Leadership is God’s idea. Leadership is not about the control or the manipulation of others. True leadership brings others to their highest potential in life. When leaders lead, others become what they could not be before. Leadership is an expression of authority and authority never takes from others. It gives life to them. Destructive applications of authority in leadership cannot cause us to shy away from accepting the responsibility of leading others. The abuse of leadership cannot cause us to reject a leadership role. Leadership is a gift given by God to take others to places they have not gone before.
As leaders, we must be secure in leading. If we are insecure in our leadership role we will not dare lead those we are responsible to lead. Leaders are an example in leading others, so they must be secure in that responsibility for the sake of others. Paul exhorted Timothy, a young leader responsible for thousands, to be secure in his role of leadership. His leadership role would be one of example to others, not that of controlling their lives.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Paul also instructed his spiritual son Titus to exercise his leadership responsibilities with all authority. This even included the responsibility to rebuke if necessary. Again, the role of Titus was one of example and encouragement to those who followed his leadership. We cannot charge others to be subject to authority if we are not subject to authority ourselves. We cannot direct others to obey, do good works, or exhibit right attitudes towards others if we do not do the same as leaders.
Titus 2:15; 3:1, 2 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Leaders must accept their responsibility to lead others with an attitude of confidence. They must accept the anointing to lead as God gives it to them. Members of a congregation will sometimes challenge a leader in their role of leading. If the congregation member presents themselves as more confident than the leader it will affect the flow of life that comes from that leader. A leader can never allow him or herself to be intimidated by a congregation member. They must simply lead in faith as God directs their actions and they must do this with complete confidence. If they will do this it will create a clear atmosphere of God-given vision for the whole congregation. When leaders remain in faith with complete confidence in their role as a leader, challenging members of a congregation will either become transformed or they will seek to find some other place to go where they can manipulate insecure leaders.
My own journey as a leader began as a faithful follower. I was a worship leader of various sorts for fifteen years. In that process I became a worship director and rose up other worship leaders to do as I had done. Following my years of leading in worship I was appointed to be a youth leader and remained in that role until I transitioned that responsibility to others. I was a full-time administrator for the church until I was appointed to be an associate pastor. One day I found myself in the role of a senior pastor. In all of these things I did not promote myself or seek to be the one who was responsible. I was simply responsible wherever I found myself and I was asked by God and man to step into each role on the journey. My goal was never to be a leader, but to help others become who they were called to be. My journey was one of promotion by God while living among my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was not educated to fulfill the roles of my appointments, but had to seek my needed education and skills in the midst of them. Because God promoted me among my peers, I often faced issues of familiarity with those God appointed me to lead. I had to accept my role of leadership and I had to stand in confidence within my God-given responsibility in the face of people who thought that they were perhaps more qualified to lead than me. There have been times when I have had to stand in confidence with God’s direction for others, as He has instructed me to lead. There are times when leaders have to make decisions for the corporate purpose of those they lead and they cannot allow familiarity with those they lead to become a hindrance to their confidence in leading.
Leaders will always face challenges in their task of leadership. Sooner or later someone will either join or arise from among those they lead that will challenge the leader’s confidence. This may come by way of knowledge known by the one who challenges them. As a senior pastor, they will come to you and try to convince you that their understanding of the Scripture is more accurate. They usually begin by praising you in some way and then they challenge you with the word ‘but’. “This is great, ‘but’ in the Greek this is what is really meant. You need to lead in this way. You should think about this. What you should have said was…” If a leader doesn’t stand in confidence during these times it can affect their thought process. It can cause them to react, rather than stand in confidence with the God-given direction they have already received. If a leader shrinks back from exercising the authority God has given them it can affect the entire congregation in some way. This was true for the sons of Korah. Their challenge to God’s authority was that they too could hear God (Num. 16:1-35). Jude writes that this is one thing that causes spots and blemishes in a congregation. Because of this they speak evil of the authorities sent to them by God.
Jude 10-13 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
Someone always has the authority to make the necessary decisions and others will sometimes challenge them in those decisions. A leader must stand in confidence before God and before those they lead. Sometimes, like Cain, men or women will rise up against them because of their own jealousies and insecurities. Sometimes a leader will have to stand strong in the face of those who seek to manipulate others for their own personal gain, as was the case with Balaam. A leader must also be confident with his or her God-given direction in the face of others who also hear God. Leaders lead to places that are beyond the present circumstances or knowledge of those they lead. In doing this people will sometimes use what they know to be naturally true or they perceive to be naturally true as a weapon of opposition to the confidence of leadership and the direction being given by God. A leader must lead and to do that effectively, a leader must be confident in their leadership role.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson