The Church Afraid of Leadership

Leadership and the Bible

The more I write about leadership and the church the more my critics say I shouldn’t.

You knew I have critics, right?

I get push back for focusing so much on leadership on this blog. It’s like I’m being blasphemous. Like pastor and leader shouldn’t go together. Like I should discount the years of leadership experience and schooling God has blessed me with — and guided my life into — and just focus on being a pastor. Because, again, some don’t think the two can coexist. Good pastors can’t be good leaders. Right?

Those critics say Jesus is the church’s leader.

Well, I agree. Completely.

They say no one can claim expertise as a leader.

I agree again. (especially in the context of me).

Some even say we are never called to be leaders in the Bible. That servants, not leaders is the model.

Now, I disagree.

Not that we aren’t to be servants. We are. But, I disagree that leadership is not a Bible concept. It’s throughout the Bible.

If one wants to make the case that leadership isn’t defined well in the Bible, I can agree. I have an advanced degree in leadership. And, it wasn’t clearly defined there. We are still trying to adequately define it today — inside and outside the church. John Maxwell says leadership is influence. I agree, but other leadership experts have broader definitions. I’m not looking to the Bible to give me a definition either.

But, we find leadership throughout the Scriptures. You can’t miss it. However you define it.

From the creation of man, God gave Adam tremendous responsibility. God seemed to delegate leading the Garden to Adam. He couldn’t have “messed it up” had he not had some authority to make decisions.

The Holy Spirit of God does the real work of the church. No argument from me on that, but God enabled men and women to lead.

Moses was a leader…

David was a leader…

Ruth was a leader…

Joseph was a leader…

Gideon was a leader…

Nehemiah was a leader…

Phoebe was a leader…

Paul was a leader…

Esther was a leader…

Joshua was a leader…

Men and women God called to lead — sometimes reluctantly at first — humbled themselves before God knowing that without Him they could do nothing. They stepped out where no one else had gone before and guided people to a God-ordained victory. They used their influence to move people to a greater reality than they could have imagined.

That’s leadership — by anyone’s definition.

Jesus’ instructions were to make disciples — not wait on God to make them. Do something. Lead.

Pastor, don’t be afraid to call yourself a leader — or to lead!

And, every time you lead, you’ll find some critics. All leaders do.

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19 thoughts on “The Church Afraid of Leadership

  1. Ron

    In my experience with having been ordained – in “Church Learship.”
    And with the “Title/Position” of *Today’s* pastor/leader/reverend…

    “Titles” become “Idols” ………….. “Idols” of the heart – Ezek14:1-11 KJV
    “Pastors” become “Masters”…….. A big No, No. Mat 23:10 KJV, Mat 6:24 KJV
    “Leaders” become “Deceivers”….. Isa 3:12 KJV, Isa 9:16 KJV, Mat 15:14 KJV

    “Church Leaders” become “Deception Breeders.” Isa 3:12 KJV, Isa 9:16 KJV

    And NOT one of His Disciples called themself, or had the “Title,” pastor/leader/reverend…
    And NOT one of His Disciples were, Hired or Fired, as a pastor/leader/reverend.

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  2. Ron

    Just something to think about when you write…
    “I’m not looking to **the Bible** to give me a definition either.”
    “Paul was a leader…”

    Because in the Bible – Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders.”
    For you have “ONE” leader – the Christ. Mat 23:10 NASB – And NONE did… 😉

    And Paul never called himself leader – Paul called himself "Servant."

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible.
    Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant.”
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    Mat 23:10-12 TM – The Message.
    And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
    **Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.**
    If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

    Jesus instructed **His Disciples** NOT to be called **Leaders** and NONE did.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

    **His Disciples** all called themselves **Servants.**
    None called themselves “Leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “Servant-Leader.” None.

    If Jesus instructed **His Disciples** NOT to call themselves “leaders?”
    And someone calls them self a “leader?”
    Opposing the teachig of Jesus?

    Are they one of “His Disciples?"

    Why isn’t what Jesus said important? 😉

    And NOT one of His Disciples called themself – pastor, or shepherd.
    Seems His Disciples believed Jesus when He taught His Disciples there is “ONE” Shepherd…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • I totally agree. Preached a whole sermon about that verse recently. Adds to my post. As leaders, as teachers, as preschool workers, as ushers, as door greeters, as custodians — we are all part of the body and we must be servants of all. Thank you.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  3. Paul's attitude of follow me as I follow Christ is a great example of leadership!!

    In regards to the critics saying leadership isn't in scripture, a saying my dad used often comes to mind… "Let it go in one ear, out the other and into the trash can!"

    Scripture is the greatest of leadership books.

  4. Everyone has some leadership capabilities within them because God created us to follow Him which in turn allows others to see Christ reflected in us. When others see Christ in us, the Holy Spirit can lead them to want to follow in our footsteps, intentionally & unintentionally. In essence, we all should be leaders if Christ is in us but the best leaders know that true leadership is best modeled after Jesus Christ who humbly served & gave Himself up for others. A true leader is willing to sacrifice it all for the betterment of their family, their employees, their company, their co-workers, their teammates, for everyone. A real leader doesn't want the glory, he gives it to others! Some people are given more opportunities to lead than others. The question becomes, not how much opportunity we've been given but what are we doing with those leadership opportunities Christ has given to each of us. May we all continue to lead by following the ways of Jesus! Great article Ron & thanks for your Christlike leadership!

  5. Great comments Ron. I would also admonish pastors to not be afraid of leadership abilities that exist in the congregation. Instead, utilize that leadership to accomplish even more than you can do alone.