To be honest, I was less than thrilled when my summer director told me we would be going through the book of Titus my first month in Thailand. My first thought went to the books author: the famous Paul. I know most of you out there revere and adore this man for his many writings and contributions to the various books of the New Testament. But, I will admit I was part of the small group of those who struggle to adore him. Instead I tend to think that he’s just this big religious guy who traveled around telling women to submit to men. So I started the study already annoyed by my love-hate relationship with the controversial Paul. Also I had become weary of the whole concept of leadership earlier this year and of course Titus is all about leaders. My plan was to avoid anything having to do with leading, but of course our funny God puts it right back into my hostile lap.
Well now you know where my heart and my head were as I sat in my leader’s living room in northern Thailand. In short I was sick of Paul and sick of leadership. I’m not going to say that I magically or immediately started to understand these things, but I think Paul did give me a lot to think about. The book of Titus is full of guidelines for leadership and qualities to look for in both male and female leaders and relationships. Paul first talks about qualities of good elders including being hospitable, a lover of what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. A man who leads well should do so in the professional and personal realm. Someone could be the best preacher and leader of the world, but if he fails to lead his family well he has ultimately failed as a leader. The book also speaks to the role of women in leadership and in support of their husbands. Women are to be encouragers and to help in teaching and raising up younger women. They are to be self-controlled, pure, hardworking, kind, and subject to their husbands. Wives are the supporters of their husbands and essential in raising their children and supporting their families.
Paul says some other stuff, but the leadership aspects are what stuck out to me most. These qualities remind me of amazing leaders I have been blessed to be able to work with and also encourages me to keep striving towards being a better leader in the way I live my life. I have definitely made mistakes at times and learned a lot in the many different positions I have held. Mostly I have learned that leadership really is not just about a summer position or when you’re the oldest person in a group. But instead, being a leader is a lifestyle which we are all called to. As Christians we should be continually striving towards these character traits as we are all called to lead by example and be an encouragement to those around us.