Rev. E. Anderson
Presented to you is a Christian Leadership Course that is purposed to provoke many to embrace the call of Christ to leadership within His Church. The series will come in the form of a study each week, which will be in two parts thus covering two weeks over the site. My prayer and desire is that such will help many in the summons of Christ to serve Him in these tremendous days.
CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP COURSE
Study 5 THE QUALITY OF CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP Part 1
In coming to the matter of Christian leadership, it is necessary to consider the sort of people that are required. It is not enough to state that leaders are needed: there has to be a defining of what kind that are essential. Whilst there is a description given in the name ‘Christian’, there ought to be a spelling out in the clearest terms possible what is meant in its association with leadership. It certainly implies that it should have its origination and embodiment in Christ, but there is still the demand to express simply what characteristics are vital for this important work.
· If there is a need for leaders in the Christian Church, then it is arguable that the call is for the best type of personnel. The important qualification is quality. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, is the supreme example of quality. He represents and bespeaks quality in everything. He was and is the quality man and leader, so those who represent Him should undoubtedly reveal a quality life and experience in accord with Him. Nothing but the best type of personnel is required and there should be no settling for second-best. One of the major considerations in the New Testament Church practice was the emphasis on the appointment of those with divine qualifications. If there are ‘divine qualifications’ then it must surely suggest that they should be people of quality.
· It must be stated that the work embraced is that of a quality order and the aim should be for excellence. No one should forget that it is God’s work, this being so, the best workmanship should be produced and this can only be accomplished through the best workman in terms of character and exercise. The objective of the task, in the main, is to secure not only the salvation of souls from sin, but to produce praiseworthy and commendable characters within the structure of the Christian community. Christian leadership is involved in preparing God’s sons for eternity, so that they are admirably ready to take up a major role in God’s eternal kingdom. This means that they have become approved because they are qualified persons. If the Christian leadership is not divinely qualified how can God’s ends be effectively served. It needs good leaders to produce good members!
·The requirement is for men at heir best in and through God so as to achieve the best in and through God in and for others. In the construction of the Tabernacle, god appointed a man whom He had gifted and graced so as to accomplish His great design – Exodus 35: 30-35. Only God can effect the best and He does it in and through those whom He is Master and Controller of. Paul called himself ‘a wise master-builder’ – Greek ‘architect’ – 1 Corinthians 3:10, and this was through the gracing and gifting by God with the best. They were at their best and received quality factors and training from God that made them qualified to do a commendable task.
·These quality people are developed and tested people, proved in order to be approved unto God, workmen that He is not ashamed of and who are not ashamed before Him. Quality leadership does not bring disgrace upon God’s name or kingdom, nor does it bring reproach upon itself. God takes enormous time and patience in the production of His leaders so that He has the kind that will bring both pleasure and profit to himself and His kingdom. This is exemplified as a Biblical principle as reflected in the case of Joshua, David, Elisha, Timothy etc.
In order to assess the kind of quality that both God and the Christian Church are looking for in connection with leadership, it would be wise and proper to ask the question: what are the real qualities that are necessary for both life and service? In answering, it can be said, one is not left to guesswork or to the ideas of the natural and worldly mind. What constitutes a good leader from the Biblical viewpoint?
(1) THEY MUST BE PEOPLE OF CONCERN AND COMPASSION – 2 CORINTHIANS 5:14
· The fundamental characteristic, the one that should stand out above all others, is a genuine, divine love that is visibly demonstrated both Godward and manward. Love is to be the inspiration and motivation of life and leadership. If this is missing then the whole of leadership is gravely and greatly affected. Unless this is the mainspring of the call and work, the leadership is truly lacking as far as God is concerned and will amount to nothing – 1 Corinthians 13 : 1-3. The basic test as to whether one is suited to fulfill a leadership role within the Christian Church is know whether the ‘all-constraining love of Christ’ is present and active – 2 Corinthians 5: 14.
· Unfortunately, leadership can be assumed for various and lesser reasons: for the love of office (it is an office of love); for the desire to be seen; for the display of one’s own talents and gifts; for merely humanitarian reasons; for the sake of doing something or to please others. These motivational factors are totally inadequate and are worthless in God’s estimation. They are to be completely rejected and denounced as being utterly unsuitable and unacceptable.
· God’s work calls for leaders who have died to self-interest and are moved by the inspiration of concern and love. There is the emulating of the One who has set the pattern – Matthew 9: 36; Philippians 2: 5-11. The principle and procedure of life and work is governed by the motive force of the law of love and comes with the revelation of 1 Corinthians 13. It is to be a leadership of love not a love of leadership. The leader must have a heart of divine love and affection for God and those within the Church of Christ and the world. If this is not inherent and evident, such are disqualified. See the challenge of Christ to Peter – John 21 15-17. The great initiating and firing aspect is divine love within a person.
(2) THEY MUST BE PEOPLE OF PRAYER – ACTS 9:11
People may possess great learning and have great scholastic and academic abilities and qualities, but particularly they must be schooled and taught in the closet of prayer. Learning may provide with tremendous knowledge of both natural and spiritual ideas and facts but they are inadequate to provide with divine, spiritual insight and foresight that are essential to the success of Christian leadership. Only prayer provides the vital link with God and qualifies to work effectively for Him within His cause. Life and leadership must be soaked in prayer.
W.M. Bounds - His book – The Power of Prayer – he believed in a vital school of prayer
· First of all, it is an established communion with God. It is entering primarily into a relationship and fellowship with God and into a position where everything can be talked over with Him. Leadership must emerge from relationship and fellowship. There must be the bringing of the leadership to Him and a conversation with God about it in its outworking. Fundamental questions are to be asked in his presence. Is life-style right? Is the leadership pleasing to Him? Are the people of God being correctly taught/ Are the problems and situations being answered in the best possible way? In communion is there an assessing as to how things are going? There is the unburdening of the heart to the Lord in relation to all the important and relevant details and there is basically a desire to know Him and His leadership within the communion – Daniel 9: 1-19.
· Secondly, a communication from God. Through prayer God opens the mind and understanding to His ways, methods and procedures. Prayer expresses dependency on God and He responds to this humble attitude. He beholds the yieldedness, sincerity and expectancy and warmly reacts by giving the necessary revelation and answers that will make the leadership successful. The leader comes forth with the mind and solutions of God upon prevailing situations thus indicating the effectiveness of the leads received from God. It is important to be tuned into heaven and that there is a flow of divine understanding; otherwise the leadership will be at the mercy of its own limitedness. Unless there is learning to listen and a knowing of the divine voice then the leadership will be inadequate and ineffectual. The vital qualification and credential is not only to be in touch with God but for God to be in touch with the leader.
Illustration: Christ – Isaiah 50:4,5; Moses – Psalm 103:5
(3) THEY MUST BE PEOPLE OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY – 1 TIMOTHY 3: 6; 4: 12
·Those who are to assume the role of leadership must of necessity be people who have advanced and grown in stature; those who have definite spiritual accomplishments and have been proved before others. It is obvious that they ‘have attained a standard both of life and work’ that makes the leadership situation unquestionable. It does mean that they are perfect but all the strong indications are there for promotion. The apostle Paul made it a standing rule to timothy that in the appointments within churches that no novice should be given position – 1 Timothy 3: 6. The Greek is ‘neuphuton’ which means ‘a recent convert.’ The metaphor is seen in 1 Corinthians 3: 6 and is used in relation to planting. It refers to that which has been newly or freshly planted. Such has not become full grown and matured.
·Those leaders of spiritual maturity have got that something extra and plus above the ordinary. They have taken stock and root and are the embodiment of structure and establishment. They have something about them that reveal they are a cut above the ordinary membership in achievement. They are above average. Through the process of time and experience they have moved ahead and proved the teaching of God’s Word and know its reality in and power in life and ministry. They have moved out of spiritual childhood and adolescence and have become grown up and in some cases a spiritual father and mother.
These are some of the things that can be identified with spiritual maturity:
1. The definite ability to handle people, especially the people of God.
2. The gift to cope with life with all of its sudden emergencies, difficulties and traumatic events.
3. The rejection of that which is novel and erroneous and that leads from relationship and development in the Godward direction. There has been the learning and adoption of the true principles of divine growth that has brought establishment. There is a refusing to be easily swayed and moved in the wrong direction – Ephesians 4:14.
4. There is both the ripeness and sweetness that characterizes all that is of a personal character and what is performed. An awareness should exist that there has been an arriving at a good and wholesome state.
(4) THEY MUST BE PEOPLE OF GOOD SENSE AND SOUND JUDGEMENT – JAMES 1: 5; 3:13,17
· Paul makes the point in Ephesians 3: 10 that the Church should be making known the manifold wisdom of God to the intelligensia of heaven. Those who lead the Church must not be fools, nit-wits or nincompoops. If the leadership is to be a revelation of the Headship of Christ then it ought to be a revelation of highest wisdom. Too often the churches and members have seemed to welcome fools instead of rejecting them. The need of the Church is for people who spiritually think and are capable of coming forth with God’s mind and word. It is important to possess the ability to think through in and with God and to come in a decisive manner to reveal the way of the Lord. A great deal of harm has taken place at times because there has been a lack of personnel with the faculty of divine thought and revelation.
Illustration: The apostle’s prayer in Ephesians 1 : 17, 18 is for spiritual perspicuity – seeing things from God’s viewpoint and angle.
· It must be emphasized that ‘the people of God are capable of being deceived and side-tracked. The danger is always present of being led away and aside by people who profess to be wise and yet are fools. In the Old Testament, Israel became the victim of the false prophets who led the nation into all kinds of foolish beliefs and practices that brought the condemnation of the Lord. It lacked both divine sense and judgment and there were blind leaders of the blind. Unfortunately, even in Paul’s day, there were churches that fell to these sort of leaders with their ideas and philosophies. He called the believers in Galatia: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?”
· James shows that there is a demand for people of divine wisdom and intelligence within the Church’s leadership – James 3:13. Lack of true understanding and right decision is sure to lead to a state of chaos and ultimate divine correction and retribution. Good perception and insight is essential with regard to Christian belief and behaviour, creed and conduct.
(5) THEY MUST BE PEOPLE OF HONEST REPORT 1 TIMOTHY 3:17; ACTS 6
· The behaviour in the Church and before the outside world should be of the highest quality, impeccable, and one to be commended – 1 Timothy 3:7. There is no putting on of a pretence and show to those within the Christian household when present. No sham exists. The people without also voice their candid approval of the leadership. It is not confined to the precincts of the local testimony, there is a true, shining, convincing witness that makes impact and contribution to the world at large. From this it can be noted that the leader is given a lead in terms of:
· Christian principles in the area where they are strongly contested. There is no letting down of the Christian standard in the place where it is not always altogether welcome. But the honesty and integrity of the convictions and conversion come through so that the world is impressed even if not converted. It can pave way for such.
· Christian testimony and witness so that those without are made aware of the Gospel of Christ. By the word there is the capable and honest expression of the Faith. There is not only the honest report of the life that is fundamental, but the honest report of the lip regarding the Gospel that is evangelical. There is the giving of a lead in effectual witness that proves the validity of the Gospel
Question: How many would hold office in leadership if it were dependent upon the genuine testimony and credential of the outside world?
To be continued