Live like a man, lead like men.
What’s the point of this theme?
The New Testament says we cannot lead like men if we don’t live like a man.
How does a man live?
He lives an exemplary life with Christ-like character.
Before you can be qualified to lead you must be qualified to live. And you must be qualified to live God’s way. According to the New Testament, a man lives in such a way that the qualities of his character show him to be qualified to lead. Most people measure leaders by their hands, by what they accomplish. If they get things done; if they keep projects moving; if they make money for the company; if they advance the corporation, then they are good leaders. But it has long been proven that while they may be productive in the short run, they are destructive in the long run.
Time out questions:
Think about a leader you know or know of who was highly competent but who lacked character. He ends up successful from a power and money perspective, but is his family successful?
These are some of the key ways to judge a leader.
Each elder (leader) must live like a man so together they can lead like men. If each elder doesn’t live like a man, how can the church respect the elders when they lead together like men? There will be no respect for the elders if they lack character needed to lead in Christ’s name.
When it comes to leadership, Competence counts, but character qualifies.
As we said above, most measure a leader by his hands, but Paul calls for us to measure a leader by his heart as seen through his relationships. This means our private lives do matter. Virtually all of the qualities listed in this passage take root in our private lives and bear fruit in our public lives. Ultimately, these qualities are about love—they are expressed through love.
Interestingly enough, you get to character through competence. The way we carry out our competence reveals the reality of our character. Competence brings us up against character every time. Character determines how we exercise our competence and what kind of fruit we bear.
Time out question:
Before reading ahead answer this question: What does the exercise of competence reveal about a leader’s character?
What we avoid reveals who we are.
The way we live reveals our true answers—not just the right answers, but our true convictions as measured by our relationships. In the New Testament every man is measured by his relationships:
Relationships measure the man—they measure our hearts, what is true of us at the deepest part of our beings.
Only he who lives like a man can join with others and lead like men.
Only those who live godly lives—who walk in godly ways—can lead like men.
Only those who meet the qualifications of true manhood can like men as God defines leadership.
Competence is revealed in the action; character is revealed in the struggle.
To live like a man live the way God wants a man to live and demonstrate the kind of character He wants in His leaders. This character is character tested and proven in relationships. You cannot grow the kind of character God wants you to have only by focusing on it. This can help, but it never is enough. Character comes almost incidentally in our lives, often without our knowing it. We only grow character in the process of pursuing competence.
Sooner or later your competence will bring you into a struggle with your character—
Competence, Character, AND Compassion
In reality, many unbelievers have both competence and character, and even compassion as well. Yet the addition of compassion to competence and character is essential. I think of this in terms of love as seen in the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:34-40 and also in Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:9 that our love be real. Muslims have a form of competence and character and other religions do as well.
It’s love that makes the difference, love that marks us as unique, specifically the love of Christ through us. Competence and character can make us good as far as others are concerned, but love makes the difference because love makes us the men God created us to be. The problem with love is that sometimes it gets in the way of competence because it may stop us from doing some things that are to our advantage in business or other areas of life. That’s why love is always an act of trust. We can’t love Christ’s way without desperately depending on Him and we can’t love without having it cost us something. The essence of love is sacrifice.
But to be God’s leaders—to live like a man so we can lead like men—we must trust Him and love.
Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point, p. 142
Gladwell, p. 145
Jesus Christ never died for a business.
Jesus Christ did die for the businessman.
For the past twenty years or so the thinking on leaders and leadership has been pretty much one way—from business to the church.
Books like The Leadership Challenge, Built to Last, From Good to Great and many more have impacted the church greatly, and with much benefit. Businesses deal with the same issues in people as the church does: motivation, communication, organization, vision, financial management, change, ethical decisions, how to control selfishness and self-interest (the flesh), and many other concerns. Businesses and the church have a great deal in common. So why not run a business like the church?
Usually this question is asked from the opposite perspective. Frustrated businessmen who see the church as unfocused, unchangeable, slow, blind to opportunity, sloppy in financial management, and who knows what else want to make the church more efficient, more like businesses. And they certainly have a case. Of course, if we look at CitiBank, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, Chrysler, and General Motors we might be inclined to ask what’s so great about businesses that the church should want to be like that.
This is especially true when we look at the CEO model of church leadership. This model is certainly more efficient than a shepherd-pastor model, but it’s not found in Scripture.
So I go to my question: why can’t we run a business like the church? Why not look at what the Bible has to say about leaders and leadership and bring its truths to bear on business? The Bible has a great deal to say about how to lead people effectively, about the role of concern for followers (love), about the place of truth in leadership (integrity), about bringing order out of chaos (I Timothy, Titus), about leaders as models (I Timothy, Titus, I Cor. 11:1), about leadership character (I Timothy, Titus), about generational and gender relationships (I Timothy, Titus), and many more factors, all of which would benefit business greatly.
And that’s what I want to accomplish in our study of Titus as I turn to the question, What can a businessman learn about leading from Paul’s leadership memo to his trouble shooter, Titus? What can a business leader from a study of elders in Titus? I suggest quite a bit and I want to help us discover this from our time in these three chapters.
Now I must acknowledge that my question Why can’t we run a business like the church? is a tongue-in-cheek question, a take off on the often asked question Why can’t run the church like a business? To me, asking either of these questions is like asking why not run a submarine like an airplane? After all, both are means of transportation, we use both in fighting wars, both have engines and propellers, both have a captain and a crew, both use radios to communicate, both are dependent on radar. So let’s run a submarine the way we run an airplane—and it will end up down at the bottom of the sea. Why? Because the differences between a submarine and an airplane are far greater than the similarities. Air and water are related, but very different elements, and to try to run both the same ways despite some commonalities is disastrous.
And the differences between the church and a business are just as great as the differences between a submarine and an airplane. You can’t run a church like a business because you can’t manage sheep like you can a project. It just can’t be done. You cannot measure their effectiveness the same way. Some of the inefficiencies of the church are built into the very core of its purpose—to transform people. People are messy. And you can’t fire a sheep like you can an employee, not even the messiest of the lot. Churches and businesses have a great deal in common, but just like submarines and airplanes, their differences far outweigh their similarities.
Yet business can learn from the church just as the church has learned from business. And that’s what I want us to see as we look as leaders and leadership from Titus 1 over the next several sessions.
As you work your way through this material ask yourself the question, What can I as a businessman learn about leaders and leadership from what Paul says to Titus in these few chapters? You may be surprised much what Paul is saying can help you be a better leader in your company.
So we start with this question.
What exactly is it that leaders do?
In his short leadership memo to his young trouble shooter, Titus, Paul tells us that leaders do two things:
Leaders do orderly things through exemplary lives.
Paul tells Titus that he is to “set in order what remains (Titus 1:5).”
Time out question: What do you think Paul meant when he told Titus to “set in order what remains?”
When Paul and Titus traveled across the island of Crete together Paul saw many things that needed to be set in order. A reading of Titus shows that there either was chaos or that chaos was inevitable if order weren’t brought to bear on the situation. So Paul assigned Titus to follow through on the things needed to bring order to this difficult situation. From this we see the first of the two things leaders do.
1. Leaders do orderly things by transforming chaos into order.
Some of the issues Paul wanted Titus to set in order included:
From this it’s clear that there were severe lacks in the church. Things like
These things guarantee chaos, and Titus’ job was to set the churches in order.
Time out questions:As you look at this as a businessman, what parallels do you see between the causes of chaos—or disorder—in the church and the causes of chaos—or disorder—in business? What kind of leadership do you think it takes to bring order out of disorder in the business setting? .
Time out question: What is the first thing Paul wants done to set in order the things that remained to be done?
Answer: Appoint elders
The first thing Paul wants Titus to do is appoint elders.
The church in Crete has significant needs and lacks order, and the first thing in Paul’s mind to resolve this situation is elders—leaders.
Without leadership disorder prevails.
Leaders and Leadership: From Chaos to Order
Without leaders and leadership chaos is certain.
Yet there are many who wrestle with the issue of leadership because in their minds it means dominance and control. They feel weak, inferior, unable to entrust themselves to others because they fear they cannot protect themselves and be safe. Perhaps many of these people have been the victims of power leadership, a leadership that lorded its authority over them rather than lifting them up to new levels of life and freedom. Such people need to see leaders and leadership in a new light, in the light of Jesus’ teaching that leaders are servant-slaves ready to sacrifice themselves for their followers even as He was. That’s the kind of leaders Paul calls for Titus to appoint as we shall see when we consider the concept of elders and their qualifications.
Still others are rebellious and don’t want to follow anyone else or be held accountable. They are independent, self-willed (even when they cover it with God-words), and too weak to be led. To say they are weak may surprise you since we tend to think of this kind of person as strong. But such people often don’t have the character strength to subject themselves voluntarily to leaders, especially if their leaders are their peers and more especially if their leaders are younger than they are. Such people are totally out of step with the New Testament because the only kind of person recognized as righteous in the New Testament is the person who voluntarily subjects himself to all others in the body through the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:22).
There are others who seek leadership, not because they want to serve, but because they are competitive and controlling and looking for a way to establish their own dominance while hiding behind some kind of spiritual cloak. But as soon as they get in leadership they begin to bully the sheep and overpower them rather than care for them and mature them in paths of righteousness and service.
None of these leaders is qualified to lead in the church—or in business. Each of these leaders will mean failure for the church or business that gives them positions of authority. Such leaders—if we can call them leaders—will never bring God’s kind of order out of the chaos that naturally occurs when human beings come together in a group. Without qualified and healthy leaders disorder will reign supreme. That’s why we will pay special attention to the qualifications for leadership in the sessions to come.
By putting the appointment of elders first in his leadership memo Paul establishes the reality that leadership is the #1 issue when it comes to establishing the kind of order the church (or business) needs in order to flourish.
Order never comes of itself. Left alone everything atrophies in accordance with the law of entropy. Everything disintegrates into disorder unless there is a greater force at work to bring and hold the parts together. Unless the right hands take over—the right kind of hands—chaos will always overwhelm order.
There are at least five things Paul says the right hands must do if order is to come out of disorder:
The over-all responsibility of leaders in bringing order out of disorder may be summarized as saying Leaders fix broken windows.Creation
In other words, leaders create an environment of health in which disorder is rejected as destructive to the well-being of the people and the institution they lead; broken windows aren’t acceptable.
Three things mark this environment:
Leaders bring about order by creating an environment in which followers choose not to break windows but choose to clean up messes so they assume responsibility to pursue healthy living practices.
Leaders bring about order by creating an environment in which followers hold each other mutually accountable for their actions as they encourage each other to learn and to grow..
Leaders bring about order by creating an environment in which followers grow together in a heart for integrity in actions and relationship.
Random Responses to the Question: “Why Can’t We Run a Business like the Church?”
We won’t make any money!
I do business seven days a week; I go to church one day a week.
We are more serious, passionate, committed about business.
How do we run the church?
Maybe 50% of churches get it right.
Pray about business all the time! But who does that?
Business is fear driven—managers keep everybody afraid so they will be productive.
Business focuses on the needs of customers (Does this imply that churches don’t? probably). Many businessmen would say pastors have no ides what they face on a daily basis. And they’re probably right.
In business we’re working for God.
When both business and the church are successful, they are a reflection of what is right. To be successful both have to focus on why, what, and how they serve. This will show up in numbers for both. And success for both is often the reflection of one man. Yes, but he must be a man among men who builds a team and releases others to play a vital role in light of their gift and calling.
Most business leaders are driven by the fear that they will lose their position by putting someone better than they are in leadership positions on their team. So they make fear-driven decisions to go with their power-driven and greed-driven decisions. While most ministry leaders don’t make greed-driven decisions, they do make fear and power-driven decisions.
Business and the church have different purposes: to make money vs. to make disciples.
Is business all about making money? Are there no higher purposes for business? And are churches really about making disciples? What does that look like in the church? Isn’t that a major problem? The church is about keeping everybody happy rather than calling everybody to discipleship.
We use business to make disciples.
Business is the bridge from the world to the church; businessmen are ministers to the world on behalf of the church and the Gospel. The two are not in conflict or opposites; they work together—they are inter-woven. Businessmen go out from the church into the world and bring those from the world into the church. The aim of the church is to equip businessmen to minister in the world, and the church needs to learn how to do this.
The church lacks the same kind of control that business has over people because it doesn’t determine their financial well-being.
The church is a voluntary organization, and you can’t fire volunteers. Or can you?
The product the church and business is different: eternity vs. wood, hay, and stubble. Is that statement true? Don’t some churches produce wood, hay and stubble and some businesses bring people into eternity?
Business and church are distinct yet similar. The three boxes on the next page show the distinctions and the similarities.
These lists are sample lists and are not meant to be exhaustive but to stir your thinking as you seek to relate the Bible to the most critical areas of your life: Develop your own lists as you think through how biblical concepts of leadership connect directly with your role as a business leader. We cannot ignore the reality that the Bible gives us principles to guide us in our day-to-day affairs. If it doesn’t it is totally irrelevant to our reality, and this cannot be true of God’s word.
To serve society
To glorify God
To make disciples
To meet people’s needs
To meet human need through career
To transform lives opportunities, income, gifts/abilities, life-To manage resources To meet people’s needs for changing products/ well biblical knowledge, spiritual services growth, fellowship/support/To grow people to the accountability/responsibility/To give financial return degree they want to grow discipline so people can find financial return freedom from guilt and resulting in To focus on mission/vision shamefinancial stability as God and God-given uniquenessprovides To provide an opportunity for public worship
Opportunity for success, To focus on unchangingstruggle/growth core values that reflect To train Christ’s followers in as a means to make Christ in our culture spiritual disciplines a difference for Christ To teach disciples to release
Opportunity for increased To hold people accountable control over life by learning maturity for the balance in their lives to trust God in relation to God, family,
Opportunity for increased career, nation To train in the discipline of maturity resulting in giving by guiding them to personal/spiritual To get the best out of trust God for financialtransformation people security by helping them resulting in personal/ learn how to give more than spiritual transformation To guide people in areas they can afford of motivation, communica-
Meeting family needs for tion, organization, vision, financial/ personal stability financial management, and ethical decisions
Raising a new generation of leaders
How to Run a Business like the Church
Here are some principles that will guide you in running a business like the church and also some questions that will help you evaluate how well you are doing.
Simple principles for running a business like the church
To run a business like the church appoint leaders who lead by creating an environment that brings order out of disorder by creating an environment that
Time out question:
What other things would you add to this list?
Questions to ask for running a business like the church
Identify the “broken windows” in your business.
Do you understand why they are broken?
Time out question:
What additional questions would you raise as you consider how to run a business like the church?
Take Willie Sutton for instance.
At one point Willie Sutton was one of America’s most wanted criminals, an original on the FBI’s first edition of its top ten list of most wanted in March, 1950.
Willie Sutton was competent. No one could rob banks with the cool dispatch of a Willie Sutton. And no one could escape the clutches of the FBI as well as Willie Sutton. He was singularly competent as a bank robber. He used careful planning and multiple disguises to pull off his heists, earning him the nicknames of Willie and Actor and Slick Willie. Sutton loved nice clothes and was known as an immaculate dresser.
And when the FBI finally caught him there were times when they could not keep him. Not only was he America’s premier bank robber; he was also one of the greatest escape artists the nation has ever seen. Sing Sing could not hold him, nor could some other prisons. He tried to escape from prison five times and succeeded from three. He always figured a way to get out, rob a bank, and end up back on the inside. After his release from prison in 1960, New Britain Bank and Trust Co. in Connecticut had him make a commercial for their credit card with picture ID.
Legend has it that when a reporter asked him why he robbed so many banks he replied, “That’s where the money is.” He did say, "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can get with just a kind word." However, he never used a loaded gun because he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
Willie Sutton truly was competent. But he had no character.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be competent to have character.
All of us know someone we would trust with our most precious possessions, someone of great integrity and love who keeps his word and does his best, but who lacks the capacity needed to be placed in a highly responsible leadership position. He lacks the abilities he needs to direct others and move them forward toward a vision and a better tomorrow. He has character and he is faithful, but he just isn’t competent enough to lead.
Kouzes and Posner in their work The Leadership Challenge have shown that followers all over the world long for such leaders. In the past twenty years Kouzes and Posner have taken surveys of 75,000 business leaders all over the world, asking them the top traits they desire to have in their leaders. Across that twenty-year span responses from all around the globe have been universally consistent: leader/followers of every age in every culture long to have competent leaders of character, leaders marked by integrity who can be counted on to be consistently honest in every situation.1 When followers were asked what they “’most look for and admire in a leader, someone whose direction they would willingly follow,” their number one response was that the leader be honest.
Followers long for leaders with the competence of a Willie Sutton and the character of a saint.
Enter the elder as a leader, the biblical model of a man who is both competent and has character. The concept of elder was born in the secular world and brought into the church from the general society through the synagogue. Every ancient culture had elders, not just the biblical culture. Elders led Greek cities and institutions from the very beginning of time and history. Elders are present in Israel from the time the nation was founded, long before it gained its homeland and was established as a nation among the nations. Throughout Israel’s history elders played a critical political and community role, making decisions in the gates as well as confirming kings and rulers.
In our world today the word elder means church, but not in the ancient world from which it springs. In the ancient world elder meant the city, the university, and the philosophical society long before it meant the synagogue or the church. In light of this, it is time for us to move the idea of elder out of the walls of the church and back into its natural habitat, the halls of the world. The concept of elder contains a total philosophy of leadership that marries character and competence in an indissoluble union that all followers long to have. The idea of elder shows us that a leader must have the wisdom to do orderly things through an exemplary life, to bring people together across the gender and generation gaps by means of truth and integrity through proven character and competence. And the elder must demonstrate this character and competence both inside and outside of the church first before he can step into the ultimate leadership position.
What do you mean by order?
Elders and Order: Personal and Public
Elders (business leaders) are marked by order in their private lives and produce order in their public settings. In view of this, we must define order in both private and public terms.
The primary reality that lies behind Paul’s qualifications for elders is that they are qualified to bring order out of disorder in the church as tested and proven in their family and business lives because they have brought order out of disorder in their private lives.
I have known elders who have sinned in serious ways both before and after coming to Christ. Yet they became outstanding elders, men worthy of great respect and recognition, because they faced and found freedom from their sin. Christ’s forgiveness in their lives gave them a compassion and a commitment to confront sin and hold others accountable even as they had been.
Every Sunday when people come to church—or every day when people come to work—they bring the chaos of their lives into the congregation. By nature a congregation consists of people whose lives are in various levels and stages of chaos who are in desperate need of a helping and healing community that can transform and mature them into orderly men and women. That’s the task of elders (and business leaders to the degree they can). Business leaders may object that they don’t run a church or a counseling clinic, and they are right. But if they’re going to do business well, they must deal in some measure with the chaos in their employees’ lives or their businesses will fall apart. And they can’t deal with chaos in their employees’ lives unless they’ve confronted chaos in their own lives. That explains a lot of things in both the church and business.
Here is the biblical principle:
Personal order qualifies for public leadership.
In view of this, here is a definition of private and public order.
Private order: the discipline, sacrifice, and growth arising out of a commitment to a cause that focuses all of life’s energies on living the way that cause demands.
The person who has private order will be a living example of what his cause demands of him and will be showing all his fellow believers what commitment to his cause looks like. If Christ is the cause, the person with private order will model for others what a focused follower of Christ looks like.
Public order is the result of what a group of leaders with private order in their lives do together to bring about freedom from disorder to order. Public order: turning chaos into community; transforming selfishness into sacrifice out of commitment to the group’s cause that results in unity of belief and behavior; providing an environment of structure, direction, organization, discipline, and purpose that results in security and safety so participants can be guided from self-destructive disorder to the freedom of accountability and maturity; the creation a culture of commitment, dedication, and discipline resulting in a focused way of life.
Elders in a church do this through their model, their message, their actions, and the structure they bring into being out of obedience to Christ. Fathers do it exactly the same way in their homes, and business leaders do it exactly the same way in their businesses. To the degree that father and business leaders pursue private order and produce public order in their lives, they are qualified to be elders in the church. The difference among elders, fathers, and business leaders lies in which parts of the Bible they bring to bear in their leadership efforts, whether it be the parts of the Bible that relate to the church, the home, or the business.
The bottom line of it all is this: leaders bring order out of disorder. And the only leaders who can bring order out of disorder in their public lives are those who have done it first in their private lives.
When Paul sent Titus to Crete to bring order out of disorder he also said, “. . . and appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5).” That’s the highest priority Paul gives to Titus because he knew you can’t transform disorder into order without leaders who have already transformed the disorder of their lives into the order God wants—that’s what qualifies them to be models and leaders in the church. For this reason Paul gives a list of qualifications for elders that all men must seek to meet in and through Christ. You may not aspire to be an elder in the church, but you must aspire to be a man in life, and these qualifications define what a man is.
Every qualification on the list is overwhelming, not the least the first one: above reproach. This is an over-arching trait, the one from which all the others arise. The rest of the list defines what Paul means by above reproach. It is significant that the place where being above reproach is most clearly tested and is in a man’s marriage and family life. Let’s see what it means to be above reproach.
Time out: Before you read the next section define what you think being above reproach means. Then measure yourself against your definition. Are you above reproach? If you are not, where do you fall short and how can Christ enable you to be above reproach?
Time out question: What does above reproach mean to you?
Reproach: to act in such a way as to bring deserved blame, reproof, and discredit on yourself.
Anything can be said about anyone; the key is that we don’t deserve the blame, reproof, and discredit, and this is clear to all around us even if investigation is needed to show that.
We are above reproach when our lives are of such a quality that no charge can be brought against us that will stick so we can never be legitimately rebuked about a consistent pattern of behavior in our lives because there is no consistent practice of sin in us.
Time out question:
Now that you have seen this definition think through your personal life.
Write down any consistent patterns of sin in your life that you are aware of.
Take into account such things asyour relationships
Where do you fall on the above reproach standard on a scale of 1-10 (one low, 10 high)?
Now think through your professional life.
Write down any consistent patterns of sin in your professional life.
Take into account such things as
Add to this business factors such as
While there are no easy answers or guaranteed steps to get us above reproach, there are responses we can make that put us in touch with the Spirit so He can lift us up to His standard and enable us to be above reproach as a pattern in our lives. No one makes it there permanently. That’s why humility is so critical for all of us; we must be humble and prepared to be rebuked when we deserve it so we can move back to a place of being above reproach as quickly as possible.
1. Establish a cluster of biblical priorities and live according to these realities.
I don’t believe we can rank biblical priorities because all of them are equally important.
I don’t believe life can be organized according to the numbers.
Life is dynamic and can only be lived according to the realities we face.
So we are constantly and permanently juggling our priorities while working not to drop anything that matters.
And we won’t always be successful.
All we can do is strive to give each of them the kind of attention they need on a daily basis.
Some days we will give one more than another; the point is that we are giving all of them adequate attention in the daily demands of life.
The one thing we can say is that we must build our lives around God and our relationship with Him so that we virtually never lack some focused time with Him.
There are times when we can’t be with our wives or focus on all of our children or even give our business the due it needs, but we must have consistent focus on God if we are going to move toward being above reproach.
2. Note the areas of your life right now where you are not above reproach as we have stated already.
Build times of solitude and silence into your schedule during which you learn to focus on God, to read His word, to listen for His direction, and to hear His correction.
Write the key letter of your life: Today’s date
I resign being You.
Confess and turn from sin quickly by the Spirit’s power
3. Seek to walk by the Spirit to gain freedom from the flesh
Pay attention to how others respond/react to you—there may be some masked rebukes in their comments you need to hear and respond to.
1. Establish a cluster of biblical priorities for your professional life—the same cluster as for your personal life
Time out question:
What would it look like for you to establish a cluster of “above reproach priorities” for your business life?
2. Write another letter to God as a deed of trust that goes like this:
All I am, all that I have, all that I think I own including my career, my business, my financial well-being, as well as all that owns me, I release to you. This letteris a deed of trust giving to you the power of attorney in my life. It’s all yours. You can do whatever You want with it.
3. Do your job description well for the glory of God in accordance with all of His standards for integrity.
4. Make all decisions carefully, wisely, and biblically.
5. Make sure everything you sign will allow you to maintain your integrity even if it costs you money or image or anything else you’re inclined to value more than God.
6. Communicate clearly so you can be accountable to all who do business with you; tell them more than they need to know without frightening them.
Answer their questions before they raise them and when they raise them as possible.
Come back with an answer as soon as you can.
7. Listen intently so you hear ideas, suggestions, implications, questions, concerns, all the things that will earn you reproach if you don’t listen.
8. Act lovingly so you always seek to do what is in the best interests of all involved—employees, clients, customers, stake holders, and yourself; don’t fail to look out for your own interests, just not at the expense of others.
9. Anticipate the needs of those around you—employees, clients, customers, stake holders, and yourself—and seek to meet them before others are even aware of them so you become known as a man who takes care of those who count on him.
10. Expect criticism, learn from it, correct it with grace, live with it when you must.
Wanted: Fathers (Elders)
The generation coming behind us is very different from us. They are all thumbs and twittering, consumed with instant messaging and social networks. The age of thinking and reading appears to be over. Yet, when they see someone who is real they respond with great interest and openness.
The most endangered species on earth is men, men who can lead through both their model and their message. Without such men we will have a generation that is lost in itself and its cell phones, wasting their lives on shallow futility and trapped in a living death while longing for the Real Thing.
What can we do about it?
Become the Real Thing through the True Vine. Show His life to the next generation by becoming fathers—elders—in their lives. Become a model for them to follow.
Remember—the greatest thing you can do with your life is change the lives of others.
So whose life are you changing?
1 James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, fourth edition, 2007), pp. 28-29.