MORE ON LEADERSHIP (3)
The ideas we have shared in the last two articles stress how much God wants good, qualified, leaders to lead the flock of God on to their heavenly home. I hope we have stressed that the leaders will be held to a higher standard than others, because the decisions made can mean the difference in eternity for the followers of those that lead the flock. It is for this reason that God has given specific requirements concerning those who serve as elders and deacons.
We cannot put leaders on a pedestal and laud and praise them. A leader in God’s church must be one that gives God the glory and praise. Good elders will follow the Chief Shepherd always. Because we are humans, we will not agree with every decision elders or leaders make, but we should still honor those who are serving, realizing that they, too, can make mistakes and even sin.
Consider many of the leaders that we read about in the Bible.
We think of men like Abraham (the father of the faithful), Moses (who at first wanted to lead in a revolt against Egypt, but had to spend some time in the wilderness taking care of sheep). Consider the mistakes that Joshua made as he led the people to the land of Canaan, and the wars that had to be fought for Israel to have their land. As we look at the kings of Israel and Judah, most of them were not paragons of virtue. Some were sinful in so many ways that God removed them and allowed others to take their place, who turned out to be no better, but worse than the one before them.
In the New Testament we remember Peter denied he knew the Lord (Luke 22:54-62), yet became the first apostle to preach Jesus on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2). Jesus forgave him (John 21:7-19). What if he had felt so defeated that he decided he couldn’t serve the Lord? Further, what if the other apostles continually brought up his denial to the point that they rebuked Peter. Did they not deny the Lord by leaving when Jesus was nailed to the cross?
Leaders face a real threat of allowing authority to go to their head and thinking that the church cannot make it without them. Let me remind us all that God’s church has been around for centuries, and done well (and badly) without us. We remember that it is God’s church, and it is the church for which Jesus shed his blood. Beloved, we should never belittle it, but we should put God and HIS KINGDOM (the church) first in our lives.
Those who lead should do so considering the impact they will have on the flock, and they should be acutely aware of the fact that a mistake or sin on the leaders part may very well cause the loss of sheep to the world.
When a leader sins, he should repent, ask forgiveness, and strive to do better. As a leader he needs to make clear that he has sinned, and encourage the church NOT to follow in his steps. And the church, when a man confesses, should be willing to forgive and encourage the leader to do better. At the same time, we must all realize that sin in a leader must be dealt with as with any other member in the church (Matthew 18:15-18).
When he sins, it will cause some (who think leaders should be perfect) to lose their faith. Beloved, OUR FAITH MUST ALWAYS BE IN GOD, NOT IN MAN. Men will let us down. Men will sin. But we cannot have so much faith in man that we allow men’s foibles and sins to keep us from serving the Lord.
Pray for us as we continue to look for qualified men to lead GOD’S CHURCH to heaven.