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Two Posts on Leadership

Posted by on Dec 8, 2010 in blog links, community, discipleship, service | 20 comments

Two Posts on Leadership

Recently, I’ve read two very good posts on leadership among the church:

Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” wrote a post called “‘Leader’ or ‘Leaders’.” In the post, Eric recalls a conversation with another believer about leadership. Eric determined that while they were both talking about “leadership,” they were actually talking about completely different things:

After a few minutes, I realized that we were saying two very different things. While my friend repeatedly used the term “leader,” I kept saying “leaders.” This may at first seem like a small difference, but in reality it is a large one.

I know that my friend believes in strong pastoral leadership. In particular, the “senior pastor” must lead the church as it strives to follow Christ. Therefore, when he says “leader,” he is referring to the senior pastor. I, on the other hand, was saying “leaders” because I was envisioning people within the church (both elders and non-elders) who lead through servanthood and holiness of living. They lead by example.

Scot from “Jesus Creed” wrote another post about leadership called “A Leadership Rant” for “Slant33.” The author (like me) does not like leadership books. Why? He says most of them begin with cultural forms of leadership and then justify it from Scripture. What type of “leadership” does Scot prefer? He explains:

So I want to put my idea on the line and see where it leads us. We have one leader, and his name is Jesus… Instead of seeing myself as a leader, I see myself as a follower. Instead of plotting how to lead, I plot how to follow Jesus with others. Instead of seeing myself at the helm of some boat—and mine is small compared to many others—I see myself in the boat, with Jesus at the helm.

These views of leadership are certainly different than what we usually see in today’s culture or even in today’s church.

What do you think?


20 Comments

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  1. 12-8-2010

    But, though I agree whole-heartedly with Scot in what he says @ Slant 33, I find a high degree of cognitive dissonance in that he attends Willow Creek – one of the prime proponents of the CEO style of church leader. (I’m about to blog about disciples vs leaders, today.)

  2. 12-8-2010

    Alan

    Hmmm? Leadership? A favorite topic. Oy Vey!!! :-(
    Liked Scotts take – only he doesn’t go far enough for me.

    Have you considered the ant?

    An ant is small and insignificant. Or is it?

    Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
    Which having NO
    **guide,**
    **overseer,** or
    **ruler,**
    Provideth her meat in the summer,
    and gathereth her food in the harvest.
    Proverbs 6:6-9

    Guide – 07101 qatsiyn from 07096
    KJV – ruler 4, prince 4, captain 3, guide 1
    1- chief, commander, dictator.
    2- ruler (of one in authority)

    Overseer – 07860 shoter {sho-tare’}
    KJV – officers 23, ruler 1, overseer 1; 25
    1- official, officer.

    Ruler – 04910 mashal {maw-shal’}
    KJV – rule 38, ruler 19, reign 8,
    dominion 7, governor 4, 81
    1-to rule, have dominion, reign
    2- to exercise dominion.

    Seems Jesus has a unique take on “Leadership” for **His Body.** “ONE”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  3. 12-8-2010

    Both quotes seem right on. One thing I would add: in reacting to the traditional model where one leader is head and shoulders above the rest of the flock, it is important not to let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction by rejecting leadership completely in the church. Leadership by godly individuals is by all means important and biblical. I agree that Jesus is The Leader, but we are also told in Scripture that he has given some the gift of leadership. This, I think, is where Eric’s statement is important since he is willing to recognize: (1) that there are definitely those who exercise leadership in the body, (2) that they need not be “professional” (anyone can lead) (3)that one leads primarily through example and lifestyle.

    It would be a mistake to throw out the whole concept of leadership simply because it has been so abused in our day. Or, to borrow the language of Scott from the The Jesus Creed, Jesus is by all means at the helm of the ship, but that does not exclude the fact that there are a host of crew members functioning with various amounts leadership responsibilities in different parts of the boat–a head cook, a first mate, a lead-janitor. One might even say that the most effective leaders are those who can delegate responsibilities–including the task of leading–to those under them.

    It seems that what the church needs is, not a rejection of leadership (which I’m sure you agree with), but a reexamination of the whole concept of leadership, one that is grounded in Scripture, not in tradition.

  4. 12-8-2010

    Bill,

    That’s a good question. Did you ask Scot?

    A. Amos Love,

    Yes, a favorite topic indeed. Keep pushing Jesus’ view of leadership, and I’ll do the same.

    Andy,

    I know that some bristle at the term leadership because of the way that it has been defined by modern church culture. I’m fine with using the term (Scripture uses it in a positive sense relating to the church), as long as we recognize how Jesus defined it: leadership = service.

    -Alan

  5. 12-8-2010

    I did via a blog post.

  6. 12-9-2010

    Leadership in the world has the authority to enforce it’s will (they don’t “bear the sword in vain,” Rom 13:3-5). Jesus also said so, Luke 22:25. Studying worldly leadership is a good thing for those who rule in the world (politicians, business people, teachers, etc.)

    In fact, the findings of those who carefully study what makes for effective leadership in the world provide sometimes startling insights–oftentimes approaching biblical Church style leadership as highly effective even in the world. But, in the world, most often power sits quietly behind worldly leadership that serves and gives example to reinforce it.

    Leadership among the saints, Jesus said, would be very different (“not so”) from leadership in the world. (Luke 22:26-27)

  7. 12-9-2010

    Andy

    You write…
    “we are also told in Scripture that he has given some **the gift of leadership.**

    Was wondering…

    In the Bible – Can you name anyone recorded who had **the gift of leadership?**
    And how “the gift of leadership” operated or was manifest in “the Body of Christ?”

    Can you name anyone who has **the gift of leadership** “Today” in the Body of Christ?”

    And is “the gift of leadership” just a gift? Or are there qualifications for ”Leadership?”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  8. 12-9-2010

    Art

    Much agreement when you say…
    “Leadership among the saints, Jesus said, would be very different (“not so”)
    from leadership in the world.”

    Jesus has a different take then Today’s Clergy on “Leadership” for **His Body.** “ONE”

    Some how “The Special Clergy Class,” “Pastor/Reverends,” think they’re our “Leaders.”

    Jesus, in Mat 23:10 KJV, taught “His Disciples” NOT even to be called “Master/Leader”
    For you have “ONE” “Master/Leader” The Christ.

    King James Version –
    Neither be ye called masters: for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible –
    Nor be called leaders, for “ONE” is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English –
    you must not let people call you leaders, you have only “ONE” leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version –
    nor should you be called leader. your “ONE” and only leader is the Messiah.

    The Amplified-
    you must not be called masters (leaders) for you have “ONE” master (leader) the Christ.

    Jesus told His disciples not to be called “leaders” and none did.

    Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ…
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus,the servants of Jesus Christ…
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ…
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God…
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God…
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant…

    His disciples “all” called themselves “servants,”
    None called themselves “leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “servant-leader.” None.

    Isn’t “Servant-hood” inclusive? — Everyone can be a “Servant of Christ.”
    Isn’t “Leadership” exclusive? — Only available to “A special few.”

    If Jesus instructed “His Disciples” NOT to call themselves “leaders”
    and someone calls them self a “leader” – or thinks they are a “leader;”

    Are they a “Disciple of Christ?” ;-)

    Jesus loves me this I know

  9. 12-9-2010

    Bill,

    Thanks. (Here’s a link to Bill’s post in response to Scot.)

    Art,

    Thanks for the comment and the post. I agree completely that leadership (leading) must come from service and example, not from position.

    A. Amos Love,

    What about the places in Scripture where people are called “leaders”? (1 Thessalonians 5:12, Hebrews 13:17, and Luke 22:26 for example) And, what about the “gift of leadership” that Andy mentioned from Romans 12:8?

    -Alan

  10. 12-9-2010

    Alan

    Why isn’t what Jesus said important? ;-)

    None of “His Disciples” called themselves “Leaders.” Why not?

    Looking at the scriptures you mentioned. Get back to you soon.

    I’m sure i can find something that agrees with me. ;-)

    Hmmm? 1,000’s and 1,000’s of denominations, ALL started by “Leaders.” :-(

  11. 12-9-2010

    A.Amos Love. Greetings my brother, our paths cross again, I guess it is inevitable when you consider the similar burden for the body that we both share.

    Pardon my rudeness there Alan. This is my first vist here on your blog. I have been following either before you or after you, on various other blogs. I ended up here from a link somewhere. Greetings from the UK. Interesting reading, I really should have visited before.

    I personally think we have a serious problem with the definition of “Leader”.

    There are two principle meanings,

    a) The boss, The ruler, the king, the president. the CEO.

    b) The one who did it first. The one who went before all the others. The winner of a race. A pioneer like Columbus or the Wright brothers, or Edmund Hilary and Tenzing on Everest. Like Henry T Ford or Edison. They are all leaders, and a character of far more value to the church than a boss or CEO might be.

    Whenever we see the word “leader” associated with an organisation we think in terms of the “boss”. Therefore the leader of the church is invariably regarded as the boss and therefore he tells everyone what to do!

    However a closer look at scripture and it’s context reveals something very different.

    Hebrews 13v7. Remember them who have the rule over you…..

    The word “rule” in the greek is hegeomai. According to my Greek NT lexical aid, this has the meaning “to go before or to go first” equally as “to rule over”. In other words it has two meanings just like the English.

    Then when we examine the context, the end of verse7 says.”……..whose faith follow, considering the end of their manner of life.”

    The context is limited to only following those who have proven that walking with Jesus is the right way. It is not about rulership over anyone in the slightest.

    This is further proven when we look at the wider context of Hebrews.

    The whole of chapter 11 is a long list of patriarchs who should lead us by their example. (Hang on there, they are all dead, how can they rule over us? I said LEAD, AS IN EXAMPLE you fool not rule!).

    Chapter 12 then continues the list with Jesus, who led but never ruled over us, (as per earthly interpretation of that word).

    Then we come to Heb13v7, and the meaning of “lead by example” suddenly changes to “rulership”? I don’t think so. The context denies it and so does the whole of Jesus’s ministry.

    Heb13v17Obey them who have the rule over you….
    Obey, again using my Greek NT lexical aid, “obey” in the Greek is “peitho”. To persuade, particularly by kind words or motives. This is a long way from “Obey”.
    Therefore a more fitting translation might be-
    Heb13v17 be persuaded by those who have gone before you……..

    This makes more sense, and is in complete accord with what jesus always reinforced in his teachings.

    A leader in the church should be respected only on the basis of where he has been in his journey in the Lord, not what qualifications he has.
    Has he journeyed anywhere? Or does he just enjoy status and title, while going nowhere, like most so called leaders.

  12. 12-9-2010

    Alan

    You write…
    “What about the places in Scripture where people are called “leaders”? (1 Thessalonians 5:12, Hebrews 13:17, and Luke 22:26 for example) And, what about the “gift of leadership” that Andy mentioned from Romans 12:8?”

    IMO – (God forbid I could be wrong) – The ESV was written by guys with an agenda.
    “Leadership.” “Authority.” “Boss.” “Complimentarianism.” “Reformed.”

    Much apologies – I’m still using my antiquated KJV. And Thayer’s. And Strongs. ;-)

    1 Thessalonians 5:11-12
    Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
    And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you,
    and **are over** you in the Lord, and admonish you;

    Strongs 4291 – proisthmi – from 4253 and 2476;
    KJV – rule 5, maintain 2, be over 1; 8
    1) to set or place before
    1a) to set over
    1b) to be over, to superintend, preside over
    1c) to be a protector or guardian
    1c1) to give aid
    1d) to care for, give attention to
    1d1) profess honest occupations

    The ESV has proisthmi as “leader.” Hmmm?
    From the Dictionary today for leader –
    1 – the person who **leads** or **commands** a group, organization, or country.
    2 – a person followed by others :

    ESV – Some are leaders… Some are followers…
    Some “Lead” “Command” – give an authoritative order – Dominate – Some obey… :-(

    Does Jesus want us to “follow” and “obey” “a mere fallible human?” Blindly?
    NOT anymore – thank you Jesus. :-)

    Seems “proisthmi” has a different flavor then – I’m the leader. I’m the boss. Obey me.
    **superintend – manage someone else’s property. (We belong to Jesus. NOT a “Leader.”)
    **superintendent – caretaker of a building. (Aren’t we The ekklesia, the house of God?)
    “proisthmi” To be a “Protector”“ Guardian”“Give Aid”“To Care For”

    Is that how people understand “Leader” **Today?**
    IMHO – KJV – over me “proisthmi” GOOD – over me “In The Lord” protects and guards,
    gives aid to me, cares for me, and gives attention to me.

    Sounds like a real “proisthmi” is someone I’d enjoy listening to. How about you?

    ESV – Leader BAD – Gives authoritative orders, dominates, I follow and obey a human.

    And we’re to edify one another, v11, brother to brother. NOT leader to follower.

    Jesus told “His Disciples” NOT to be called “leader.” There is “ONE” leader – Christ.
    And we’re ALL Brethren.

    Why isn’t Brethren good enough? Why do some want to be known as “Leader.”
    Why isn’t Jesus as leader good enough? ;-)

  13. 12-9-2010

    ooops – big mistake

    ESV has “are over you” also. NOT “Leader” for “proisthmi”

    My apologies.

    Why do folks think “are over you” means “Leader?

  14. 12-9-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    I wasn’t using the ESV translation. I was using the Greek text. As you pointed out, proistimi points to one who leads. The verb igeomai also points to one who leads.

    I agree completely that the way we see many “leading” in the church today is not what Scripture calls “leading.” But, that doesn’t mean that “leading” itself is bad.

    I also agree that we should not ask others to call us leaders. But, there are leaders. And, those who lead in the scriptural sense, do so through serving others and living as an example for others.

    -Alan

  15. 12-9-2010

    Alan – The ESV comes up automatically on your site.

    And, That’s not fair you read Greek. ;-) I’m jealous – with a godly jealousy, of course.

    And from the study books I use it doesn’t mention “proisthmi” as leader. Oy Vey!!

    God could have made it a little easier for us.

    Romans 12:6-8, in The ESV – Does have proisthmi as “one who leads.” And I assumed…

    6* Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,
    whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
    7* Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
    8* Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity;
    **he that ruleth,** with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

    I kinda like the NKJAV. “The New King James Amos Version” on this one.

    “He that Ruleth,” or “One who leads” could read…

    He “In The Lord” who is protecting and guarding God’s sheep,
    giveing aid, careing for, and giveing attention to God’s ekklesia,
    does this with diligence.

    Sounds like a real “proisthmi” is someone I’d enjoy listening to. How about you?

  16. 12-9-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    Yes, when I put the links to Scripture, I have to pick a version, so I picked the ESV.

    I like what you said: “protecting and guarding God’s sheep,
    giveing aid, careing for, and giveing attention to God’s ekklesia,does this with diligence.” This is certainly what we see “leaders” doing in Scripture, although all of that is not contained in the meaning of either the Greek verb proistimi or the verb igeomai.

    And, by the way, I listen to and follow many such leaders. :)

    -Alan

  17. 12-9-2010

    Alan – You are most blessed to have folks like that in your life.

    I’ve been in “Leadership.” Even recognized as a “leader.” :-(
    Read books about “Leadership.” There are lot’s of them. ;-)
    Didn’t do so good. Came between people and their God.
    They looked to man and NOT to God. It made me feel good that people came to me.
    BUT… Power, prestige, and honor, comes at a high price. Hard to walk away from…

    John 5:41-44
    Jesus said – I receive NOT honor from man…
    How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another,
    and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

    Were we, in “Leadership,” receiving honour from man? Honour from one another?
    We did do it very humbly. At least we “Acted” humble. Oy Vey!!! :-(
    But, we did like being honored, special seating, special parking, being known.

    Pro 29:5
    A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

    Today when someone is told they are “Leadership” material – my advice – run, run fast.
    The Trap, The Snare, has been set. What will that flattery do to a man? Hmmm?
    Not many of us know the hidden motives of our heart. Our ambitions. Our insecurities.
    God does, but he’s not telling. ;-)

    Why would someone want to be known? As a “leader?”
    You see it all over “Christian-dumb” Today. Self marketing to promote God’s kingdom?
    Or for – Power – Profit – Prestige – Honor – Reputation – Recognition? Mercy Lord.

    Jesus humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    and took on the form of a “servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    As God – Jesus was already King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
    As man – Jesus even turned down the request to be king – “leader of the people.”

    John 6:15
    When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force,
    to **make him a king,** he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

    Thayer’s has king as – leader of the people, commander. And Jesus refused.

    1 Samuel 8 – The people wanted a king – a leader – to be like the other people.
    They did NOT want God to rule over them. And they paid a price. Yes?

    I now refuse, as best I can, ALL honor from man, to walk in agreement with God.

    Amos 3:3
    Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

    If people want a “Leader” I point them to Jesus. He’s the best “Leader.” Yes?
    And warn them about “Leaders.” And being in “Leadership.” **It’s a trap – Run ** :-)
    As you already know not many listen. The “leaders” and the “led” pay a price. :-(

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Leader ;-)

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  18. 12-9-2010

    A.Amos Love. Greetings my brother, our paths cross again, I guess it is inevitable when you consider the similar burden for the body that we both share.

    Pardon my rudeness there Alan. This is my first vist here on your blog. I have been following either before you or after you, on various other blogs. I ended up here from a link somewhere. Greetings from the UK. Interesting reading, I really should have visited before.

    I personally think we have a serious problem with the definition of “Leader”.

    There are two principle meanings,

    a) The boss, The ruler, the king, the president. the CEO.

    b) The one who did it first. The one who went before all the others. The winner of a race. A pioneer like Columbus or the Wright brothers, or Edmund Hilary and Tenzing on Everest. Like Henry T Ford or Edison. They are all leaders, and a character of far more value to the church than a boss or CEO might be.

    Whenever we see the word “leader” associated with an organisation we think in terms of the “boss”. Therefore the leader of the church is invariably regarded as the boss and therefore he tells everyone what to do!

    However a closer look at scripture and it’s context reveals something very different.

    Hebrews 13v7. Remember them who have the rule over you…..

    The word “rule” in the greek is hegeomai. According to my Greek NT lexical aid, this has the meaning “to go before or to go first” equally as “to rule over”. In other words it has two meanings just like the English.

    Then when we examine the context, the end of verse7 says.”……..whose faith follow, considering the end of their manner of life.”

    The context is limited to only following those who have proven that walking with Jesus is the right way. It is not about rulership over anyone in the slightest.

    This is further proven when we look at the wider context of Hebrews.

    The whole of chapter 11 is a long list of patriarchs who should lead us by their example. (Hang on there, they are all dead, how can they rule over us? I said LEAD, AS IN EXAMPLE you fool not rule!).

    Chapter 12 then continues the list with Jesus, who led but never ruled over us, (as per earthly interpretation of that word).

    Then we come to Heb13v7, and the meaning of “lead by example” suddenly changes to “rulership”? I don’t think so. The context denies it and so does the whole of Jesus’s ministry.

    Heb13v17Obey them who have the rule over you….
    Obey, again using my Greek NT lexical aid, “obey” in the Greek is “peitho”. To persuade, particularly by kind words or motives. This is a long way from “Obey”.
    Therefore a more fitting translation might be-
    Heb13v17 be persuaded by those who have gone before you……..

    This makes more sense, and is in complete accord with what jesus always reinforced in his teachings.

    A leader in the church should be respected only on the basis of where he has been in his journey in the Lord, not what qualifications he has.
    Has he journeyed anywhere? Or does he just enjoy status and title, while going nowhere, like most so called leaders.

  19. 12-10-2010

    Frank

    Nice to hear from you again.

    I do like it when you sign in as ; privateer francis drake

    Be blessed and be a blessing…

  20. 12-10-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    Yes, we are blessed and we thank God for the people that he has brought into our lives.

    Frank,

    Welcome to my blog! Yes, I’ve seen you around here and there too. I didn’t think you were rude at all.

    -Alan