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Exhortative reminder of the task for the man of God  

The quality of spiritual leadership for today’s Crete

Titus 1:5 - 9

Pastor, Julius D. Twongyeirwe


As the apostolic age began to draw to a close, the apostles (especially Paul) took deliberate steps to also raise up a new generation of leaders for the post-apostolic church. Paul was concerned that the leadership of such men (Timothy, Titus, and others) would be a reproducing leadership, after Jesus’ life and model for spiritual leadership. Now in the epistle to Titus, Paul states that his main aim of leaving his apprentice at Crete was “so that he might put what remained unfinished into order, and appoint elders in every town” (Titus 1:5).


Now, was the main goal to appoint elders, or the appointing of elders was the main means to the goal? From Paul’s mission statement (1:1), appointing elders would only serve as a means because the goal was to preach and teach the “knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness”. And the means to that goal, was a God-ordained setting for spiritual shepherding, which would require appointing qualified men in the church.


Until people are organized under spiritual leadership, the teaching of truth that leads to godliness will not be facilitated. Without it, the Cretan church could slip from “the hope of eternal life”. It is towards this goal, that Paul outlines the kind of quality men for a “potent seed” in the “Cretan soil”. And you can see the qualities of these men keeping with Paul’s mission, as he describes such leaders with spiritual integrity and personal credibility “ that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive”.


For spiritual leadership that is founded on word ministry, the apostle outlines for us the totality from inside, the man (his integrity), to the outside of him (credibility), through his words, through his discipline, and then shows how such a credible life gets to silence those who oppose the Gospel or its representatives. So in Crete, there was need to

  • organize people under spiritual leadership; – the elders 
  • as a proper context for the shepherding authority; – the church
  • by teaching “knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness” – the preaching


Today, we are no different from the spiritual terrain of Crete, if at all, we are only worse. And thus, the conclusive inquiry into the kind of eldership for the Cretans of today should be guided by Titus 2:7-8 to give us priority benchmarks for spiritual leadership. The nature of our spiritual contest is apologia (1:9b) because we must refute those who oppose it. This undertaking is no less than, and no different from expository preaching, because only Bible exposition can authenticate both the life of a preacher and his message.


First of all, this is because expository preaching is a biblical mandate. We have no other way handed to us to preach, other than this. Secondly, expository preaching familiarizes people with the Scripture itself instead of simply giving them a speech or a talk. Thirdly, expository preaching makes the authority unequivocal, and that authority is the Scripture.