Leaders as servants in God’s Great Story
What makes a good leader? Do good leaders today have the same qualities as the good leaders in the stories of the Bible?
At New Covenant Fellowship, we’re in the process of defining and selecting a leadership team. I was asked to do a teaching on leadership and wanted to incorporate it into our “Being a Part of God’s Great Story” theme. On Sunday I shared a selection of leadership “stories” told in the Bible. Here is the summary that would have followed those stories had there been time.
– Leaders are important among God’s people, but let’s not over-idealize their importance or abilities. Leaders are important, but not that important.
– Leaders are just one of us—a sister or a brother and a child of God just like you and just like me. A good leader always thinks in terms of “we,” not “they.”
– The only comprehensive phrase in the Bible for the English term “Leaders” is “servants of the Lord.” Talk about a paradigm shift—from “being in charge” to “serving others!”
– A good leader encourages the rest of us in his or her own unique way to faithfully play our part in God’s great “Master Story.”
– Leaders should be gifted at pointing us toward God, but they will all have very real weaknesses.
– No leader is really a leader in all areas—a prophet rarely makes a good king; a scribal expert rarely makes a good pastor; a people-person is rarely an efficient systems person; a priest was never meant to be king in Israel; a teacher is rarely a high-powered organizer.
– Don’t rely too much on your leaders (Psalm 146:3-5), but do pray for and honor and obey your leaders (Hebrews 13 and 1 Timothy 4).
– Leaders among God’s people have always had conflicts with one another. Our prayers should be for peacemaking and working things out, not for a lack of conflict. If Moses, Aaron and Miriam could not avoid conflict; and if Peter, Paul and Barnabus could not avoid conflict; then our leaders are unlikely to avoid conflict.
– Similarly, leaders have always needed to endure criticism—sometimes deserved and sometimes undeserved. If Moses, Jesus, and Paul had to deal with being criticized, our leaders likely will have to as well.
– Leaders are supposed to lead, not waffle. Zedekiah (in the book of Jeremiah) is an example of the tragedy of a leader who can never make up his mind what goal of being king is—he waffles constantly.
– Finally, as we move forward together in thinking about leadership in our New Covenant Fellowship community, let’s all remember God’s calling for us to be a community of “Beggars.” Leaders are to Build up, Encourage, and Grace the entire community. And all of us are to build up, encourage, and grace our leaders.