Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Human Leaders Part 2

In Who Needs Human Leaders Part 1 I argued for a balanced view of human and divine contributions to ministry. Consider some of the implications that flow from this understanding of leadership:

    1. It would be pointless to formulate plans, exert effort, take risks, or spend money on a ministry project that is not empowered by God. Any such project is doomed to fail spiritually, no matter how much outward "fruit" it appears to bear.
    2. Humans can do tasks, including attracting a following, without any help from God. However, for those of us with a biblical perspective, such a following would be not only unimportant, but actually dangerous to our own spiritual lives and the health of the church. Those who understand the divine component in ministry don’t want any more following than what God has in mind for them.
    3. Leaders who understand God’s part in leadership become more watchful, and less forceful. They realize the futility of sociologically-based change (changing because of group pressure or manipulation) and instead realize that the key to successful ministry is finding out what God is doing. Then the leader can cooperate with God’s direction and often maximize results.
    4. Leaders who see their roles as God does are less shattered by failure and less elated by success. Years of serving God as leaders teach them that what appears a great success is often not as great as people think, and what seems like failure may not be as bad as supposed. In the face of failure, God always seems to find a way through eventually. At the same time, nothing is ever as easy as we thought it would be. The realization that ultimate responsibility for the kingdom lies with the king leads to stability and consistency in leadership.
    5. The nightmare of presiding over a huge, carnally motivated ministry may haunt spiritually-minded leaders, while leading a small flock in the true power of the Spirit seems increasingly appealing. Of course, a spiritual leader will go where God calls him or her, whether to large or small flocks.
    6. While techniques and scholarship can be increasingly mastered in our lives, discerning the hand of God in leadership never gets all that easy. As a result, long-time leaders develop an increasingly careful and circumspective approach when deciding on direction, while carnally motivated leaders tend to become "know-it-alls." Of course, all good leaders know how to move strongly and decisively once God’s direction has been discerned.
    7. Biblical leaders are constantly scanning the people in their sphere of influence, watching for signs that God is moving someone ahead. They know the divine election plays key a role in leadership development. God’s gifting of believers is an indication of his plan for them in the body, according to 1 Cor. 12. Likewise, people often have underlying personal problems that are secret to all but God. These issues often come out only after a person is in leadership and may cause widespread damage. In retrospect, we sometimes realize the signs were there all along. Godly leaders see that the key to leadership replication involves a combination of faithful feeding of the flock on the one hand, while trying to discern who God is designating as his chosen leaders for the future.
Next time: What makes someone a spiritual leader?

1 comment:

Joe said...

Dennis, very insightful and practical implications. So often we lose sight of what God is trying to do with the ministry we're involved in. This will also be useful to re-read and pass along to younger and aspiring leaders.