The dangers, pitfalls and powerful reality of Christian leadership
Leadership is a key to success in almost every part of life. When it is done well, those being led not only engage, but they have a tangible opportunity to grow and even be transformed. When done poorly, those who should be led can become apathetic, lazy and directionless. Now, we need to be careful to not confuse one who truly leads with a manager (one who simply keeps the wheels turning) or with a motivational speaker (one who excites thought but rarely incites action). Real leadership is a hybrid of these things and so much more. When it comes to spiritual leaders, the stakes are much higher, and unfortunately the results are often very disappointing. The Bible clearly teaches us what spiritual leadership is supposed to look like – and what is teaches may be shocking to most of us!
Biblical leadership right from the start is likened to being a shepherd. As a matter of fact, God is identified as the shepherd of Israel who led them by the hand of Moses and Aaron. When you think about it, this is a phenomenal example of what the highest forms of leadership should look like. A shepherd knows his sheep, is dedicated to observing them, protecting them, nourishing them and helping them grow. A shepherd will put in the extra time, go the extra mile and put himself on the line for his sheep. There are great lessons here for any existing or aspiring leader.
Many Christian leaders of our day fall woefully short of this example. Too often we hear of spiritual leaders who misuse the privilege through arrogance or selfishness. Then there are those tragic stories of abuse within churches by the leaders themselves or being covered up by the leaders. On top of this many of us are completely unaware of what God’s design for Christian leadership is supposed to look like. This design is in the Bible but is rarely followed! Leadership can really be a mess!
So, how do you “do” leadership? In our complex and demanding world, how do you gain trust, foster teamwork, inspire towards greatness and execute necessary evaluation all at the same time? One of the key elements to all of this is implementing sound leadership practices. Here’s the thing – leadership practices are not simply steps of development – they are habits of thinking and action that need to be adopted and engaged in on a regular basis. One of the six powerful practices is that of “embodiment.” This practice clearly defines the leader’s responsibility to be the best template of the organization’s mission, attitude and work ethic that they are capable of being.
Now look – there are six of these practices. True inspirational leadership, especially within Christianity, needs all six of them. Check out our September 17, 2018 podcast, “Have You Lost Faith in Your Spiritual Leaders?” We break down each of the six practices, compare them with some pointed examples of failed biblical leadership and then apply them within the design God laid out for Christianity.
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