” I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. 6 An elder must live a blameless life…”
Titus 1 :5-6, NLT
For some time I’ve been thinking about the Book of Titus and Paul’s command to establish elders in every city. I began to realize that elders are God’s way to reach a decadent culture. All of a sudden, it began to jell. In Crete the culture was depraved, and in the midst of that Paul did not suggest a program, he didn’t direct Titus to start a parachurch model. He told Titus to set men in place. It is not a program, it is a person— an elder!
As part of the Church, broken and confused as we are, we need relationships desperately. When I’m depressed or manic, handicapped or not– God’s grace almost always comes through an elder or godly brother or sister. We are built specifically for that purpose. They do things which none can do. They are “marble pillars” in our Father’s house. I love and respect them, even if they are wrong. (Which isn’t often.)
Now I believe in programs. They often have a good function in the activity of the local church. But we have a tendency to view them as an answer or solution to the need of the moment. We should however, look to God’s way or plan, which I believe is Godly elders.
Its not a plan, but a man. Throughout Israel’s history, Godly men and women have stood up to bless the Kingdom. Their faith, love, and humility directed victory and revival for the people of God. We seem to have this tendency to want to bring in a fresh program (and there is quite a few) to do what we think will fix a problem (which may be real, or not). They are usually quite witty and clever, and can be reduced to a “Powerpoint” presentation.
I realized several years ago, that the kingdom of God worked, and flowed out of relationships. This dramatically changed my thinking. I began to see my personal connections as the way God’s grace would flow. Many churches belong to a denomination. The problem is that is primarily an organizational model, not always a relationship.
I believe that God works through relationships between people touching people. We need to adjust how we view things. The elders that Titus set in place were to be Godly men. They would stand in remarkable contrast to the culture of Crete. They were were to be the way God’s kingdom would touch the church and the lost. (Light vs. darkness metaphor.)
I could be wrong. But at least that is how I read Titus.