Is the Church what we think it is?
How should leaders act?
Let’s think this through. In terms of our Christian ‘organisation’, whether it is a church, a ministry or whether it just considers itself a business:
- Are we honouring God? Do we have clear mission aims that benefit the Kingdom and do the leaders work primarily to meet these aims?
- Do we reflect Jesus? Are the leaders true servants in the model of Jesus (Matthew 20:20-28)? Are all personnel good witnesses to Jesus in our dealings with each other and the outside World?
- Are we engaged with the Holy Spirit? Are we reading God’s Word and acting on it accordingly, through the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Do the structures of the organisation allow for the freedom for the Holy Spirit to act? How many decisions are initiated by answered prayer or, worryingly common, by unanswered prayer – man taking the initiative prompted by God’s “silence”?
- Do we feel the immense privilege of working in a God-focused organisation? Do we feel His presence there and feel proud to declare this to the world?
- Is everyone in the organisation working according to their God-given gifts? Is there a sense of the Body of Christ operating at the heart of everything? Are there initiatives to help staff discover what their gifts are and deploy them accordingly?
Is this an unattainable ideal, or a plan to work towards? No Christian organisation should be immune or hardened to change. It is all down to leadership. Let us now revisit our five rules and focus on those who are in leadership.
- Do they honour God? Should we not apply the rules we use in Timothy and Titus for all in Christian leadership? Aren’t ministry leaders today’s equivalents of elders and deacons? Remember, apart from Stephen’s ‘widows and orphans’ enterprise, there were no parachurch ministries in the Book of Acts, so how far do we adapt to changing times?
- Do they reflect Jesus? Are they godly people in the way they deal with people, whether employees or outsiders? Does their personality and demeanour change at the door to the office building? Do they act according to the ways of the World or the Way of the Lord?
- Are they engaged with the Holy Spirit? Are they ‘praying people?’ Do they encourage a prayerful and worshipful atmosphere? Do they feed from God’s Word and allow it to inform their actions?
- Do they seek God? Are their major decisions a result of prayer or ‘accepted business practices’? Are they open to correction?
- Do they recognise the gifts of others? How hard do they work to provide a good fit for their employees? Are they open to redeploying people if circumstances change?
If this were always the case then this article wouldn’t be needed, but 30 years of working with a whole variety of ministries and their leadership has shown me otherwise. As the World seeps through the gaps into the Church, then so do the methodologies and language of secular leadership. It is typified by this quote from Jesus:
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.” (Luke 22:25)
We are not to lord it over them, yet many Christian leaders do. As the medieval Kings of England, they think there is some kind of divine right hanging over them, where they are God’s representatives on Earth, called to do His work, regardless of the broken souls left by the roadside, of those who failed to ‘get with the programme’. When a church or ministry deems that its financial survival is more important than the welfare of its employees then there is something very wrong. In the ‘Kingdom of this World’, the needs of the shareholders and owners are paramount; in the Kingdom of God there are no such needs, as God will surely supply them if He so wishes. Our leaders are not to be ‘Benefactors’ but rather earthly custodians of a Godly vision, doing their best to fulfil the mandate given to them by God.
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp