I don’t want that to be true. But it is.
Today’s post was written by a long-time friend who, like me, has had his share of frustrations in ministry.
Lee Fruh (pronounced Free) has the rare gift of taking those frustrations, hurts and downright failures and, not just learning from them, but writing about them in a way that speaks to your heart.
In today’s guest post, he outlines three principles that are so simple we may not feel that that we have to be reminded of them. But we do. And Lee does so with grace and compassion.
There have been some amazing Christian leaders in the Body of Christ over the past few decades. Their words and examples have taught us how to build and administrate organizations. This has been useful information.
I confess though, that about half-way through this era of leadership, my mind went on overload. I am not a natural leader, so when my shelves bowed with books enumerating the 7 and the 10 and the 12 and the 20 principles of leadership, I became overwhelmed.
During that time, I was the pastor of a youth church. We had dozens of young people who needed spiritual leadership. I wanted to be a faithful leader. But I didn’t even know where to begin applying the myriad of principles bouncing around in my brain.
In desperation, I cried out to God: “Please, Father, You know me. I have significant limitations. And yet these young people need to be led. Show me a simple way to do it.” God, being gracious, and willing to work with me despite my frailties, spoke these thoughts into my heart. When He did, the light went on.
With respect and humility, I pass the thoughts on to you. I call them the Three Self-Evident Principles of Christian Leadership. But if you want, you can call them Christian Leadership Principles for Dummies, by a Dummy.
Principle #1: Christian Leaders Lead
This needs to be said because we live in a culture where some leaders feel that it is good leadership to merely gather a crowd around themselves.
Leadership, by definition, takes people somewhere.
The word implies motion, progression. So we as Christian leaders have to ask ourselves where our people are, and where they are supposed to be. This leads us to the next principle…
Principle #2: Christian Leaders Lead People Closer to Christ
Boiled down to its most basic form, this is our task as Christian leaders.
In thirty years of ministry, I have allowed myself to get caught up in doing other good things that are not essentially this.
For instance, I have tried to…
- Build buildings
- Build organizations
- Fix people’s marriages
- Fix people’s finances
- Fix people’s politics
- And much, much more
I wonder if I would have spent more time leading people into an intimate relationship with Christ, would He have taken care of most or all of the above issues by His creative and transforming power?
But maybe the fact that I got off track as a leader was a sign that I had lost focus in my own life.
Which leads me to the final principle…
Principle #3 Christian Leaders Get There First
It is one thing to prove by exegesis that God is good and a relationship with Him will make life everything it was meant to be. It’s another thing to evidence this by my demeanor and actions.
I can quote Paul, Brother Lawrence, Henri Nouwen and Hannah Whitall Smith all day long about the sweetness of God’s presence and the truth of His Word. But nothing persuades like someone who has first-hand experience.
Again, I’m no expert, but it seems to me the most effective leaders don’t point the way. Rather, they say, “Follow me!”
It’s not that spiritual leaders have it all together. On the contrary, we realize that we are at least as messed up as these folks we have been tasked to lead. Thus we are first to plunge under the flow of His awesome grace. Then, with the grateful smile of a redeemed ragamuffin, we can say, “Come on in, the water’s great!”
These thoughts have given me hope that anyone who is called to lead, from the megachurch pastor to the father of the family of three, can lead.
God does not call us to do that for which He does not resource us.
He receives glory when we bear fruit, so He will bless our efforts to lead people closer to Christ. This we can count on, whether we are endued with the aptitude for great leadership, or simply have a heart that desires to be faithful.
So what do you think? Do you have any self-evident Christian leadership principles you would add to this list?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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