Weekly Thought – October 9, 2018
Fred’s support of the local church, Christian ministries, and particularly spiritual leaders began early in his life as the son of a Southern Baptist pastor. He taught his family to provide friendship, guidance, and support to vocational Christians. Serving on numerous national boards, several as chair, gave him an opportunity to use his gifts of wisdom and discernment to further the Kingdom. He was known as one who spoke unvarnished truth. It was always with no personal agenda, but with concern for the welfare of the organization. These words from the late 1980s are absolute on target today.
A Flexibility Born of Faith
As I think about spiritual leadership, I become convinced the key is the Holy Spirit’s energizing and directing the leader’s uniqueness and gifts by giving him or her a vision that creates a passion. I have never known a lazy or confused leader who had a clear sense of passion.
For twenty years I’ve been writing for Christian leaders. I’ve spoken to many groups, large and small. I realize it is a difficult time to be a Christian leader in an almost totally secular society. There is renewed interest in spirituality which is cultish, not Christian.
Faith-based leaders have lost much of the respect hey once had in society. Burnout is common. Depression is almost epidemic. And stress is exploding. Immorality and divorce rates are increasing within the faith community. Short tenure in the pastorate and ministry leadership is too common. More and more preachers and teachers are faced with the demand for entertainment in their message and excitement in their programs.
Could a major part of the problem be that leaders have lost their vital identification with the Lord? Have they become convinced they work for the church rather than for God? Those who feel they work for a church board surrender their authority in spiritual leadership.
I believe there is a flexibility in spiritual leadership that is based on faith in God’s provision and direction. It is a calling, not a career. I have great respect for a prominent minister who privately says, ‘I would be glad to get out of the ministry if God would let me off the hook. In fact, if He doesn’t keep me in, I would be out.” His calling from God wasn’t a business decision – it was an “I can do no other” response to God’s call.
It is possible, even probable, that some in Christian leadership are misplaced. Leaders who are not endowed with gifts energized by the Spirit become easy prey to the human methodology of leadership. This opens them to the temptation of power, prestige, and money.
Those who operate from a gifted calling seem to have a flexibility born of faith. They didn’t manipulate their way into leadership, nor do they play politics to remain there. They have a calling to fulfill, not a profession to pursue. They have a strong feeling of stewardship but little feeling of ownership. Their greatness is in serving; they joy is in Kingdom work.
This week think about: 1) Who do I know in ministry who needs my encouragement? 2) What can I do to stand behind my pastor? 3) How can I strengthen my own vision and passion for the Kingdom?
Words of Wisdom: “Those who feel they work for a church board surrender their authority in spiritual leadership.”
Wisdom from the Word: “You must follow the LORD your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4 NET Bible)