by Rev. James Wong
How important is a good reputation for Christian leadership? This is what the Bible says about the importance of a good reputation.
1. Reputation matters. Good reputation does not come to us automatically. We need to consciously choose to pursue it. Proverbs 22:1 says: “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold” (NLT). It is more important that we are respected by others than to have great wealth. In fact, when we have a good reputation others would like to give us their businesses. Solomon said “a good reputation is more valuable than a costly perfume” (Eccl 7:1).
In Christian leadership, whether we are poor or rich, matters very little to others but our reputation is a concern to all especially among those who deal with us. Leadership is influence. Without a good reputation people will not listen to us, thus, we lost our influence and we end up being a leader without followers.
2. Building reputation. It takes solid character to build a good reputation. Proverbs 3:3-4 says: “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation”(NLT). “loyalty and kindness” is also translated as “love and faithfulness” in the NIV. Loyalty, kindness, love and faithfulness speak of the way we relate to others and it tells a lot about the kind of person we are. God and people are attracted to such a person.
In the church context, often it is not a matter of right or wrong but the way people are being treated. You can be 100% right in every aspect of the rule and tradition but you are shunned by everyone else due to the way you carry yourself and argue your case. The Pharisees were always right in the point of law but very useless in the point of grace. Relationships, grace, mercy, love, kindness and faithfulness towards each other are the unseen forces that governs the church of Christ. Even church disciplines are based on love not revenge.
3. Good reputation is a requirement for Christian leadership. Leaders “must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap” (1 Tim 3:7 NIV). Bad reputation can get us into the devils camp when we fall into disgrace. Countries choose their best to be their ambassador. We are Christ’s ambassador (2 Cor 5:20). The King of kings and Lord of Lords must be represented by an ambassador worthy of a good reputation. It is a necessity to keep a good reputation when we are in leadership position.