Succession Planning Traditions 1Running Head: SUCCESSION PLANNING TRADITIONS Succession Planning Traditions from Titus 1-2:8 Melody Jill Avery Cazort Regent University
Succession Planning Traditions 2 Succession Planning Traditions from Titus 1-2:8 This article explores the ideology of leadership succession and development from thebiblical book of Titus (New King James Version), as Paul instructs Titus concerning Crete’sfuture church leaders and sets a model for twenty-first century succession management. Versesfrom first half of Titus teach how leader succession should progress, as it was for the EarlyChurch. As Paul did, succession and its planning is a process that involves preparation, vision,protection, and involvement of all levels of management from the top-down. The scripturesinvolve diverse people of different ages and genders, how they play a part in the network ofsuccession, and could even play an unforeseen leadership part, if necessary.Overview Some contemporary scholars debate whether Paul wrote the letter to Titus or if this bookcould be pieces of Paul’s writings that were pieced together later (Faber, 2005). However,Radmacher, Allen, and House (1997) claimed that Paul is most likely the author. Paul’sintentions in his letter were to help Titus organize Cretan churches and provide guidelines forleader successors. These succession leaders would include pastors, elders, bishops, and variousother believers as well. Therefore, the leadership was less of a closed relationship, but more of anopen system with many different people participating in some way. Paul initiated the book of Titus with an overall theme of “good works” (Radmacher,Allen, and House, 1997, p. 2065). The repetition of this term eight times in Titus stresses God’spriorities for these leaders in establishing the churches and leading them. Corresponding to thistheme is documentation about the work as well as the practices of an elder. As the biblical booksof Timothy and Peter portray, eldership is “great work” which is wanted, worthwhile, andhonorable (Roberts and Olbricht, 1974, p. 54). Jesus has a reward plan for the elders who serve
Succession Planning Traditions 3steadfast and true. Thus, elder leadership is ethical work, whether viewed from the first centurywriters or the audience readers of Titus in the present day. Faber (2005) also explained that a thesis of Paul’s salutation to Titus is to promotefamiliarity with truth and godliness. A theme created later in the letter to Titus shows that thisgodliness is decent and right because it means that conduct, deeds, and actions derive from one’stheological confidence. In other words, an individual’s beliefs and values are the source of theiractions. One’s behavior is a consequence of what they have learned from others, such as theirdoctrine. Therefore, the teachings are fundamental and crucial. In Titus 1-2:8 (NKJV), Paul prepares Titus as his future successor, planning for afterPaul’s departure. Paul teaches Titus how to develop church leaders for towns on the island ofCrete. Titus additionally forecasts for immediate leader succession for himself too, as he cannotattend all of Crete’s churches. Titus intends for these elders to lead their individual churches inCrete. Titus also addresses those who could serve as leaders unexpectedly such as older men andeven those who may eventually promote into leadership later, the young men. Finally, Titusportrayed his personal example as a faithful servant for the diverse Christians to model in theirleadership. The leadership placements, qualifications, and planning create a solid foundation forthe early Cretan church organization. As readers of Titus today, modern succession planners canalso use the applications from Titus for their organizations in the present day. As the next sectionpresents these scriptures in detail, many ancient ways are reusable and applicable with people ofthe twenty-first century.
Succession Planning Traditions 4 The Ideological Synopsis of Titus 1-2:8Titus 1:1-4 The Greeting and Background In this section, Paul first identifies his status, office, and the intended recipient of thisletter, Titus (Biblegateway.com, 2009). Previously, Paul had entered Crete, an island in theMediterranean located south of the Aegean Sea, as a prisoner. Paul’s initial writing of Titus iscompact; he quickly sets the tone and introduces the main theme of the letter. Referring tohimself as a servant of God signifies Pauls selection for this service, as Christ had sent delegatedauthority to Paul. Paul’s purpose in this writing is to assign the task of completing andorganizing the unfinished establishment, suggesting a church, to Titus. Therefore, it seems that Paul is serious and concerned about Titus and the leaders left onthe island to lead Christianity. It appears that a great deal of responsibility and the Christianreligion will be greatly dependent on these leaders so Paul gets down to his business quickly.The future of Christianity in this location literally lies in these Christians’ hands. What theseleaders do and how they act determines if Christianity grows or diminishes. Next, the hierarchydemonstrates how the church establishment must organize its people in order to grow. The bible portrays the churches’ hierarchy of power, starting with God and Jesus at thevery top, a superiority level. Paul is on the next authoritative level with Titus below him. Theelders, as the next section introduces, lie on the next rank as leaders of the Crete church followedby the elder women and the young men.Titus 1:4-16 Elder Requirements and Warnings These scriptures from Titus (NKJV) list requirements for elders and bishops to serve thechurches. As the list introduces the task necessities, the insubordinate Cretans sharply contrastthe high qualities of the elders. Faber (2005) explained the Cretans are opponents to Titus and
Succession Planning Traditions 5that “eligibility for eldership is evidenced by knowledge of the truth, while ineligibility ismanifested by improper behavior” (p. 143). The extreme concern for teaching in Titus is not onlyto adhere to the truth but also a warning to block deceitful instruction that could spoil theChristian religion. Hence, if a small bad seedling was allowed to live, the potential for its growthwould be like weeds taking over a healthy garden of Christianity that would otherwise haveflourished. To understand the concept of elder as the early first century people did, elders exercisedpower in tribes then and were influential in the local community, in the same way that parentspractice authority in a family (Mappes, 1997). Elder leadership linked with the early socialsystem and based upon tribes and patriarchal ways. Thus, society highly valued this power andhonored the elders as leaders. However, elders had to be accountable for their actions with thishonor, as the next paragraph explains. As the author, Paul used a literary device in verse 5 as he assigned the responsibility ofappointing elders to Titus (Buttrick, Bowie, Scherer, Know, Terrien, & Harmon, Gealy, &Noyes, Eds., 1955). The churches were unorganized and ill prepared to resist a severe defect.Crete had a serious flaw; nonconformist teachers distressed entire families, as verse 11explained. Titus’ assignment was to repair this defect by setting up the elders in a church inevery town. Paul tells Titus to fill the wants and place order in the churches’ needs. Just as Paulappointed Titus, Titus was supposed to appoint elders. In the interim, Paul warns Titus to censurefalsehood and harshly refuse liars. It seems that this reproach was likely to nip any false doctrinein the bud, to be sure that it did not have a root to grow and overcome the Christian faith.
Succession Planning Traditions 6Titus 2:1-8 Qualities: Goals for the Church Association High qualities and positive characteristics were required to serve as an elder. Theirbehavior had to include love, patience, and reverence, as well as behaving sensibly and steadfastwith practices of sound faith. The same positive conduct applied to the older women as theytaught and led their own families, and were supposed to lead and serve as examples for theyounger women. These basic responsibilities of successors and others could become applicablesomeday as they could become successors. If dire needs arose, they were qualified. These verses additionally mirror the successful leadership model practiced in foundingchurches in Thessalonica. The Thessalonian books tell how their churches were mostly Gentilebut these people had transformed from idolatry to serve the living God (Buttrick, et al. 1955).After leaving Philippi, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy founded the church in Thessalonica. Theyspent time there building a reputation of good qualities and characteristics such as work ethic, todevelop mutual affection and loyalty with the Thessalonians. This demonstrates a strategy thatPaul practiced in going into different areas and setting up in central places. His policy was toestablish himself in leading sites of a region, working out from those points, and evangelizingwith the use of his helpers in surrounding areas. This succession model of setting up and stationing leaders to succeed after Paul’sdeparture was workable. The church institution was possible with leaders who had earned a goodreputation, were trustworthy, and followed Paul’s instruction. Similar to today’s organizations,the church institution had opposition and strong competition, which could harm it. Paul’sconcern about this showed through in his writings. Buttrick, et al. (1955) explained that Paul’sworry for the succeeding elders and their characteristics demonstrated. Christianity fought for its
Succession Planning Traditions 7survival over Gnostic heresy and had to prove its power in order to present men and women ofbetter quality than other beliefs. Ignoring these competitors of other belief systems was dangerous in the era of Titus(Buttrick, et al., 1955). Competitors had the ability to hinder many centuries of work for theChristian churches, which would result in millions never hearing God’s Word. If this EarlyChurch failed to meet these challenges, it would surely be set behind other religions. Much of this is still true today. The Christian church opposes some strong, persuasivecompetition (Buttrick, et al., 1955). Communism, materialism, cults, and many other beliefscompete and challenge for humanity’s allegiance. Christian churches must think, serve others,and evangelize over the competition. The only way to do this is to have helpers who love morethan rival religious adherents do. Thus, the leaders’ outstanding Christian qualities are essentialand vital for Christianity’s survival. Here is the need again for elders with high standards. Verse 5 specifically adds Christianity practices to the women’s duties, requesting toavoid discrediting God’s word in the home (Buttrick, et al. 1955). Buttrick said Christianwomen’s actions were significant as society noticed. “To upset the order of the family would beto precipitate social revolution and bring ruin on the church.” (p. 535). Roberts and Olbricht(1974) also present women in a higher status than elder. Referring to I Timothy 5:14, women aremasters of their home and an authoritarian. Alternatively, elder is a word concerning submitting,with eldership acting within reason and deference to the church, which in turn accepts the elder’sappointment (Roberts & Olbricht, 1974). Instead of the elder acting as an authoritarian figureover a congregation, the church approves of the elder.
Succession Planning Traditions 8 Thus, study about women in the church presents the possibility of a new underlyingleader, the women of their home and family orderliness. Paul could have been showing this asthe root, the source, of positive leadership for the church and from where it derives. After all,where did the elders start learning and observing Christian characteristics to meet their elderrequirements? This also parallels and supports Paul’s earlier order to rebuke false teacherssharply, thus not allowing that negativity into the family’s home. Wrong doctrine could take rootand eventually poison the family, the home, and eventually the church organization. As in the first century, paganism and bad instructions surround contemporary Christianhomes. The counsel in these verses from Titus is applicable to the family unit; creating a familytradition of how these diverse members of a family circle should behave can only help supportthe family (Buttrick, et al. 1955). From the qualities of the groups of people who make up thefamily, principles emerge that were critical in Titus’ day are just as significant in every age ofman. Thus, roots of Christian leadership could be the home and family, because the home iswhere children first learn and see examples of how a leader operates. Therefore, in their ownway, women serve right there in their home as the first leaders. This leadership is timeless. Factors to Understand the Titus Scriptures Better Ideological studies of the bible concern people, their relationships, culture, society, andbias, opinions, and preferences (Robbins, 1996). The authors’ intentions of the books of thebible, how the people of that time lived, and the reader audience helps in understanding thisideology and thus, the true meaning of bible text. The next section aids in these perceptions,looking at others’ points of view, the groups that they had, and their individual beliefs.
Succession Planning Traditions 9Cultural and Social Setting Leaders were essential for the early church on Crete, a Greek island (Radmacher, Allen,& House, 1997). Mediterranean people recognized Cretan societies for their wickedness,laziness, lying, or otherwise sinful ways. The Cretan lifestyle enjoyed surpluses and had plentyfrom thriving agricultural trade. This excess contributed to the Cretan indulgence and theyearned a reputation of being lazy. As a result, they brought about grief from their sinful ways.Because of these facts, the Cretan culture lacked ethics and morality. False teachers contributedto these surroundings. Thus, these churches desperately needed leadership that directed oppositefrom these evil ways. The next paragraph looks at the people of that time and place, using moreideology to understand the situations better. Therefore, groups with different beliefs emerged from Titus. The Christians, who areentering Crete and trying to win over people and the people who are in opposition. As a people,the Christians had to unite, as diverse as the genders and ages were, to convince othercommunities to become Christian. These Christians had to be unique from other religions andpractice what they preached as a group, showing their values in their lives, in order to convincethe Cretan society that Christianity was not merely good words but a practice of good works. Conclusion Modern leader succession planning guidance derived from Titus. We should askourselves how we could apply these applications for today. In deep consideration of thisscripture from Titus, I see many things we can learn and apply now. The leader succession fromPaul to Titus provided: A good example of how the process should be.
Succession Planning Traditions 10 The church with higher principles very diverse from those who are not Christian, a separate people practicing and living according to their doctrine. Leadership requirements including ethics, values, and high quality in their lives. Requirements that demonstrate the pretense of these principles; they are the root or source of a leader’s behavior and actions. Standards are as a good predictor of how a leader will likely conduct himself and react in future situations. A framework and network of love, responsibility, and trust among everyone. A foundation that is often overlooked but still timeless, leaders of the home that set the solid foundation of sound doctrine and protect it, rebuking those who would allow untruth to tarnish it. A hierarchy of leadership, as in the churches’ hierarchy of power. The succession levels show the next leader in line for emergency situations. For example, if some men had to leave for war, the older women or young men would bear the main responsibilities for the rest of the people. If necessary, these diverse groups could unexpectedly play a leadership part. Consistent training and preparation for the next generation and their future. As the church men taught and modeled for the young men, so did the older women set examples for the younger women. Successor leadership can be a defining moment for an organization, replacing the old with the new. An organization may be at a crossroads and the new leadership may be an influential part for transformation, as it was for Crete with the Early Church. In conclusion, as ideology is about people and relationships among them, these versesfrom Titus concern connections from leader to leader. These scriptures provide a prime model of
Succession Planning Traditions 11leadership succession, demonstrating how leaders are successors from one generation to another.Leaders pass on the guidelines and qualifications that channel an individual through successionas a good leader, qualifying the next prospective group of leaders and preparing them to leadmore followers. It is an example of how humankind, in leadership, can teach one another how tofish for Christian growth and leaders for a lifetime. Leaders should use this same model today forsuccessful leadership succession.
Succession Planning Traditions 12 ReferencesBibleGateway.com. (2009). Commentary. Retrieved January 18, 2009 from http://www.biblegateway.com/ resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentary Text&cid=11&source=2&seq=i.63.1.Buttrick, G. A., Bowie, W. R., Scherer, P., Know, J., Terrien, S., Harmon, N. B., Gealy, F. D., & Noyes, M. P. (Eds.) (1955). The Interpreters Bible, vol. 11. New York, Nashville: Abingdon Press.Faber, R. A. (2005, Spring). "Evil beasts, lazy gluttons": A neglected theme in the epistle to Titus. Westminster Theological Journal. 67(1), 135-145.Glasscock, E. (1987, January-March). The biblical concept of elder. Bibliotheca Sacra. 144(573), 66-78.Mappes, D. A. (1997, January-March). Studies on the role of the New Testament elder. Bibliotheca Sacra. 154(613), 80-92.Mitchell, M. M. (1992, Winter). New Testament envoys in the context of Greco-Roman diplomatic and epistolary conventions: the example of Timothy and Titus. Journal of Biblical Literature. 111(4), 641-662.Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (Eds.). (1997). Nelsons NKJV Study Bible. Commentary. United States of America: Thomas Nelson Publishers.Robbins, V. K. (1996). Exploring the texture of texts: A guide to socio-rhetorical interpretation. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity.Roberts, J. W., & Olbricht, T. H. (1974). Eldership. Restoration Quarterly. 17(1), 54-60.