By Matthew Fretwell
Directions: Read through the Summation and Task below and then in your own words, answer each question in at least 100 words.
Biblically speaking, communication is the key to a relationship lead by the Spirit and guided by God. Good Christian-minded leaders need to possess abilities which are opposite of what the world perceives as successful. Let us look at three qualities of a good Christian leader.
l. Christian leaders are servants
The word “servant” is used over three hundred (300) times in the Bible, which should force a reader’s ears to perk up and listen. In Matthew 23:11, Jesus said, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” Some of the greatest examples of servitude are the apostles, who penned the epistles of the New Testament. The apostles utilize a Greek word “doulos” in their opening salutations. This word means bond-servant, or slave. Let’s look at a few of the Apostle’s opening statements:
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ…” Romans 1:1
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” James 1:1
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ…” 2 Peter 1:1
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ…” Jude 1:1
Something repetitious should be resonating in your mind, they all considered themselves servants. Why is that important; well, each of these men were pillars in their communities and respected leaders. They had many people look up to them for guidance. By submitting as a servant, they were communicating to others their ability to listen and their ability to receive instruction from Christ. No one took their leadership for granted, but respected it.
2. Christian leaders are humble.
Arrogance is a turn-off. Those who surrendered their life to Christ, have no need to be self-centered. Most people who are self seeking are insecure. Arrogance is self-centeredness and a form of conceit (some even believe idolatry). We are informed by James, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (4:10, cf. Matt. 18:4; 23:12; Luke 14:11). There is a difference in being confident about your work and being arrogant. A leader with a humble heart is neither passive, nor aggressive, but content. A good Christian leader, who is humble in the Lord, knows that God blesses him/her to make right decisions for those serving under them. The writer of Hebrews states, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” (13:17). Even though this may pertain to pastors, it is wise to think that God has placed you within the leadership role you are in, or He is molding you for that opportunity. Remember then, you may have to give an account for the situation God has placed you in. Stay humble and give God the glory for all things, this applies to those who receive instruction and those who provide it.
3. Christian leaders know how to listen.
Robert McCheyne, the Scottish clergyman stated, “It is not the tempest, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but the still small voice of the Spirit that carries on the glorious work of saving souls.” When Christians fail to listen to the Holy Spirit they are bound to make mistakes. By nature, we will make mistakes and sin, but some mistakes can be avoided, especially in leadership. It is imperative in leadership to have constant communication with the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, as others count on you and are directly affected by your decision-making. The Holy Spirit’s “still small voice” can direct you in making the right choice.
Two quick examples:
The first is the Apostle Paul. Luke informs us in the Book of Acts that as Paul and his companions, “went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, [they were] forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word in Asia” (Acts 16:6). Even though our intentions may be right in our eyes, they may not be God’s intentions. Taking the time to seek God for prayer can eliminate mistakes in leadership.
The second is King Hezekiah. He was king of Judah during the prophet Isaiah’s time. The Lord commanded Isaiah to speak to Hezekiah and tell him that he had to put his house in order, he was coming home (basically God was telling him that his days on earth were over). King Hezekiah was faithful, but cried out to the Lord, so the Lord gave him fifteen more years to live. However, during this time of reprieve, Hezekiah fathered a child named Manasseh, who would become the most evil and wicked king in all of Jerusalem. It would have been better for Hezekiah to have heeded God’s word and go to eternity early. In haste, Hezekiah sought what he thought was best for him, not what God foresaw as disaster (By the way, this account is written in three separate books of the Bible, its message must be important, 2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32; Isaiah 38). Good leaders must not make hasty decisions and cry out to the Lord for what we want, but what He desires for us.
1. Out of the three characteristics, which could you improve upon the most? Why?
2. This exercise has shown us the hearts of leaders and the ways they communicated godly abilities. In your opinion, how can listening properly help make clearer decisions in leadership?