Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Right Thinking On Christian Leadership (7)

by Rev. James Wong What I learn from the Leadership of Jesus

We recognize that Jesus is a compelling model of good spiritual leadership. As a young man Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). This means Jesus developed his relationship with God the Father as well as with people. The cross reminds us of these two aspects of relationship; the vertical relationship with God and the horizontal relationship with man. These two aspects of relationship is a requirement for spiritual leadership in the church.

1. Growing in the favor of God.
Jesus’ leadership with the Father was characterized by his absolute obedience. He said “… the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. … By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:19, 30 NIV). All that Jesus did was to obey the Father and to please him.

At the bottom of our hearts, are we seeking to be obedient to do God’s will and to please him? When God looks into our hearts, will he find that there is no personal agenda, no seeking for self interest, no longing for the recognition of man and no hidden hunger for a little power? The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart; Seeking to do God’s will and to please him is to grow in the favor of God.

2. Growing in the favor of men.
Christian leadership is not based on position. Position is important but it is the basic entry level of leadership because the only influence we have is that which comes with the title. A person may have control over an organization because he or she has been appointed to a position. In that position that person may be given authority. But real leadership is being the kind of person that others will gladly and confidently follow. People will not follow a positional leader beyond his stated authority. They may or will do what is required of them to do, and beyond that, nothing more.

In the church context, we are encouraging people to work when they are not obligated to do so. Everyone is a member and everyone serves voluntarily. Therefore spiritual leadership must begin with the heart and not with the head. Leadership flourishes in an environment of meaningful relationship and not more regulations. Effective leadership cannot be sustained without building on solid and lasting relationships.

We heard these sayings often: “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” “You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.” “You can love people without leading but you cannot lead people without loving them.” Jesus said: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34 NLT). Love is the foundation of our relationship and relationship is the foundation of Christian leadership. May you grow in the favor of God and Men.

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