Families are struggling. Even in the church, families are going through rough times. We can act like it isn’t happening, or we can face it head-on.
While there is nothing wrong with this approach, for many congregations the default response is to hire someone. “Let’s get a younger preacher who can relate to these families.” (Never mind the fact that, since he’s young, he’s probably struggling, too!) “Let’s add a family minister to our staff.” “We need to add a counseling center.”
Trust me, none of these are necessarily bad things, and in many cases, they can provide a great help to a congregation.
But in our rush to think of staffing as the solution, are we forgetting a Biblical (oh, and far less expensive) method? It’s found right in the middle of the book of Titus, and it might just transform a congregation.
Interestingly, chapter 2 begins by introducing us to the phrase “sound doctrine” (which just means “healthy teaching”). Typically, when we think of “sound doctrine,” we think of issues like the plan of salvation or pure worship. Those things are true, but what is interesting is this: that’s not the subject under consideration in Titus 2. What is? What is the “sound doctrine” Titus is supposed to preach and hold to? The relationship between older Christians and younger Christians!
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in the faith, in love, and in steadfastness. (Titus 2:2)
Don’t you think there might be some younger men who would see that type of example and understand what it means to be a godly Christian man? What if these older men were willing to teach some classes or even just take a younger man under their wings and show them what it means to walk in the faith?
What about our Christian ladies? Paul had that covered as well, and it didn’t take bringing on another staff member:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (verses 3-5)
It’s simply about living the right way and being willing to pour that into the next generation.
Here’s what I often see as a problem, though. Younger men and women (and I’ll let you decide what is “younger” and “older”) have some issue and, instead of the church asking a wise older person to teach or help, they simply go to their peers for advice or (more often) validation.
Of course, we need peers as friends. They can provide a sounding board and a place where we can know we are not alone.
But God’s Book says the older ones are to be teaching the younger ones how to do things in this life God’s way!
Older Christians, that means it is time for you to step up to the plate and do what God has commanded you to do! Instead of seeing an issue and helping to pay for another staff member, you roll up your sleeves and help that struggling dad or that hurting mother! You show them what God’s Word says and you share your immense wisdom with them.
But younger Christians, that also means you have to swallow your pride, not think you or your generation has it all figured out, and actually listen to the wisdom of these wonderful saints! Instead of trying to seek out a hired hand who is more “relevant” and in the same boat, why not listen to someone who has been there and still carries himself or herself with Christian grace?
You want to transform a church and help your families? I’ll take God’s plan any day of the week!
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn