I was working on another idea for a blog post today until I read an article about another high-profile pastor allegedly behaving badly—this time in the UK.
So, I thought I’d set aside my original idea and share some thoughts that kind of relate to the article I read.
First of all, if I can be vulgar for a moment, it jacks me off that the kind of behaviour being reported is what the world increasingly thinks of when it comes to Christian leadership.
I’m upset because the people behaving like that, whether high-profile or not, don’t represent the vast majority of Christian leaders I know, associate with, and work with – people who are dedicated to God’s mission in the world and serve with honour and integrity.
They do not abuse their position. And they do not, as Jesus put it, lord it over their people or flaunt their authority (see Matthew 20:25)
Peter Drucker once wrote: “Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”
And according to Jesus, it is the responsibility of those of us with rank, those in leadership positions, to look after, to care for, the people we are called to lead.
Jesus consistently modelled this through the way that he cared for His disciples.
Remember what he told His father while in the Garden of Gethsemane?
“During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” — John 17:12
Jesus then outlined his expectations of those with rank when he told Peter on the beach to “… feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Check out my blog post, Lessons from Dodge the Ram, for thoughts on what that instruction means.
Suffice it to say, Biblical leadership looks like servanthood, like equipping and like shepherding, which ultimately means it looks like Jesus.
Unfortunately, many people still view leadership as a hierarchy in which those with rank expect (even demand) that their status be recognised1Jerry L. Sumney, “New Testament Perspectives on Ministry,” in Lexington Theological Quarterly 37, no. 1–2 (2002): 27-28., even in churches and Christian organisations today.
It’s shameful, actually.
But it raises two important questions…
How do we train current leaders to lead like Jesus?
And how do we develop leaders-in-training to do the same?
I’d love to hear your suggestions. So please, leave your comments below.