Connecting Point: Journey of Leadership
June 23, 2021
John Maxwell, well known author and book seller, said “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” He also observed “Development is a lifetime journey, not a quick trip.”
Two key factors play a major role in the church of tomorrow; healthy leaders and healthy congregations. Together they co-exist. If the church is lacking one of the two, changes must occur in order to be more effective; spreading the Gospel and building disciples. Candidly speaking, both leaders and ministry members are marked by their desire for growth. To grow is to be healthy.
Two insightful texts: “An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, ( and does) not pursue dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it,” (paraphrased liberally, Titus 1:6-9).
1 Timothy 3 speaks similarly with some distinctions; “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. He must not be a recent convert…He must have a good reputation with outsiders,” verses 4, 6 and 7.
Leaders are chosen by these characteristics. Paul was converted in rapid sequence, but he is more of an exception. Church leaders are not born for a position or thrust into a place of leadership due to nepotism, which would be poor practice. Character is of far more value than charisma or even ability.
As one who has served in leadership for many years, I wish to address some assertions that I’ve heard. “God can’t use me because of my past.” Well, if that were the case, our churches would be empty places. The entire point of the Gospel is about Jesus transforming our lives. For example, an older NIV version that I study about overseers states, “The husband of one wife”, the KJV says the same. Is this a case of improper Bible interpretation? I don’t believe so. While the question of divorce must be thoroughly discussed, here’s a reality. Within the early church that Paul established there were surely leaders who may have abided a divorce, possibly in their early spiritual development.
Another assertion includes, “I don’t have the abilities or talent to be a leader.” Again the Bible emphasizes character growth. Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. Smiley face. The church is not a place filled with perfect people, we all have flaws. However, God works through imperfect people who grow in their character. Remember, this is a journey.