Monday, September 20, 2010

The 4 Cs of Leadership (1)

by Rev. James Wong

Beginning this week I will write a series on Christian Leadership. These are thoughts that I have shared with the BB & GB officers in our recent retreat in Borneo Paradise Resort in KK.

Whether you like it or not, you are a leader in some ways. The question is, whether you are a good leader or a bad one. If you are a parent, you are a leader over your children. If you work as a supervisor or manager, you are a leader over your subordinates. If you serve as a ministry head, you are a leader over your group members. Christian leadership and secular leadership is not the same and there is a clear dichotomy between the two though there are some similarities. Christian leadership is based on Biblical principles. Let us begin with some introductory facts about Christian leadership.

1. Heart Before Hands. Leading from the inside out, deals with the heart first before we deal with performance because Christian leadership begins with the heart whereas leadership in the secular world looks at the ‘hand’ - which is performance and profit most of the time. A manager could be living an immoral life but if he can bring in the profit, secure the deal, he is doing good. His immoral living is his private matter. Whereas this is entirely unacceptable in the church because such character will affect the witness for Christ and such person will be removed from the leadership position without question.

The church’s team of leadership must be made up of people with strong Christian Character. This is the first “C” of leadership” - CHARACTER. Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Over time the real person will surface. The Bible has clear qualifications for church leadership based on the character and faith of the person.

2. Christian leadership is harder than secular leadership. Success in secular leadership is not equivalent to success in Christian leadership. When I was in the secular world I fired people who did not perform to expectation, fair and square. I employed people for results. In the church we cannot use this approach because we are working with serving volunteers who give their time and energy freely. For example we cannot simply fire a ministry head or a committee member because he or she is not delivering the result. We can only encourage the person and provide the necessary training to help the person to rise up to the level we expect. Alternatively, we can choose another person to take over when the election of new leaders comes around. Therefore choosing people to leadership role in the church is a crucial matter. Prayer and careful selection is a decision of paramount importance as reflected in Acts 6:1-6.

3. Encouragement needed for Church leaders. Here are a few important biblical teachings with the way we deal with people in church leadership. Leaders are the pastors, council members, and ministries heads in the local context.

“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb 13:17 NIV)

“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (1 Thess 5:12-14 NIV).

Why the need to encourage members of the church to submit to the leaders’ authority? Why is there a need to make their work a joy and not a burden? Why is there a conscious effort to respect the leaders of the church and hold them not only in regard but in the highest regard in love? Because in the church of Jesus Christ we are dealing with ‘family matters’ not ‘company matters.’ Everyone is a member of Christ’s body, a precious serving volunteer, and without love and respect all ministries cease to exist for long. So, encourage the people who are serving in ministries. Next week I will deal with the first “C” of leadership in more detail. (to be continued next week)

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