I began writing these posts back in the Fall of last year while I was in St. Louis awaiting the birth of our 3rd child. I was invited to lead a small group Bible study with a group of Romanians living in the Metro area. They were studying “Lord give me a heart for You“. As I was preparing to teach, I was motivated to share these principles with my readers. I hope that they have been helpful to many.
At the moment, I am leading a session in Poland and we are also studying this same devotional series based on II Corinthians. God has motivated me to continue developing this theme. The previous articles can be seen here.
God has much to teach us on the subject of leadership and He has chosen His servant, Paul, to teach us these important truths. I would like to turn to II Corinthians 4 and read what God has for us.
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; (II Corinthians 4)
There are three things that I would like to point out from this paragraph.
I. A good leader does not give up when facing difficult challenges.
If anyone were ever tempted to give up on a group of people it was Paul. He had invested so much in the Corinthians, blood, sweat, and tears. He had prayed for them, taught them, and served along with them. He had invested all that he had in them and they had come to the point where they were ready to turn their backs on him and follow a group of people who were bad mouthing Paul. Just imagine his pain. They had already judged him based on assumptions instead of knowing all the facts. They were so easily led astray after he had invested so much in them. Yet, through all of that, he still loved them, prayed for them, thought about them, and did all that he could to serve them and restore their relationship. He did not give up. He was persecuted from without (outside the church), and even worse, he was being persecuted from within. Instead of losing heart and throwing up his hands and quitting, he continued on. He is a great example of a dedicated leader who truly served God’s people. As I evaluate my own life, I constantly ask myself if I am ready to endure to the end for the good of the people or am I quick to give up and move on. If we evaluate the tenure of the average pastor in the USA, 18 months, it is clear that many are not ready to endure all things for the good of the people, to serve them and establish them in faith. Not all pastors who leave, do so because they are not dedicated but many do, once the first signs of opposition appear. I am glad that Paul was ready to endure till the end, even in the face of some serious opposition and persecution. He is a great example for me.
II. A good leader does not sugar coat the truth
Many times, leaders do not share things as they are because they are afraid of offending people. A good leader does not adulterate the Word of God in any way. He teaches the Word of God as is on all subjects. A good leader has a clear conscious before the Lord because he does not try and manipulate people with the Word of God and he does not try to manipulate the Word of God. When it is time to challenge the people, he challenges them. When it is time to encourage the people, he does so. When it is time to appreciate the people, he does so. And finally, when it is time to confront bad attitudes and sin, he does so, for the good of the people, in meekness and love. If I am a leader who only confronts and rebukes then I turn into a dictator. If I am a leader who never confronts or rebukes and only encourages and appreciates then I am like the parent who serves cake to the children for every meal. For a while they love it but soon the bellyaching begins. Paul was a master at confronting, encouraging, challenging, and appreciating. I pray that I can learn to serve the people the way that he did by finding the right balance between rebuking, challenging, appreciating, and encouraging.
III. A good leader does not preach and promote himself, instead, he preaches and promotes the power of God
He knows that he is a servant. He knows that God, through His Word, changed his own life and that he did not have the power to do it himself. Therefore, when he preaches and teaches people, his focus is the Word of God as is, and the power of God through His Word. That is what brings about life transformation. If I can talk you into believing the Gospel, then someone else can come along and talk you out of it. When we present the Truth of the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sin then their conversions are genuine and no one can talk them out of it, even if they are expert orators. I know that God has changed my life and no one else can present a different gospel to me that will lead me astray because I have already experienced the real thing. As a leader, I want the people to experience the same thing and that is why I teach the Word of God as is, so that God can convict and convince them. Once that happens, I know that they are on the right path and it will be difficult for false teachers to lead them astray. As a leader, what do you teach the people? Do you teach them your version or denomination’s version of the Word of God or do you teach the unadulterated version? Do you try to convict and convince people or do you allow the Holy Spirit to do it? Many preaching seminars today, teach more modern psychology than the actual Scriptures and as a result we have a lot of church attenders who have never really experienced the power of God. If you want to be a leader who raises up new leaders (which is exactly what making disciples is) then you must teach the people the Word of God and allow the power of God to work in them. If you want a bunch of followers who depend on you day and night then teach and preach modern psychology. I prefer the previous because I have been called to make disciples of Christ and not my own followers.
I hope that this information has been helpful for you. I would love to hear some feedback. May God bless you as you have a heart dedicated to Him.