Christian Leadership

The content for this post comes from my notes on a talk given by Stuart Briscoe at a local Men’s Breakfast a couple of weeks ago.

What is “leadership”? Is it a skill? A quality? Is it innate? Can it be learned? If you can get people to follow you.. a lot of them, are you a leader? Hitler did that. Was he a good leader? I’d like to suggest that Christian leadership is a bit different than what we view leadership to be today, and then discuss why I believe that’s the case.

First off however, let’s ask ourselves why it is important to ask ourselves about Christian leadership as men. Why should we try to be good leaders? I suggest that the church is not being the church it needs to be, and one of the largest reasons is because we are not turning out men that lead! Too many of today’s leadership books are written from a secular perspective. Too much Harvard Business School, and not enough of the New Testament in these books! There are critical pieces of leadership from a Christian perspective that are not in these books.

Christian leaders are required to lead people into a personal discovery of God’s purposes. This is not an aspect of corporate leadership. Ray Kroc, President and CEO of McDonald’s was asked about his priorities in life. He correctly stated his priorities as God first, family second, and McDonald’s third. He then followed up this rousing display of integrity with the statement, “..until Monday morning; then they reverse”. Men, God is first and if you recognize that, recognize that He doesn’t move! Ask yourself in your daily coming and going, “Am I leading people toward goals that may be leading them away from god, or that are not leading them TO god”? The Christian leader is not free to merely vision, lead, mobilize, and push. We must discern, and lead people with the idea that they come to god.

Christian leaders are required to reflect something of the divine image. You cannot reflect that which you are not pointed at. In word and deed, we must live our conviction that we are His and He is ours. We must have character. There was a President recently that left office and a two-question poll was taken of him. The first question was, “Was this man a good President”? 80% said yes. The second question was, “Was this President a good man”? 80% said no. You can be a good secular leader and be a bad man. You cannot be a bad man and be a good Christian leader. We must treat people as if they are created in the divine image. Imageo Dei matters – all the time – to the Christian leader. People are not units of labor that we make to work at a given rate and compensate them, they are children of the King.

We are intended to have a unique impact on the communities we are in. We must act in a Christian way regardless the surroundings to impact others for His church.

Character. Let’s dig in a bit on this. A man, Joseph, born in Cyprus, moved to Israel, was a landowner, a Levite. Many people talking about a crucifixion. This guy though, had been raised from the dead and was all over the news. This is likely because women told the men this story, and men often have trouble believing what women tell them they thought up. Messiah eh? He didn’t do what their messiah would have done, and weren’t then sure if it was him. Some were starting to think that it was. This man (Joseph) believed it, and was in the minority. He became a follower of The Way. They stopped calling him Joseph, and started calling him Barnabas. Means son of the prophet. Prophets may encourage, but they have funny ways of doing it (think Nathan and David). Barnabas also means “encourager”. His character was allied, aligned with, his name and actions. He did what he was named and it matched his character. Today we have ‘image’, and precious little character. Plastering over the cracks of your character and appearing righteous (image) means little to the Christian. Character means everything. Reputation or “image” is what people think you are in the daylight. Character is what God knows you are in the dark.  (read Acts 11:24) Barnabas is described as a good man, full of the Holy Spirit, and in faith.

Stuart says, I was a bank auditor. Accept nothing, question everything; and my theology training began (the Bereans approach). So I hear that Barnabas was a “good man” and come back with Romans, saying that there are no good men. Barnabas took the law of god seriously, and lived a life that encouraged and helped others, and people saw that. No one has intrinsic goodness as viewed by God, by viewed by men, Barnabas was good, and had moral fiber. Ask yourself, “Do I want to have a ministry for the Lord or do I want to entertain my personal desires and have my special needs fulfilled”? What matters and what lasts?

Filled with the Holy Spirit; this is contrasted with being drunk. I have been drunk, more times in my distant past than I care to admit. You drink, your inhibitions leave. You are captivated, motivated, and activated. The drink gets you, then your motivations change, and then your actions change. It piques my curiosity, changes my desires, and finally stimulates my action. Drink does this negatively, and I’d like to suggest that the Holy Spirit, drunken regularly and in as much quantity as beer in this fine state, will do this positively! As Christian leaders, we should drink of the Spirit freely, allowing Him to captivate our hearts, motivate our thinking, and activate our lives in service to Christ.

Faith, has different dimensions. There is a cognitive dimension; I believe something is true. There is an emotive dimension; because I believe it, I am moved by it. It has an evaluative dimension; I am moved in this direction by what I am convinced is true, and it matches with reality. A man of faith can tell you how Christ changed his life as a result of what he knows. He can tell you why he does what he does and why it matches with the Lord’s will and guiding. A Christian leader makes others want to be like him.

When it is said and done with you, will you be remembered as a good man, full of the Holy Spirit, and in faith? Are you a Christian leader?

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 17:07 and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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