Jerry Sumney suggests that there is a tendency in churches and other Christian organisations to envision leadership in ways that conform to the pattern of contemporary leadership models.
Servant leadership. Transformational leadership. The “great man” theory. The leader-member exchange approach. Situational theory.
Take your pick.
And what about the corporate CEO model we see in lots of large (and not so large) churches? Or the sole trader model – the solo pastor/leader who tries to be all and do all … for all.
How do any of these models stack up against God’s idea of leadership?
Especially when Philip McKinney makes the seemingly absurd claim that “love is ultimately God’s greatest form of leadership.”
But if he’s right, then what might the profile of such a leader be, whose model of leadership is love?
Just maybe, it might look a little bit like 1 Corinthians 13 … if we read it, not as the love chapter, but as the leadership chapter.
The leader is patient and kind.
The leader is not jealous or pompous.
The leader is not inflated or rude, does not seek his or her own interests, is not quick-tempered, does not brood over injury, does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
The leader bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The leader never fails.
God has set the bar very high indeed. Because, basically, the call to leadership, for the Christian, is a call to embody the love of God by “living in love as Christ loved us and gave his life for us.”
Thankfully, it is reassuring to know that God makes a way for us.
Firstly, He promises to pour His love into the heart of the leader (Romans 5:5).
Secondly, we increase our capacity for love by our, albeit, imperfect imitation of Jesus. Of course, this is a lifelong process that requires the Christian leader to be utterly reliant on God through His spirit.
Only by daily receiving God’s love and learning to live in love as Christ loved us will our leadership embody the love of God.