23 May, 2006

Leadership: Titus and the things that matter in a leader

Titus has never gotten a lot of play, so I am going to try to put him in the spotlight for a second. Timothy was Paul's shining son, and he gets most of the good press. That's cool. There's almost certainly a reason Paul left Timothy in Ephesus, and Titus in Crete. Timothy had something that Ephesus needed, and Crete needed someone so they got Titus.

Titus's letter is smaller and less dramatic than either of Timothy's, but it is straightforward, and that makes it my choice for this series. Quotes in this post will be from Titus 1.

5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

Like I said, straightforward.

There are some things to conclude from this.

First, Paul was willing to leave Crete without appointing elders. We don't know how long those churches had been leaderless, but consider just how dramatic that is! The church can survive without elders. With nothing but Jesus, the Holy Spirit and rank and file believers, a church can be born and live. I think that's pretty cool.

Second, a church should not live without elders for long. Bad things happen when no wise, spiritual people are identified as responsible for the witness of the church.

Third, Paul has a term for leaders in the church - old men. (I will recall for everyone that I am an egalitarian - I believe that this term here means old person, but I won't go there tonight. For this night, only men can be elders. We'll stick to frying one fish at a time.) I don't think this term came about by accident, and I think it's important. Old men don't fight like young men do. They're not indefatigable like young men. They're not still trying to figure out how to be a man.

Old men don't shift like water. When you know an old man, you know him. He's going to be that same man tomorrow, and next year. Young men run hot and cold as their passions flame and cool. Patience ebbs and flows with them.

When Paul runs through this list, you can look at an old man and know whether he is most of these things. If he is today, he will be next year too. If he's not, don't try to "groom him for the ministry". It's not likely to work.

6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God's household, he must be blameless, not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

I quote that whole passage at once because I count 18 requirements there, but the first 15 have nothing to do with doctrine. Amusingly, also note that the elder in verse 6 is also the bishop in verse 7. This version translates the word as overseer, which is great, but it is translated bishop elsewhere. Elders are bishops.

Titus's elder candidates must already have proven themselves leaders. It's not complex, and you can read the list as well as anyone. You can pick an elder. They tend to stand out, actually. He's the one you like to visit, because he likes to have you over. He's the one that saw your kid knock over the the flowers and didn't get mad at either of you, but took the time to teach him how to set the flowers back upright before running off.

He's also the one who holds firmly to the gospel as it was given to him.

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach, and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

I have heard numerous talks on how these men (and, yes, I will say "men" here. If it's fair for the goose tonight.... ;-) were making money off the gospel. I frankly don't get it. Big words like peripatetic philosopher (one who teaches while walking around, and collects tips in jars or some such) get thrown around, but the truth is nobody was getting rich off this stuff. These members of the circumcision who were spreading lies about how to please God must have been charging a little something for their "personal trainer" skills, but they were not living high on the hog.

Pastors did not yet exist in Crete. That much is clear. So, there might have been a little money floating around, though we can hardly conceive of just how little. It seems to me that the first people to earn a salary off the gospel were probably people in the line of these rebels.

An elder had to be able to silence these rebels, and do it without being a mercenary.

It might also be worth suggesting that these rebels did their foul deeds household by household. The odds on shot, according to the archaeology I listen to, is that they were meeting in those households. There probably was not often a meeting of the church in a larger group than could meet in a house. The best current guesses I know of suggest that it was quite a while later that the church started meeting in actual auditorium-like buildings. Being a new religion made that pretty much mandatory.

If that is true, then we can begin to scope out how large a group an elder might oversee.

13 ... Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith

Rebuking ain't easy, and rebuking sharply requires a great deal of confidence and ammunition. How do you think our newly minted elders are going to do at this? I think they are going to be terrible.

But, did you notice that this word of command is spoken to Titus?

Titus is to go and pave the way for them. Sure, in time those elders should be able to rebuke as necessary, and sharply at that, but it will be a little while before they are good at it.

There is an old, old story told in the army over and over and over. Some Spec4 (between private and sergeant) will be promoted to be the Sergeant over all his buddies. The buddies go to the Staff Sergeant, and complain that Specialist Jones "ain't never gonna be no sergeant." The Staff Sergeant just looks at them and says, "The stripes will make him one."

Responsibility changes a man.

These men are old, so they know that they are taking on responsibility, not power. They will be slow to slam the ones that see things differently than they do, and quick to make sure everyone is treated well. If an old man's family is happy, he has probably already figured the important things out a long, long time ago, and just needs to learn how to adapt them to his new role. Titus is going to dump a huge responsibility on him, but by now he won't let it go to his head. He's seen too many kids do that before.

So, to revisit my questions:
Which of these battle fronts is most important?
I see nothing here that answers the question better than Ellen did. Whichever front the fight's on at the moment.

Which of these battle fronts does a seminary education prepare a man to handle well?
Doctrine.

What training method would best prepare a leader to handle all of these things?
Living is the best training method. Paul tells Titus to look to the man's character and his family's character. We learn character from life.

What training method would best teach a leader when not to react?
Well, that sure ain't seminary. I read in a commentary about Titus 1:9 that "The overseers need to be doctrinally sound, so they can detect and correct even the slightest deviation from the truth." I'm sorry, but if you correct every slightest deviation from the truth, you are going to kill the flock. People cannot thrive under that much correction.

Overreacting teaches people not to overreact, if they are good learners. Let them make those mistakes at home, not in the church.

Here is one of my main points. If you take a young man, and give him a piece of paper that says he knows how to care for the flock, and start paying him to do it, you are hurting everyone. I believe with all my heart there's a job for him, but not pastor. (And not scrubbing toilets, either! I hate those ersatz tough-guys who want to torment the young to prove how hard everything was when they were kids. That is a false strength, and I wish we would quit encouraging that kind of attitude.) I will get back to that young man's role later, and I will get to what a pastor might be later. Life teaches old men not to overreact and not to underreact.

How can you know a leader?
I hereby retire my answer for Maeghan's.
Cool but firm.
Firm but loving.
Loving but right.

How many leaders does our church of 200 need?
Paul has not given us a clear answer. Maybe, though, the size of the meetings is a clue. We are talking about household-sized meetings. Houses were smaller then, but people didn't mind being close. Maybe 40 people, give or take? Maybe a couple of elders per group?

So far, I'm seeing our church of 200 split into groups of 40-ish segregated by neighborhood as much as possible. I hope to see 2-3 elders per group, so that's 10-15 leaders. Realistically, finding that 5% to 7.5% of any given population meets the description of an elder found in this book is a stretch. Now throw out 50-60% of your possibilities because they are women and the odds get steeper. Throw out another 50-75% of the possibilities because they are too young. Now you are hoping that fully one-third of your seniors can bear the responsibility of elder.

That's OK.

Let's pin some stripes on them and see whether they don't rise to the responsibility.

What that responsibility is will be found in Titus chapter 2.

32 comments:

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Just a note here: I hope this doesn't break our great moment of harmony, but youngers (as oposed to elders), can be good leaders too. The test is in the proof. Proof is not a sheet of paper that says certified-grade-a leader. The proof is in the fruits of their labor.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

Feathers just scattered all over again! ;-D

At some point, I hope to remember to talk to this directly. I note that in Eph 4, the 5 gifts given to the church for the building up of the body don't include "elder". Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher.

I believe that youngsters can be gifted ... without being leaders. I believe that they should exercise their gifts ... without being leaders. I believe they should exercise their gifts for years ... and then be made leaders.

There are exceptions to every rule. Go ahead and bring up Timothy and Titus. They were both young, and both were told by Paul to allow none to despise their youth. A) They were exercising the gift of apostle in their youth, which is something I just finished saying is necessary. B) Even at that, though, there were no other apostles to the gentiles. It's not like there were a bunch of older apostles to the gentiles to choose from.

In general principle, it is best for older people to lead than younger.

Proof is not a sheet of paper that says certified-grade-a leader.

OK. On this line, I don't know who you are arguing with. It sure ain't me. How many times have I said that the the qualifications for a leader are entirely a matter of their aptness for the job?

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I'm not arguing... hence the 'just a note here:' disclaimer.

Leader's of all ages need to show fruit of giftings of leadership.

I also may krinkle my nose at the fact that an "Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher", are all positions of leadership and you seem to imply white hair is a prerequisite for leadership. Your argument about Titus and Timothy sound like a bit of a stretch to me.

Perhaps Timothy and Titus had been through so much that they were already seasoned veterans at early ages.

Call me nutty, but I like youth pastors who are, well, youthful. I also like worship leaders who mix in new offerings, this too is something that youthful leaders do more often than elder-leaders.

The proof is in the fruit and that's all I need to say.

God Bless
doug

Andreia said...

oh my gooodness. I think I agree with Doug again.

Milly said...

Call me nutty, but I like youth pastors who are, well, youthful. I also like worship leaders who mix in new offerings, this too is something that youthful leaders do more often than elder-leaders.

We had a youth minister who was young and wanted ever so to be like the cool kids. That so doesn’t work. We lost several young people as a result. I thank God that he stepped down before my son was under his influence. I want a family man who knows how to relate to the youth of today. Nerds and cool kids without trying to be one.

I agree about having worship ministers who can mix it. I love The Old Rugged Cross and Here I Am To Worship. So age is moo (a cow doesn’t care) It’s the man.

We have young elders in my church our minister is younger than me. Some are equipt more than the stubborn white haired gentlemen. I respect them I don’t always agree with them.

The proof is in the fruit.
Agreed

The problem in a lot of churches is how to give them what they need to be fruitish.

Milly said...

andreia,
I did on some points too! SUP! With this world?!

DugALug said...

Milly,

We had a youth minister who was young and wanted ever so to be like the cool kids. That so doesn’t work.

I'm with you on this too Milly. We have had a couple of these too. This is where the fruit thing needs to take place. I like the idea of family men too, as long as the wife is committed to doing ministiry too.

Female youth need an approachable and appropriate person to confide in too. I think male youth ministers need to be aware of avoiding appearances of evil, and counseling young females in an office is just a plainly bad plan. In these cases, the wife is the ideal person for them to consult with.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

dugalug,

I like the idea of family men too, as long as the wife is committed to doing ministry too.

I told that to the powers that be. We are looking for a new youth minister. I also want a man, I am COC after all. I want a bit of life under his belt and a wife that can listen and not judge. I'm not saying that his wife has to spend 24/7 nor do I think that you are. I agree she needs to be involved.

Milly said...

See dugalug can agree with some of us. :-}

DugALug said...

Milly, Andreia,

I don't if I should grin at your comments or rub the red slapmarks on my jaw.

God Bless
-Doug

codepoke said...

Nobody's slappin' atcha, DugALug. I detect genuine joy. :-)

codepoke said...

At some point, I wrote that people should serve about one generation below themselves. 60 year olds are not usually the best choices to minister to 16 year olds, but neither are 20 year olds. I'd sure rather have a uniquely talented 60 year old in there than a 20 year old male, though.

I am focusing on 60 years old in my posts. In Paul's time, 60 year olds were rare. Note that Paul's elder is someone who has children, not grandchildren. A 35 year old elder was perfectly appropriate for Paul, and I won't stand in the way of a man who is everything that an elder should be at age 35.

Fruit=Yes.

I just think the fruit will likely be sweeter from a 60 year old. I also think that we are cloistering our 60 year olds into "Seniors'" groups because we want to reach the young. This is a disaster. 20, 30, and 50 years of experience in the Lord need to be given a platform, not a weekly meeting at the Golden Corral.

That said, I am not a big fan of youth groups or led worship, no matter how old the leaders are. They both strike me as obstacles to growth, unity, and expression.

Paul recommends in both Ephesians and Colossians that we teach and admonish each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. He did not recommend that a song leader pick songs, and lead us in singing them week after week.

Make all the arguments you like about how song leading is fine and helpful and all. I sing with my church every week. Still, when was the last time you admonished the body in a meeting with a spiritual song? We have lost this, and we need it back. We NEED it back.

Milly said...

dugalug,
Codepoke is right We were just play'n with ya.

codepoke,
That said, I am not a big fan of youth groups or led worship,

I know that this isn’t where you want this to go but I have to ask (you know I do)

You don’t think that these are beneficial? Youth groups? Really? You can E-mail me and can this if you want it to not be discussed. I see others going HUH?

As for the grey haired men I think that many have benefits to our youth and to us. I also think that some have to know when to step out of a leadership roll. If in need of marriage advice I’d go to a couple in my church who are a bit older they teach marital classes. I know someone very well who sought help from them and loved them. They have the wisdom not just his grey hair. It’s wisdom and life that makes them wise not hair. That said I wouldn’t go to my minister he is young and has some young ways as he ages I see him becoming a better leader.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I agree that 'cloistering' old-folk is a horrible use of resources. I also believe that true leadership is not in titles or 'positions'. Leaders rise like cream on milk and they wont allow you to put them in a senior-box.

I would have to say older is better for leading, but 20 years is a bit excessive. 10 years ... well yeah, that makes some sense, I'll give you that.

As far as led worship and youth groups, I can't say we share a common view on that. Worship is, and should be, a cornerstone in a healthy and thriving church. Both David and Solomon appointed worhip leaders, as well as were active in the creation of Psalms.

You are unfortunately arguing to a part-time worship leader, so I think it is better that I recuse myself from this one.

If you believe that churches are a community, then youth groups are a healthy and necesary offshoot of a growing body. All youth need fellowship and I would rather them hang together with like-minded peers, then say... hang out at the mall.

I can't see where you are coming from on either of these statements. I am at a loss to rectify them with the Bible.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

All right, youth groups first.

Milly,

You don’t think that these are beneficial? Youth groups? Really?

DugALug,

All youth need fellowship and I would rather them hang together with like-minded peers, then say... hang out at the mall.

(I expected a different answer from you DugALug, after you explained how wrong it is that we shuffle our kids off into Sunday School and the like.)

Really, though, this is just personal. High school was 4 years of wishing the torment would end. Youth group was just more of the same. Not a personally happy experience for me. I was much, much happier when I was allowed to get away from the kids.

To say that it is anti-biblical to not be a fan of youth groups seems a little much, but I'll not defend not being a fan of them.

Now to worship.

DugALug,

You are unfortunately arguing to a part-time worship leader

Yep, that makes a difference. Sorry, sir. Knowing this does not change my opinion, so you'll still get the straight scoop from me, but I understand where you are coming from.

Both David and Solomon appointed worhip leaders, as well as were active in the creation of Psalms.

You make two statements right next to each other here that need to be separated.

1) David and Solomon appointed worship leaders.

I am in favor of worship leaders. I just think they should teach people how to worship without them.

Yes, I believe there is a place for led worship in the body. I have even planned led worship in the body. It's good stuff. There just needs to be some unled worship, too. Right now, we all know how to follow the leader, and charismatics know how to ecstatically express ourselves without regard to what anyone else is saying.

There is a higher ground.

2) ... as well as were active in the creation of Psalms

I could not agree more. We need to be creating psalms (little "p"), hymns, and spiritual songs. I actually said this in the comment you are questioning. In fact, my comment was asking when we would have the opportunity to share these songs, hymns, and spiritual songs to admonish the body.

Yes, I agree with you that we need led worship. I just think we need less of it, so there will be more room for unled worship. And a huge part of unled worship is us getting a chance to introduce songs we have written.

Milly said...

Codepoke,
I understand what you are saying,
My son doesn’t have a huge amount of friends and I’m sure only two or so are in school with him. He doesn’t fit in very well with the “Norm” he is smart and funny but immature. He has no desire to want to date yet and looks at the body from a scientific point of view. I know because he discussed my parts in a very scientific way. Yep. I offered to discuss the sex part and he said no thank you he really wasn’t ready. See that youth group is his saving time from the stresses of school. Some of the kids really like him and eagerly hang out with him. They too are immature. Or it could be that they are being taught right that growing up fast isn’t beneficial.

As for the worship leader I agree with both sides. I sit in the booth and help with sound and lights. It was so cool when during an event the sound was brought down and you could hear everyone lifting it up to God. From my view point I can see a lot of who sings and who doesn’t. I think that it’s very easy to let others stand on a stage and sing for you. A good leader can lead and not take the spot light. I haven’t always seen that.

Doug might agree with me on this. In a larger church you need someone to work with the choir and work with the minister on what songs to sing. At our church they try to match them up with the sermon, I think. They have to make copies, send the power point to the computer person, watch egos, and so on it needs a leader. He needs to work closely with his people and be like a family. I’ll bet Doug loves those folks like family. When someone is late or ill he has to cover their part. It’s hard enough with accapella singing I can’t imagine instrumental with no one leading. I’m sure it can be done I’m not sure it needs to be done.

In a small church you can most likely depend on people to step up and help. We have almost 700 and we need strong leadership.

As for whisking the kids away for a class and worship of their own I'm all for it. Classes have changed with the times and my kids are learning a lot. It depends on the church and the leaders of those classes.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I am sorry if you took that as a pot-shot: I didn't mean that it was non-biblical: I meant that I was looking for the validation for your statements through the bible. Now that you have said it is just personal grudges, there is not much left to say.

(I expected a different answer from you DugALug, after you explained how wrong it is that we shuffle our kids off into Sunday School and the like.)

Whoah there compadre, you are puting words in my mouth. My reference was in parents allowing others to handle their primary responsibilities of raising their children.

Sunday School is not the problem: the problem is the parent's isolation from their kids. Same goes for youth groups. Parents interaction with them is imperative to a youth group's health and success. The kids may roll their eyes when mom pokes her nose in, but reflectively I now see the love (too bad my mom doesn't read these posts).

As far as High School, and Youth Groups being torture... Yeah, I can vouch for some of that. Still I made meteoritic growth in High School. This was a large result of loving leaders from the youth programs of my church. I was challenged, encourages, and nurtured by them.

By the time College hit me, I was prepared and grounded. The temptations of being at a secular school far away from my parents was no biggie! Being broke helped that too. ;)

As far as biblical perspective. Jewish children were flat-out forbidden to play with non-jews, yet were encouraged to play with their neighbor's children. I would consider any gathering of like-minded youth a youth-group.

In the mega-cities we live in, defining a Christian community is not only biblical, it is necesary for the protection of our children. Okay, I am beating the dead horse.

I said I would refrain from comment on worship, so I will.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

Whoah there compadre, you are puting words in my mouth.

My misunderstanding. Thank you for clarifying.

codepoke said...

About worship, DugALug, please speak freely. The fact that you are gifted at a thing is the exact wrong reason to be quiet on it, don't you think?

I have had better nights than this one and last night, so please forgive me if I have been negative. I'm sure tomorrow I will be glad to read the things you have to say. :-)

Good night, and may the Lord bless you both. Thanks for chatting!

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Okay...Unzipping my mouth, locking and loading.

There is a difference between corprate worship, and individual worship. And while you are right that we should be worshiping God on our own: spontaneously. There is a place for corporate worship as well.

In Acts and in the upper room, I believe that the 'one accord' was from the fact that they were singing hymns of praise to God.

My examples of David and Solomon were great because there are instances of individual and corporate worship recorded in the Bible.

In saying this, I believe that worship is dynamic, which means that new songs should be constantly being intoduced and/or created. Hymns are great, but to me they are there to resonate eternal truths, to me, hymns are fall under praise rather than worship.

Worship comes from the heart, and it is the calling of a Worship leader, to bring people to a point where they individually worship. To me, a good worship leader should bring me to a place that I don't notice the 2500 or so people around me: it is as if I am a million miles away from anyone. At this point, worship should come from the deapest part of me... (I think this is what David meant by deep calling out to deep).


As far as Paul's comments to teach and admonish through psalms. I have always taken this to mean, that songs of worship should reflects God's timeless truths. Take an old hymn... Amazing grace. 'I was lost, now I am found'. The truth is evident. We were all lost and through God's grace we are found. The truth is that we can be found. The deeper truth (and admonishment) is that you have to acknowledge that you are lost to be found.

Timeless, eternal truth's lovingly put into worship. Pennance and atonement are also put into worship. A true worship leader will allow room for all of this, as well as for the sponteneity of the Holy Spirit.

One more thing about this, who is the focus of worship? Isn't God? How does admonishments fulfill a focus on God unless it is to point to God's better way of life for us.

God Bless
doug

Milly said...

This is kind of funny. You were preaching to the choir and the person who makes them sound better. Heh. . .heh. ;-} Yes. I need to get back to work, avoidance. Milly puts her head down in shame. ;-} Not.

Andreia said...

As someone who had her first sexual experience with a youth minister, I find this to be a critical discussion.

Youth ministers in my humble opinion most often do not reaffirm the parents role as the primary role but simply offer the church gang as a substitute for the schools.

Now I am happy to hear that some youth groups are full of kids that love Jesus. My youth groups were just microcosms of high school. They were full of the same cliques. They were full of the same problems as the school.

It seems to be that it is an artificial separation in what is supposed to be family, to separate kids out. I have never bought into the idea that kids must be entertained to learn. Guess thats why we have no gaming systems here.

I want my kids to be surrounded by the grumpy elderly as well as young married folks and childess folks and everything in between.

********off to swim meet************

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I agree with everything you are saying. Led corporate worship is a booting thing, when it's done right. After 10 years of unled corporate worship, though, it is still my preference.

Drive on ministering to the body, though!

As far as Paul's comments to teach and admonish through psalms. I have always taken this to mean, that songs of worship should reflects God's timeless truths.

Well, it will be a shame if you don't add this new perspective to your arsenal. Paul lists psalms, hymns and spiritual songs separately, and I believe that they are separate and separately valuable things.

In my 10 years of unled corporate worship, I believe I wrote a dozen or so songs for my church, and that the church as a whole probably wrote nearly 100. Of those, probably 15 became a part of our regular worship. Those were our most treasured songs, and most deeply impacting.

How does admonishments fulfill a focus on God unless it is to point to God's better way of life for us.

Amen. Preach it brother!

codepoke said...

You were preaching to the choir and the person who makes them sound better.

That's a chuckle!

I get to listen to the worship leader at our church trying to get the sound guy to make him sound right every week. If you make your worship leader happy, you have my respect!

codepoke said...

Andreia,

My youth groups were just microcosms of high school. They were full of the same cliques. They were full of the same problems as the school.

You and me both.

Being male, I was spared from the attentions of my leaders. I'm sorry you were not.

The only difference I ever saw between jr. high/high school and youth group was that the youth group kids knew that this was there only chance to be "the cool ones." I was not socially competent enough to be the cool one, even in youth group, so I was their foil in church the same way I was other kids' foil at school.

The weak were still preyed upon.

I want my kids to be surrounded by the grumpy elderly as well as young married folks and childess folks and everything in between.

You know I'm there! Thanks for chiming in.

Milly said...

Andrea,
I’m very sorry that someone stepped over the line, they shouldn’t have. I know from experience that it’s easy to be attracted to a leader and for a leader to be attracted to a student. The line shouldn’t be stepped over. I am thankful that the teacher and I never verbalized or other wise went further than just the knowledge of how we felt. Some were sure when I graduated that we would start seeing each other. We didn’t because that too would have been wrong.

It hurts that religious leaders do this.

I can only speak for the things that I see in my son and his group. Yes they have cliques. I hate it but they do. We don’t have video games running. I’m glad. The music isn’t very loud and the leaders are of all ages. Is it perfect? No, I can bet that somewhere someone is feeling very lost. When my son eagerly rushes to class and has open meaningful conversations with me about God, I’m glad for that group.

Thank you for sharing It's something to watch out for.

Milly said...

Codepoke,

If you make your worship leader happy, you have my respect!

It's a hard job and I've lost my temper a few times. I still love it even on days like this one. The minister came in without sound at the end. Button? Who pushed that button? He can get over it.
We are in a transition phase on equipment an worship leaders. Look new grey hairs!

codepoke said...

That's a chuckle, Milly. Keep makin' 'em smile. :-)

Andreia said...

Thanks Milly and Codepoke for your kind words. The selection of a youth minister should be made with this in mind. I have heard far too many stories. In my case there was a ten year age difference. Not enough. Definately not enough.

DugALug said...

Andreai,

Wow, thanks for sharing this story. It kills me to hear this. I am so sorry for your experience, and I pray that this pastor was brought to justice. This type of behavior is unthinkable, let alone untollerable.

At our church one of our youth pastors, with a wife and three children, ran off with an 18 year old that he met in a chat room.

By contrast we had a pastor who was accused of making a pass at a girl, and he stepped down rather than bring further shame to the church, but mainted his innocence. It turned out that she had done this at 3 prevoious churches and was on medication for this very thing. It was too late for this pastor, and there is little that could be done for how she truly ruined his life. Fortunately his wife stuck with him and they are hapily ministering at a church down the way.

I hold that the position of pastor should require a healthy marriage where both are ready and willing to minister. But if this is considered to extreme, I am very much for making rules that error on the side of being excessively conservative, concerning counselling people of the opposite gender.

I know that in many of these cases of impropriety, there was no real intent of going down this path, but the system allowed this sort of interaction to occur. I see the problem with counselling is that it mandates a level of intimacy between the two parties that can be mistaken for love. There is the added bonus of the leverage that a pastor has over those under him/her. This too me is a literal fishbed of temtation, and error.

It sickens me that someone could misuse a position in the manner you have described. And every step should be taken to avoid this.

As far as youth groups and the fact that they are microcosms of high school. I think this is missing the point.

They are more accurately microcosms of life. Groups, even in the most reverent of Christian circles, don't take away the fact that we are still driven by our human nature. I am not saying that this is right, but I am saying that this is reality. This is where strong, grounded leaders with vision and purpose need to step in.

We, of course, had the same issues with our high school, and junior high groups. I was a leader of a junior-high group, while I was in High School and it frustrated me to no end. The cliques were all around, and there was always this element of a social ladder. To me this was unavoidable. Our pastors made the difference though. They would cycle young leaders around groups rather than attaching them to one, give vision, encourage us to really dig into the bible, promote missions trips, promote the feeding of the homeless, going to senior-homes, and so many other things. These were the tools used to shake this ladder and the results were simply phenomenal. In one of the groups that I attended, 12 of the 14 kids served as pastors at churches scattered around our area.

This is what real leadership brings forth, and I was so blessed to be under it. I submit, that this is not what you, or Codepoke experienced, and I am also sorry for that.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

Comment about last post:

Please ignore stupid gramar and spelling (as if this is new). Sorry All.

God Bless

Milly said...

dugalug,

Good to point out that keeping the youth involved helps. Those that are working together may not "like" each other as friends but they learn to be better people from working with kids that are different then themselves. One of my LTC boys recognized my son in the hall at school and spoke to him. I’m sure he’s one of the cool kids. I know that not all will learn but praise God some will.