Grace to you!
There are many traits of a successful leader. You may have read in leadership books that those traits are; a pacesetter, a visionary, someone who has supportive communication skills, inspiring and empowering others to buy-in to the vision and goals of the organization, etc. However, an additional sign of a successful leader is having a competent successor.
A leader whose organization crumbles when he or she is gone shouldn’t be called a successful leader because long term planning in terms of successors is an essential aspect of great leadership.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to know a successful priest (not in the economic sense, but in the sense of being effective in the Lord’s call to be missionaries) is one who has been able to win disciples for the Lord. An example would be in response to the question “How many people have been attracted to your kind of vocation because of you and your ministries?” If the answer is “none,” then the priest may want to reexamine the life he leads.
I suspect some may not like this opinion but I think it is common sense that if my life as a leader does not inspire others to like my kind of vocation, if I am not a role model to those considering my kind of vocation, I would suppose something isn’t right about my witness.
Today, we, in the Catholic Christian tradition, are celebrating the lives of two people who were spiritual sons to Saint Paul. Their names are Timothy and Titus.
Timothy was the son of a Greek father who was an unbeliever and a Jewish mom, who was a Christian convert named Eunice, as we learned from 2 Timothy 1:5. It is likely the mom of Timothy led him to the Christian faith. When Paul met Timothy for the first time as a teen, Paul saw in him someone whose heart is open for God. Timothy took Paul as a mentor and would eventually be one of Paul’s closest collaborators in the ministry. Paul spoke of him as a trusted friend (Philippians 2:19). During and after Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, Timothy was close to him as a friend and a co-worker.
This is important to note because when we touch the lives of people, become part of their spiritual growth, they often become part of our life too. There is mutuality of support in many cases if we provide this spiritual value to people.
Titus was called by Paul “My true son in our common faith” (Tit 1:4). A Greek Gentile (Gal 2:3) who must have been led to Christ by Paul (Tit 1:4). Eventually, he became the leader of the churches founded by Paul on the Island of Crete (Tit 1:5). The uniqueness of his conversion through the ministry of Paul made him a good example for the Gentiles and he played a role in collaborating with Paul to lead the Gentiles to the faith (see Gal 2:12).
Paul’s mentorship of Timothy and Titus are true examples of successful leadership. As we celebrate their lives, may we be inspired to be effective leaders, mentors in the faith for those around us.
God love you. God bless you.