Browsing articles in "Leadership"
Apr 17, 2013
neil

What Margaret Thatcher can teach your church

On the day of the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister of the last  150 years, tributes continue to be been paid from all-sides of the political debate. Love her or loathe her no one denies that, through her leadership, she changed the face of a nation and her influence continues to be felt across the world to this day.

Looking back over  her time in office, what made her the leader she was? Here’s a personal take on seven qualities identified by Thatcher and those who knew her that shaped her leadership.  Seven qualities that all leaders can learn from starting in this post with 1) conviction and 2) clear vision.

1. Conviction

Margaret Thatcher famously said above all I am not a consensus politician but a conviction politician. Her leadership was borne out of a strong moral conviction that what she believed in was what could make Britain great again. And Thatcher was to attribute her success to this unswerving conviction in the rightness of her cause. After nearly ten years in office she still maintained if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing.

Leadership not borne of strong conviction is leadership that will fail. Even when at her lowest political ebb, in 1981, she argued pragmatism is not enough, nor is the fashionable word consensus. To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.’

Lord Saatchi, in an interview on the BBC the morning after Margaret Thatcher’s death, paid tribute to this quality. He summarised her outlook in the following way:

The aim in that period when she was leader of the opposition was to present an ism, called conservatism, which in her mind was a philosophy and the object of the exercise was to explain that philosophy and see if people would support it and now we have a situation all these years later where you can tap anyone on the shoulder any where in the world and ask them ‘what did Mrs Thatcher believe in?’ and you will get a straight answer in a second.

Applying this principle of leadership to churches we might well ask whether it is obvious what we, as a church, stand for? We also have to ask are our principles matters of conviction,derived from God’s word and God’s purpose for the church in the world, rather than our own ideas? Do we lead from conviction or consensus?

2. Clarity of vision

Thatcher had not only strong convictions which guided her actions but a clear vision of where she wanted to take the nation. Henry Kissinger comments on why he thought Thatcher was a breathe of fresh air as a leader in her generation: The appearance of a leader that confidently asserted a vision of the future and, was wiling to tackle the economic problems of the day based on an alternative theory, had both a practical impact and also a psychological and moral impact on the period in which she lived.

He concludes her view was that leaders should define themselves by clearly articulating for their public their vision of their future.

What can we learn? It couldn’t harm if we as Christian leaders were to ask ourselves just how clearly are we articulating a vision for our particular churches? Are we able to assert not just guiding values that under-pin our ministries but a compelling vision as to where such principles might take us? For example, it is surely a good thing for a church to affirm the spread of the gospel as a necessary core value, it is another thing to set out a vision for how the church will seek to see the gospel go out  over the next, say, 5 to 10 years.

In our next post we consider what it meant for Thatcher to be a leader defined by courage, clear communication and commitment to her cause.

 

Apr 11, 2013
neil

How Thatcher’s Christian faith shaped her leadership

Two quite superb articles in American Spectator.

The first is on Margaret Thatcher’s Christian faith and its impact on her leadership.

The second is entitled ‘what the new atheists ignore‘ and  is a reflection by a non-believer on the massiveimpact for good Christianity has had in our communities, contra the absence of any evidence that atheism has had any social impact to the good.

 

 

Mar 7, 2013
neil

Thank God for your mistakes in ministry – and use them well

If you’re anything like me your natural temptation is to want to forget the mistakes you’ve made in ministry. Some are embarrassing because they highlight our immaturity or weaknesses, others are difficult to recall because we remember the impact they had on others. Bad news is for burying, isn’t that right? But maybe God wants to teach us through our mistakes (and our failures for that matter).  

Ten most common mistakes made by new church starts is a book that aims to take our errors and put them to use. In their introduction Griffith and Easum write ‘Those of you who are already church planting will recognise yourself as we go along. If the pain gets too bad, take an aspirin or two.’

I think I probably made at least 6 of the mistakes they list. One of the mistakes I recognise was called ‘Failure of the Church to Act Its Age and Its Size.’ The key principle being that in a planting context decisions need to me made about what ministries should be started when. In other words there is the world of difference between knowing something is the right thing to do and knowing when is the right time to do it. When we started talking about buying a building as a one year old plant we certainly didn’t help ourselves or our congregation to ‘Act our age!’ Great idea, wrong timing. The same can be said of wanting to start a full-blown kids work from age 0-14 to draw in families to the plant at a time when our eldest child in the congregation was just 1.

Stepping out in faith is not the same as running ahead, unaware of the risks and at a pace that cannot be sustained by even the most servant-hearted, faith-filled congregation. Nor do plants begin ministries only to please guests. ‘It’s better to just let them walk away than to overextend and burn out. It’s also better than making promises you can’t keep.’

At our next 2020birmingham Planters meeting we will be sharing our mistakes and in turn I’ll try and share some on the blog.

God not only lets us make mistakes, he wants us to learn from them. He also wants us to teach others through our mistakes. The Bible is full of stories of those who failed from Abraham to Moses to David to Paul. Their examples are for our instruction. God has included their mistakes to teach us humility, patience, God-dependence and above all else that He is the one building His church sometimes because of us and sometimes despite us.

We live in a world where no-one will ever say they were wrong. As Christians we are free from the need to prove ourselves, our ministry successes and failures do not define us. But they do shape us and others. Let us put them to good use.

Jan 15, 2013
neil

Some doors need to be kept locked – Steve Chalke, sexuality and preaching the negatives

A friend of mine was enjoying a pint in the pub when a guy he didn’t know offered him a job. The job was working on a building site for a multi-storey office block. My friend had never done anything like it but was up for a challenge so he turned up, found a hard hat and walked on-site. Within a few hours he was operating a pneumatic drill breaking up a concrete floor that needed to be re-laid. Within a few minutes of starting he was falling through the floor onto another concrete floor below. He missed scaffolding pipes by a few inches that would have broken his back. He could have died, he ‘should’ have died and if he had, others would have been guilty of his death.

You might say he should have had the sense to have not been there in the first place, but nevertheless someone should have been protecting him. He was put in a dangerous place that he had no right to be in — unprepared for the dangers that awaited him, he nearly lost his life.

I tell the tale because I have recently been reminded that I have a job that involves protecting people from entering dangerous places. The pastor-shepherd protects the flock and the way we protect, at least in part, is by saying ‘don’t go there’ when we see or sense danger.

That charge to protect is a call to ‘preach the negatives’. Our preaching needs to challenge wrong living but it also needs to warn of dangerous theology. In a talk I heard last week I was reminded that false teaching doesn’t even necessarily have to affirm that which is false. False teachers often start by promoting dangerous ideas in an altogether more subtle and invasive way. Rob Bell’s book Love Wins is a case in point. When you turn deadly ideas into open questions, you invite God’s people to enter dangerous places.

Hugh Palmer, Rector at All Souls Church, London (the home of John Stott’s ministry for over 50 years) warned in a recent talk that Bell’s book ‘opens the door to tragic places and never closes them’. You don’t have to walk through the door yourself to be a false teacher, you merely have to open one after another and invite others to explore for themselves where they would like to go.

Our ministry has to have some negatives. We protect the flock by preaching the truth but also by locking and double-locking the doors of dangerous and deadly ideas and then we stand in the way of anyone reaching for the handle.

Paul writes in Acts 20 in his farewell message to the Ephesian elders;

Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!

The preacher must know the truth, preach the truth and warn against those ideas that oppose the truth.

It’s desperately sad to see Steve Chalke walk away from evangelical truth in his recent statements in support of practising homosexuality, arguing that it is consistent with Biblical Christianity. But what is also culpable is the decision of those at Christianity magazine to promote his ideas in the most public way by letting him open doors in people’s minds, many of whom are vulnerable to dangerous ideas. True, the magazine also presents the biblical evangelical position alongside Chalke’s ideas but in effect, that is to leave two doors open and invite people to decide for themselves.

The defence the editor of the magazine makes is, first, that Steve Chalke has written for the magazine for a number of years
(so it’s the least they could do to give his ideas such a prominent place in this month’s edition?) and secondly

opening up the issues is what this magazine does. We’re evangelical in conviction, but our approach has never been to suppress what others think, whether within or outside of evangelicalism.

I hope you notice the emotive choice of words. If it is an act of ‘suppression’ to silence false teaching then the same charge applies to Jesus and the apostles who spend considerable time not only refusing to promote dangerous ideas but actively speaking out against them.

Christianity magazine has decided to leave open the door that Chalke has walked through, and their rationale is that they have opened another door in an alternative and more traditional point of view presented by Greg Downes. What this all amounts to is opening two doors and inviting people to decide for themselves which they will walk through. One door leads to life and the other, death. One must be closed and locked, but that will only happen if you are prepared to preach the negatives.

Jan 5, 2013
neil

The darker side to being driven

Jon Tyson is lead pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City. I found a sermon he preached in December from Matthew 1:21-23 really enlightening, not to say a little disturbing. Tyson (about 19 minutes into the sermon) highlights a hidden danger inherent in the hearts of men and women driven by a noble desire – living for God.

What could be wrong with such a fine ambition? Essentially, Tyson points out, the danger comes from failing to recognise that our lives were never intended to be lived for God but with God. When our passion is not Christ but doing stuff for Christ we become vulnerable to that most subtle danger of ‘importing worldly ambition into Christian ministry’.

Tyson draws on a blog post written by Skye Jethani entitled Has mission become our idol to expand his point. Jethani writes

Sometimes the people who fear insignificance the most are driven to accomplish the greatest things. As a result they are highly praised for their good works which temporarily soothes their fear until the next goal can be achieved.

How easy it is for Christian ministers to believe that the worth of our life is determined by the achievements of our ministries. Jethani quotes Gordon McDonald who says of this condition (which he defines as missionalism);

Missionalism starts slowly and gains a foothold in the leader’s attitude before long the mission controls almost everything; time, relationships, health, spiritual depth, ethics and convictions.

How many Christian ministers are actually pursuing a worldly ambition –driven by a desire to prove themselves through their ministry – rather than joyfully living out their lives and fulfilling their ministries with Christ?

What might be tell-tales signs that your ministry has morphed into a self-serving idol?

Here are 5 symptoms I recognise in myself;

1) An aggressive self-promotion of our own ministries. Every conversation, blog-post or tweet is an opportunity to talk about ourselves through the vehicle of pushing of a ministry rather than an opportunity to bless others with the gospel.

2) A lack of interest (let alone joy) in the ministry of others. If my sense of self-worth is located in my ministry then the success of others disturbs and threatens me. They become a threat to my security and rob me of my joy.

3) When our ministry is an idol, and its success becomes our consuming goal, relationships suffer. When our focus is our ministry our relationships begin to be defined by the extent to which they can be useful to us in fulfilling our objectives. Family life suffers because they don’t advance our cause and instead slow us down by demanding time and energy we want to invest elsewhere.  In essence the idol is seen to be at work when I am only interested in others to the extent to which they can assist in the completion of my projects and plans.

4) When we are defined by our ministry we find it next to impossible to rest from our work. The idol of worldly ambition enslaves us and we fear falling behind.

5) When ministerial success is essential to our identity what keeps us awake at night is not the fate of the lost, or the glory of God but a fear of personal failure.

 

Dec 31, 2012
neil

Why gospel preaching is only half the work God has called you to do

Most of us ministers think the test of a good church is one that preaches the gospel faithfully. That must be right. But is it enough? In the new free e-book Brothers we are still not professional Ray Ortland Jr. wants us to recognise a further test of orthodoxy.  Does our church not just preach the gospel but evidence transformation through the existence of a recognisable gospel culture. The issue his chapter addresses is the necessary connection between preaching the gospel of grace and living out the gospel of grace in our church communities. So the challenge for any who are leading churches is not just to preach a gospel message in our churches but to build  a Gospel Culture.

 What should be happening in our churches?

Where the gospel is faithful preached and carefully applied the church community ought to exhibit the transforming effect of that gospel. Ortland describes a church shaped by gospel preaching as a social environment of acceptance and hope and freedom and joy.  As different books of the Bible highlight different aspects of the gospel so they shape the community in different ways. Ortland suggests;

  • The doctrine of regeneration creates a culture of humility (Ephesians 2:1–9).
  • The doctrine of justification creates a culture of inclusion (Galatians 2:11–16).
  • The doctrine of reconciliation creates a culture of peace (Ephesians 2:14–16).
  • The doctrine of sanctification creates a culture of life (Romans 6:20–23).
  • The doctrine of glorification creates a culture of hope (Romans 5:2) and honor (Romans 12:10).
  • The doctrine of God—what could be more basic than that? — creates a culture of honesty and confession (1 John 1:5–10).

The gospel really does have power to create God’s new society that is radically different from the world. However the sad reality is that whilst individual lives may be being changed through the gospel sadly too many churches find their community life a pale imitation of what we should expect.

So why is it that churches that preach the gospel fail to be transformed by the gospel?

 Here are a few thoughts from my own experience

1. Because it’s a whole lot easier to preach the gospel than to live it. Many things will work against the transformation of our life together. Sin in all its forms; apathy, indifference, self-centredness, etc. will inevitably make establishing a gospel culture harder than ensuring faithful gospel preaching. Gospel preaching requires just one man to get it right, gospel transformation requires the whole community to put it into practice. What all that means is that it is not automatic that a church preaching the gospel will be being transformed by the gospel. We should recognise that it is always a slower process than we would like (as is our personal sanctification) but still it ought to become increasingly evident in a gospel-preaching church.

2. Because as preachers in our sermons we spend too little time applying the Bible to the community life of the church. My training for preaching prepared me well to preach to the individual Christian but much less the church body. For most preachers we find individual applications relatively straight-forward but I have to say I’ve lost count of the number of sermons that fail to even once address the gathered church.

We need to ask ‘what does this sermon mean for us as a church family?’ as well as for us as individuals.  We ought to lead our congregations through our preaching and corporate applications are key here.

3. Because we British (!) struggle to find appropriate ways to celebrate how the gospel is impacting our communities. We don’t often talk about how the gospel is at work in our relationships in the church. Perhaps we ought, in our preaching to celebrate examples of gospel  transformation in action. So, for example, a sermon that features the theme of inclusion provides an opportunity to comment on how we’re getting on at relating to those who are different from ourselves in church and to celebrate cross-cultural, cross-generational relationships and how different church is to other communities.

4. Because we think a gospel culture should just grow organically rather than be nurtured. It’s true that much transformation can be seen simply through individuals deciding to put the gospel to work in relationships with other ChristiansBut why should we simply leave people to it? We don’t think gospel-preaching just happens which is why we give considerable time to training young preachers, reviewing sermons and preparing well for our own preaching. So what energy could we put into facilitating a gospel culture? What training could we put in place? What formal as well as informal opportunities could we create to facilitate gospel relationships?

Conclusion

Don’t let your test of orthodoxy be limited to how faithfully you are preaching the gospel but ask too ‘how is the gospel of the living God transforming our church?’ For much is at stake; Ray Ortland includes this terrific quote from Francis Schaeffer’s The Church Before the Watching World.

One cannot explain the explosive dynamite, the dunamis, of the early church apart from the fact that they practiced two things simultaneously: orthodoxy of doctrine and orthodoxy of community in the midst of the visible church, a community which the world could see. By the grace of God, therefore, the church must be known simultaneously for its purity of doctrine and the reality of its community. Our churches have so often been only preaching points with very little emphasis on community, but exhibition of the love of God in practice is beautiful and must be there.

Dec 8, 2012
neil

This man wants to change the way you lead

Al Mohler’s new book on leadership has recently dropped through my letterbox. The conviction to lead: 25 principles for leaership matters is everything that you might expect; wise, clear, biblical and focused! Above all else what guides Mohler’s principles for leadership however, is conviction. He writes I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced.

It won’t do to ignore best practice in leadership as some evangelicals are prone to do. We cannot hide in our studies, write a few sermons and pay our pastoral visits and believe we are doing all we are called to do as church ministers. Leading a church requires much more than that. But neither can we reduce our role to that of ‘leaders’ who mimic the world, seeking to take a church forward through motivation, vision, strategy and models of leadership. Mohler seeks to bring these, too often separate, worlds together. His purpose in the book? My goal is to redefine Christian leadership so that it is inseparable from passionately held beliefs [convictions], and to motivate those who are deeply committed to truth to be ready for leadership. Let a book like this shape your ministry and that of others in your church. Be clearer on your convictions and put those convictions to work as you learn to lead through them.

Here is Mohler on The Leader and Death

A legacy is what is left in the wake of a great leader. The leader is gone from the scene, but his influence remains essential to the direction and culture of the work he led. Once again, conviction is central. The idiosyncrasies of the leader will not (or should not) remain. The plans and visions of the leader will be outdated soon after his burial. The style of the leader is a personal signature. Your tastes will not be the tastes of the future. Yet none of this really matters. What matters is that the convictions survive.

Remember that leadership is conviction transformed into united action. If the convictions are right, the right actions will follow. The wise leader does not try to perpetuate matters of style and taste, or even plans and programs. The leader who aims at a legacy aims to perpetuate conviction. If the conviction is truly perpetuated, all the rest will follow. If the convictions are not perpetuated, none of the rest really matters. The leader who truly leads by conviction drives those convictions deep into the foundation of the movement. A legacy is built on that foundation as convictions frame reality.

Every leader needs to know the reality that we will die one day and that others will take our place. Hopefully, these new leaders will bring talents and abilities and vision greater than our own. Our greatest concern, however, is that they come with a wealth of conviction. Otherwise, all that we build can be turned against the very truths we have championed.

Nov 8, 2012
neil

Why your city needs a church-planting movement

On Saturday 100 people from across the city of Birmingham are gathering together to think, pray and plan to reach our city for Christ. It’s the third time we have done this in the past 3 years. Our conference is called How to win a million.

We represent a variety of evangelicals (Anglican, FIEC, Independent, New Frontiers, etc.) and the reason we keep meeting is that we recognise that it will take many more new churches to reach our city for Christ and that collaboration in planting is the way to best achieve this.

Let me offer you five reasons why our city, and almost certainly yours, needs not just for your church to plant but churches to work together to plant so that we can reach a city more quickly and more effectively for Christ.

1. We need new churches to reach a growing population 

The population of England and Wales has grown by 3.7 million people in just the past 10 years. Such a population increase, at 7.1%, represents the greatest increase in a single 10 year period in over one hundred years.

Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe with 37% of the population under the age of 25.

2. We need new churches to replace the many churches that are closing

The total number of churches in the UK fell from 50,231 in 1980 to 47,635 in 2005 a drop of 5.16%, when in the same period the UK population grew from 56.3 Million to 60.2 Million a rise of 6.7%.

3. We need new churches to reach out to our ever more secular cities

A recent study of 64,303 adults in the UK found that of the younger generation: only 38% of the 18-34’s defined themselves as being Christian whilst 53% preferred to describe themselves as having no religion. Whilst the gospel doesn’t change and the message of Christ crucified is our only message we need to find innovative, creative and flexible models of church that best reach a secular culture. New churches have always led the way.

4. We need new churches to reach our religiously diverse cities

In the 2001 census 16.8% of the Birmingham population identified themselves as Muslim. The average for England and Wales is 3.0%. The challenge is obvious and the statistics demonstrate the direction of travel: ever-more diversity! Birmingham had a 30% ethnic minorities population in 2001 and that figure is set to grow.

New communities have entered our cities and reaching them for Christ presents fantastic opportunities!

5. We need new churches that will love and serve our cities rather than retreat from them

In that same study of over 60,000 UK adults

  • 79% agreed that religion is a cause of much misery and conflict in the world today
  • 72% agreed that religion is used as an excuse for bigotry and intolerance
  • 78% agreed that religion should be a private matter 

When 4 in 5 people are deeply suspicious of the presence  of religion in their society there is much that the church must do to demonstrate a commitment to serve and bless our cities.

The challenges are so great and the need so urgent that it compels us to work together under Christ to make his name known.

Oct 19, 2012
neil

Are you man enough?…part 2

In an earlier post I looked at what the Bible has to say about men and leadership.

The key to leadership is letting your definition of leadership be set by the one man who can truly teach us what it means to lead. For Jesus, leadership was three things 1) God-dependent, 2) servant-hearted, 3) leadership of others.

To learn to lead you must therefore first be willing to be led by Jesus. So below are the final three points from my City Church men’s breakfast talk;

5. To be a leader you have to lead others to the gospel

Where in your leadership are you seeking to lead others?  As we lead our Christian family and other Christians for whom we have responsibility, the need is to show them Jesus and lead them to him.

CJ Mahaney in his book Humility asks ‘What are your ambitions for your children?’

Are any of your ambitions for your child more important to you than their cultivation of humility and servanthood –the basis for true greatness as biblically defined?  Are you more interested in temporal recognition for your child than you are in his eternal  reward? Ultimately, that’s what parenting is mostly about – it’s about preparing our children for the final day. 

If you are ambitious for your child’s godliness, what will that mean for you as a leader?

As we lead others at work we seek to lead in a way that commends the gospel. Servant leadership is quite a contrast with lordship-leadership, which seeks to use others for selfish reasons. Servant-leaders are able to get the best from employees or colleagues under their lead by taking a genuine interest and serving their needs. As we lead in this way, so we commend Christ to all around us.

Q. Is your priority for others their eternal salvation?                                                     

6. To be a leader you have to know whom God has called you to lead

Godly leadership involves making right priorities. God calls on us to lead those we are called to lead. There is a God-given hierarchy to our responsibilities.

That means that to lead in the wrong way is a failure to lead. Jesus knew this for himself when tempted by others, including his own disciples, to pursue a healing ministry. In Mark 1:32-39, Jesus goes to a place to be with his Father and on return renews his commitment to move on from a town where he was wanted and needed, to preach the gospel elsewhere because he understood that God had commissioned him to preach – a ministry that in time would lead to his rejection.

We are to lead our wives and children ahead of our work colleagues, for example.

Q. How might leadership in one part of your life be an excuse for failing to lead in a more important part?

7. To be a leader is to lead through your God-given personality & God-given gifts

There is diversity in the body of Christ. God has not given you the same gifts as others in the church and he has given you a unique personality. We lead through our God-given strengths and have to work on our weaknesses.

Some of us are initiative-takers, others more passive. Some fear confrontation, others are too confrontational, etc. There is no one type that you have to aspire to. Introverts can lead and often do lead better than extroverts. The key is a better knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses so that you are better equipped to lead well.

Q. What has God made you good at and how does that help you lead, what weaknesses do others see that you need to work on?

Oct 13, 2012
neil

Are you man enough? …..part 1

What does it mean to be man?

This morning at the City Church men’s breakfast we looked at the thorny issue of men and leadership. Let’s start with three models for masculinity:

Model 1. Bear Grylls the super-man – strength, self-sufficiency and invincibility

On one website the all-action hero was described this way: The writer and television presenter is known for his amazing feats and has paraglided over the Himalayas, escaped from quicksand and snacked on a still wriggling snake.Bear has also run Class V rapids in the lower Zambezi (without a raft), plunged beneath the ice of a frozen lake in Siberia while naked, and even avoided alligators on his way through the Everglades.

Model 2. Homer Simpson the useless man – immaturity, incompetence and irresponsibility

HOMER: Okay, brain. You don’t like me, and I don’t like you, but let’s get through this thing and then I can continue killing you with beer.

HOMER’s Brain: It’s a deal!

Model 3. Jesus the perfect man – the God-dependent, servant-hearted, leader of other

The perfect man is Jesus and we need to look to him to learn to be a man. Jesus shows us that to be a man involves three things: It is a God-dependent, servant-hearted, leader of others.

Learning to lead – 7 ways to lead like Jesus

1. To be a leader you have to be willing to be led

Leading is not an synonym for autonomous, self-sufficient existance. It’s not an excuse to no longer listen or learn. If you are to be a godly leader you will know your need to let Christ lead you.  The  Apostle Paul writes Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ  – 1 Cor.11:1.

As you follow Jesus you learn how to lead. He was THE God-dependent, servant-hearted, leader.

Q. Are you looking to Jesus to lead you? What does that mean?

2. To be a leader you have to first lead yourself

You are the most difficult person you will ever lead. – Bill Hybels.  Unless you can begin to lead yourself you will not be ready to lead others.

Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus – Philippians 3:13-14 (c.f. 2 Tim 4:7, 1 Cor. 9:24-27).

Q. Are you making progress in leading yourself? Where might you be failing to take responsibility for your life? Your character, your sin, your time, etc..

3. To be a leader  you  must see leadership as living out the gospel

It’s not just a question of whether you are leading but why.

Everyone seeks to lead for one of two reasons. We are all of us leading for an identity or from an identity.  To lead for an identity will  mean our leadership is driven by the need to prove ourselves in some way. Maybe that means to make a name for ourselves by proving our worth to others. To lead from an identity means to be so confident of our identity as children of God and so secure in his love that our leadership is wonderfully liberated from being a tool of self-justification and instead becomes a joyful service of others.

  • Leading for an identity works itself out in lordship leadership in which your relationship to others is an opportunity to prove yourself.
  • Leading from an identity works itself out in servant leadership in which your relationship to others is an opportunity to offer yourself.

So in a marriage Lordship leadership is an opportunity to be a bully.

Learning to lead like Jesus means that a husband’s authority (like the Son’s over us) is never use to please himself but only to serve the interests of his wife  – Tim & Kathy Keller

Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. – Romans 15:2-3

Q. Why do you want to lead? For whose benefit?

4. To be a leader you have to lead others by the gospel

A God-dependent leader recognises his weakness and leads from weakness.  The apostle Paul was an apostle of weakness – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (c.f 12:7-10 ‘I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness’). Leaders who lead from the gospel exhibit the following traits;

  • Leading in dependence on God
  • Leading with the help of others (quick to go to older, wiser Christians)
  • Leading by being first to admit fault,
  • Leading by being quick to confessing sin,
  • Leading by seeking grace

Q. Is it evident to others by your attitudes and actions that you find strength to lead in your weakness?

In a future blog we’ll look at points 5-7.

 

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