Friday, November 05, 2010

Being a Godly Follower

This is Part one of a series on Godly Leadership.

Much is made of godly leadership. Often this is because many pastors, Bible teachers and other ministers are gifted in leadership and teach what they know.

The concept is that each of us has some set of spiritual gifts and abilities to offer and we are to be leaders in our use of them for the edification of the Body of Christ. Generally, some mention of marks of a good leader is given including spiritual marks as well as marks of a natural leader. For example, one Christian leadership course gives the following information:

Natural qualities of a leader:

  1. A spirit of initiative

  2. Willingness to take risks

  3. Sense of responsibility

Desired qualities of a leader:

  1. Personal authenticity

  2. Generosity

  3. Personal accountability for actions

Given that a Christian leader combines natural qualities of a leader with Christian virtues, the Christian virtues that contribute to Christian leadership are:

  1. A living faith

  2. Hope

  3. Love

  4. Humility

This is a good list. However, while all spiritually mature Christians should exhibit these types of qualities, not always will that mean that they will make great decisions or that others will be inclined to trust their decisions. As such, not every Christian is gifted with good leadership abilities. I count myself as one who is not gifted with leadership. I don’t seem to have the ability to pull volunteers together in cooperation toward the achievement of some goal. Partially that’s because I’m process oriented, not goal oriented. That is, goals are nice, but I’m always asking what happens after the goal is achieved. My focus is on planning for continuity rather than ending the game. My fellow Westerners appreciate goal oriented leadership rather than process oriented leadership. Therefore, I cannot be used to lead them because they will not follow.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV)

This passage would seem to indicate that being goal oriented is scriptural. However, the context is that Paul is talking about the purpose for his actions, not actually accomplishing the end of any particular race or goal.

It may be argued that even a process must be broken up into smaller goals that need to be accomplished. However, this fails to miss the full import of the process. The goal in the process is never to accomplish a series of smaller goals. The goal in the process is to continue after a certain manner. Smaller goals are never that which is to be particularly accomplished but they are merely benchmarks along the way.

The endless accomplishment of goals is to be focused on performance. The continuity of purpose is to live in submission to the One who gives purpose.

I have often heard it said that in order to be a good leader one must also be a good follower. I must add to this that we must all strive to be good followers, but that leadership must not be our goal. I say that as a process oriented person. The good process is to live in submission to God. Even Christ lived among us and lives today in submission to the Father. How much more should we be in submission to Him? If we happen to be raised up as a leader, then we will have the heart of Christ in leadership and will exalt Him as our supreme leader, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven of which we are citizens.

Leaders do not think of themselves first. They think of God first. When Moses was confronted by sin against God at Mt. Sinai, he struck the Israelites with a just punishment and thousands died. When Moses himself faced attack by his brother, Aaron, and sister, Miriam, he did nothing in his own defense. God came and defended Moses outside of any action Moses took. When God was slandered by the Philistine giant, Goliath, David took up sling and stone and stood boldly in His defense. When king Saul, God’s anointed, was disrespected David struck those who did so with death. When David was personally attacked by Saul and by his son, Absalom, David fled raising no hand against them. Paul judged Christians with due harshness who blatantly sinned against God. But he suffered severe physical abuse for preaching the gospel without seeking retribution for his suffering. This is the testimony of leadership in the pages of scripture.

Next article: The Role of the Holy Spirit – Cessationism vs. Continuationism

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home