Choosing Your Team
In Titus 1:5-9 Paul gives the pastor on the Island of Crete a list of qualifications for Overseers and Deacons. It’s a condensed version of the list that Paul gives in 1Timothy 3:1-13. When it comes to choosing a team to guide and direct your ministry you are selecting people to step into the role of overseer. You give them tasks and responsibilities that they are too do to the best of their abilities. Those in permanent positions are expected to perform their day to day tasks like updating any websites or creating videos or working on promotional materials. The people you put around you to lead are the faces of your ministry, they are responsible for helping you carry out your mission. We’ve already discussed this.
The lists for overseers go along these lines, overseers must be “Above reproach, the husband of one wife, not drunk on too much wine, self controlled, hospitable, not violent, not quarrelsome, his household must be in order, his children must be believers, not guilty of debauchery” (Summation of 2 Tim. 3:1-13 & Titus 1:5-9). In looking at these passages there’s one phrase that gets repeated in both, that is the phrase “Above Reproach.”
Think about it, if someone is above reproach they are probably not doing all the things listed above (and those in the text not listed). If you reproach someone or reproof someone by scripture (see 1 Timothy 2) then you are working to correct a behavior, you are working to help them see that their attitude or action is contrary to scripture. Paul is saying that someone who is in leadership should be “Above Reproach.” He or she shouldn’t need that kind of reproofing, he or she should already know the scriptural mandate and try to live by it.
Now, above reproach does not mean that you select people who don’t struggle. If you are searching for those who don’t have any issues or struggles you will end up searching and finding frustration. Everyone struggles with something, we can’t demand perfection from people. My own team has written about struggles in their lives in their last three articles, and I consider them women who are above reproach.
What makes them above reproach? The fact that they admit to their struggles and seek God’s will in working out their salvation. They continue to trudge through the mess to allow the work of sanctification to happen (Titus 3:5). That is what makes them above reproach, they seek the Lord with all their hearts and seek to love Him with all that they are. I also know that if something were to come up that may be “out of line” they would listen to the teaching of scripture.
Likewise someone who isn’t above reproach will only bring destruction to your ministry. Look at what Paul says in Titus 1:10-11; “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers…they must be silenced for they are upsetting whole families as they teach for shameful gain.” The problem on Crete is obvious, they were teaching for shameful gain, they were causing division.
Someone who is angry will only anger others, someone who is violent will only cause others to be violent. Someone who drinks too much will cause someone to stumble and so on and so forth. You see the problem with selecting those who are not above reproach. When we first started the leadership team we had selected someone who refused to listen to direction from the leadership team, we had to let that person go because they were unwilling to be taught. Not that we had all the answers but there were teachings in this person’s life that didn’t line up with scripture. When those untruths were brought to life they person denied them, we had to let them go.
Finally examine yourself, make sure that you also are above reproach. You can’t lead if there is something within you that could cause you to cause others to stumble. Look how serious Paul makes this issue in 1 Corinthians 8-10. We are not supposed to cause others to stumble, in doing that we must examine ourselves first and foremost so that we can develop and lead those that we are choosing.
So when you are going to select others for leadership first examine your own life (2 Tim. 14-26, 4:9-18). Then look at the lives of those you are selecting. Are you above reproach? Are they above reproach? Let God be the judge of that, search yourselves and seek Him when it comes to who you should select and who you should let go. God is in the business of qualifying the called, but sometimes it takes awhile for that qualification process to bear good fruit. We are not looking for perfect people, just people who have given themselves totally to the Perfect God.