Leadership in the Church II

I apologise to those who follow this blog because my health has again not been terribly good during the moth of December 2013. I feel I am starting to get my energy and strength back and I hope to return to a more frequent posting service than of late. May I begin by wishing everyone who reads this a happy and prosperous 2014.

The second area of leadership qualifications we need to look at is the area of reputation of the individual who is to act as a leader. This person must have reputation for being upright and honest. This is more than simply “never been caught with his hand in the cookie jar” but rather a reputation for honest dealing in all aspects of his life. This more a case of being the person others turn to in cases of a moral dilemma for guidance and counsel. It is also a case of a person who practices what he preaches. No room for double-mindedness here. This would be the pastor who resigns his charge rather than officiate at some ceremony he is asked to by his church on the grounds that it is traditional but that he finds contradictory to Christian faith.

This does not necessarily mean that this is someone who has never been found wanting in any area, but someone who keeps short accounts with God and with his fellow men, like the Old Testament King David. It is someone who is honest with himself above all else, because failure in that area of one’s life leads to cognitive dissonance in all sorts of other areas.

It does mean that such a leader will serve his area faithfully to the best of his ability, but that those he serves will never be his master, because he has one Master, Jesus.

It also means that he is aware of the words of James, who tells us that what he does is the outpouring of his faith, the translation from thought to action.

To be called to be a leader in the church is both an honour and a responsibility. Are those of us who are called by our fellow men to take up such positions willing to spend time prayerfully reflecting on whether we are up to the task?

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About UK Fred

A Christian who cares that the church in Britain conforms to societal demands, rather than transforms society. I am particularly concerned with the lack of support for marriage and the acceptance of divorce in the church. I also care that the body politic in Britain seems to be corrupt and in need of a good shake-up.
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4 Responses to Leadership in the Church II

  1. Availeth says:

    First of all, happy new year to you too. I’ve been wondering about you, and I’m glad to see (hear) a peep out of you. I might understand a bit how you feel regarding diminished energy and strength. I’ve thought, in my times, “Is this the ‘new norm’? Is this who I am now– this weakness of body and soul?” and then sometime later to come out of that and find Life is again, and by contrast, solid and clear, even bright — and being sick was like having been in a dream. I try to be patient about not feeling well now. Might be hard to remember your stronger, better self during that dimness, but I hope you can have confidence and hope about restoration. God bless you in that.

  2. Availeth says:

    My now-retired pastor of some 26 years was the kind of leader you describe. He was respected in secular, civic circles as well as in faith communities. A couple of years ago, the church died what seemed to be a natural death when its small and dwindling congregation lost more and more key members to things like job transfers or departure for fellowships offering more in youth ministries, etc. The church was eventually disbanded, although since then, another has come up there, and he attends that as regular member. I’ve wondered if he felt really badly about how it all ended–almost 30 years for him– as if he might have failed, yet he truly was a good leader.

    You wrote it’s “… both an honour and responsibility”, which is certainly true. That sounds positive as well as weighty to me. It made me think of the verse in James, “Let not many of you become teachers because you will incur stricter judgment”. Is that “stricter judgment” from God or from men? The next verse says “We all stumble in many ways”. It seems even the Christians closest to a leader are less forgiving and less tolerant of sin in the life of a minister than of other people. But why a church leader should be considered less likely or less prone to sin than anyone else isn’t obvious to me. At points of failure, they receive not only confrontation but shame. I think Christian leadership looks a bit like being active in the political sphere: people say running for public office can be so rigorous and unpleasant with the scrutiny and attacks a candidate has to go through, that the average person doesn’t even want to try. You also said “called by our fellow men to take up such positions” — and I know you also would say called by God — and, all these things pondered, make me see the rightness and the calling of your last phrase “willing to spend time prayerfully reflecting on whether we are up to the task?”. When I had the two or three lesser positions given to me, I should have been on the floor on my face begging God for helps.

  3. Availeth says:

    eeep! …3 in a row?–only because I forgot or didn’t know how to combine things. Is writing so long of screens or so many words not kosher? Little do you know that actually I’m holding back, it could be so much worse, lol. So…… this here reply is to apologize for writing too much. Am I writing too much? Just delete then and forgive me please — “for in the multitude of dreams and many words there are diverse vanities…” and pray that I fear God. πŸ™‚

  4. ukfred says:

    Hi Availeth

    I am very pleased to hear from you. This is the busiest time of my year at work and I have been putting in long hours to make up for the time when I was unable to do all that i ought to have done because i was not really fit to be at work.

    You are correct that there is much less tolerance for human failings these days, especially when speaking of a Christian leader. I like to think of a Christian leader as being rather like John the Baptist. Scripture tells us “He was not the Christ.” and that he pointed the way to Christ.

    There is one major difference between being a Christian leader and being involved in politics. In politics you claim that your side has a monopoly of good and the other side has a monopoly of evil, but as a Christian you realise that there are people who are not Christian who do good and some who claim to be Christian who do evil. I suppose you have to accept as a Christian that people are three dimensional, and not either good or bad all the way through, except for a few outliers on either side.

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