By: Ben Giselbach; Guest Writer
Paul’s letters to Titus and Timothy play a critical role in our understanding of how a New Testament church should be shaped. What the aged apostle told these two young preaching protégés is invaluable to us today. He told Titus to “put what remained into order” (Titus 1:5) and Timothy to “follow the pattern” (2 Tim. 1:13) and “guard the deposit entrusted to [him]” (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:14). If we are going to continue restoring New Testament Christianity today, we need to pay close attention to what Paul had to say to these two preachers about what the model church looks like.
Titus 2 & Healthy Congregations
The second chapter of Titus teaches some often overlooked – or at least under-appreciated – characteristics that are often lacking in the church today. Note the following:
- Healthy churches need multiple generations. If the church is losing to the world a group of people that fall under a particular age range, something is wrong. We need more than just men and women; we need multiple generations that work well together. Older generations cannot replace the important roles that younger generations play in the church, and younger generations cannot replace the invaluable roles of the older generations.
- Healthy churches enjoy intergenerational relationships, creating a mentoring environment. In Titus 2, older women are specifically given the responsibility to “teach” and “train the younger women.” Also implied, though not specifically stated, the older men have the responsibility to mentor and be an example to the younger men (case-in-point, Paul in his letters to Titus & Timothy). How does this happen? Older men & women need to work on developing close relationships with younger men & women, and vise versa.
- Healthy churches recognize gender roles. Regardless of how politically incorrect this fact is, men and women have special roles in the Lord’s church. Yet, in many congregations today, you wouldn’t know this.
Perhaps the biggest reason there is so much confusion today within the church about the unique roles of men and women is because older men and women are not mentoring the younger men and women about their respective roles and responsibilities.
Why The L2L Keepers & Providers Events Are So Important
Lads to Leaders (L2L) is an effective tool that helps churches do a better job doing what Christ has asked His church to do all along. Christians already know they need to be studying their Bibles, serving others, and training the next generation to be leaders. L2L is simply an organized approach to doing these things.
Two L2L events in particular, “Keepers” (for girls) and “Providers” (for boys) help restore what is taught in Titus 2 by stressing gender roles and creating an environment wherein older men and women are teaching the younger men and women. For example, the L2L “Keepers” program encourages the older women of the congregation to train the younger women in matters such as hospitality, money management, cooking, and childcare. These are important skills, and the relationships that are strengthened as a result between the older and younger women are priceless! The “Providers” program, which will be introduced in 2015, will teach our young men about issues like home safety, automobile maintenance, and child discipline. Likewise, the relationships that will be formed between the older and younger men of the congregation will have far-reaching benefits to the health of the church.
Restoring New Testament Christianity is a constant pursuit, and there is always room for improvement. We need to allow Scripture to shape our thinking of what a church should be like, and then use the most effective methods to becoming that church. When we pursue the characteristics of Titus 2, we will more effectively be the Bride of Christ and find favor in His eyes.