[leaders]

[leaders]

Yesterday I’ve asked a question… Do we need leaders at the Church?

Didn’t get a lot of answers, but I can take a guess what your answer might be.

“Yes, of course!”

Usually, I think so too, but something a wise man named Gustavo Crocker said last week at the conference made me wonder.

“We rely too much on leaders to guide us.”

Serving on Church board for a few years, I have seen a lot. A lot of good things and some not so good. My youth pastor once said that the Church is like a hospital – there are many hurting people there, yet they come for healing. And Jesus came to heal those who are hurting, not simply to visit those who are well.

One of the things that got us into nowhere most of the time was leadership.

Once and again, I watched as people argued about the fact who should be a leader. It’s not that they wanted to be leaders themselves – it wasn’t a fight for “Everyone will do as I say.” No… It was more of “You’re the pastor, you should do this and this and this, and don’t forget to pastor this Church and teach us.”

A pastor is not a CEO of the Church. More than once, this false assumption has led to disasters. A friend of mine, David Hayes, even wrote  a book on this topic – I highly recommend it, too – it’s called Runaway Pastor. (While this book mainly talks about a pastor’s life, I think everyone who has read it found himself / herself in one of the characters…)

These are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-12, NLT

Notice that all those are separate gifts. Paul did not say, “And the pastor should be a teacher, a prophet, an evangelist, and whatever else.” I do not mean by this that those gifts cannot be combined – but most of the time, there is enough work for each one of those callings.

My second point is closer to the question I have asked in the very beginning.

We need those who will teach pastor and us in Church.

But do we need LEADERS as in leaders?

We have grown so accustomed to the fact that there is always division into “leaders” and “mere mortals.” Those who “serve” and those who “simply come.” We have taken the “Shepherd” and the “sheep” analogy a bit too far – we’ve become sheep who eat grass and don’t do anything else.

We’ve got so used to relying on “leaders” that we don’t really see where we fit in anymore.

“Well, I am not a pastor, how can I share about Christ with my colleagues?”

It is a scary thought that we all ought to be leaders. It requires us to actually conform our lives to His design and will – otherwise we won’t be able to lead others in His steps. But when you get over the initial shock, it actually can be quite freeing.

What do you think?

  • Mary

    Following leaders and relying on them slavishly is a problem in all fields of life – politics, religion, you name it. It is a major block to any sort of real maturity. In my experience the people who can think for themselves about anything are in the minority. There is a place for leadership, of course. For example, parents need to responsibly guide their children. I am not a church goer, but I can understand your concern. I like your openness and ability to think for yourself. We need more of this in all aspects of life. If we look at the teachings of Jesus He is addressing the individual first. Each person must make the the decision and follow the teaching in her own life. No one can do this for us although a loving community of people can be a great support as we make the journey.

    • You’re right, Mary – this temptation to let others rule (and we’ll simply complain when something goes against our will) is strong everywhere. No one really wants to be a president, but we all would gladly complain about his / her rule (guilty as charged here, I complain all the time…)

      Right – my point was not to say that there should be no leadership at all – but simply that we need to stop appointing “leaders” and not doing any work ourselves.

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