Leaders

Author: Fred Stewart.
Contents current as of December 12, 2011.

It seems to me that it is always fruitful to discuss Christian leadership. I hope many of the readers of this brief article will respond as they agree or disagree with these thoughts and hopefully add insights gained from their personal experience, study, and reflection. Rather than using a bunch of words that start with the same letter, I have chosen to use ten words that rhyme with "lead" as a device to tie this discussion together and to show a limited amount of cleverness.

I am indebted to many for any valuable insights you might gain and I am fully responsible for any errors. I admit to no originality but steal from so many it is hard to remember who to give the credit. I do remember however where this thought process began. It was through the leadership of Chuck Congram and his Difference Makers conferences a decade ago. Thank you, Chuck.

Christian leaders should FEED. The sheep need feeding. Those called to lead them are called to feed them. The problem is only babies and the infirmed should be spoon-fed. The maturing and mature should learn to feed themselves. That frees the shepherds to search for lost sheep and for disciple-making. Showing the sheep where the good pastures can be found is a role of leadership.

Christian leaders should HEED. Before they set a direction to lead and before they set an agenda for the sheep, they should be deep into God's Word and listening to the Spirit's direction. For those who preach, they should be willing to respond to the call of the text before they pass the call along in a message.

Christian leaders should PLEAD. Communications on every level should be calling the faithful to greater commitment, greater response, greater holiness, greater surrender, greater obedience, greater mission. The list of areas where our people need to grow and mature is virtually endless. The status quo is not the end of the race. We all need to be exhorted to greater faithfulness.

Christian leaders should BLEED. It's a matter of relationship and really connecting to the pain and suffering of our people. We should be fully sharing both the joys and the sorrows while always taking time to explore where God is in both.

Christian leaders also NEED. They need encouragement. They need prayer. They need Sabbath. They need affirmation of their gifts and support in the areas they are not gifted.

Christian leaders should READ. The thirst for wisdom from their Bibles and from other leaders should be a mark of all leaders. There is a power to a team or group working through a great book together. Processing great ideas leads to great leadership.

Christian leaders should SPEED. Okay, this might be a bit of a stretch. I don't mean reckless or careless speeding. I mean moving with urgency. Leaders can't be stopped with fear. They need to act in faith. No matter how tempting doing nothing sometimes can be, leaders are called to action.

Christian leaders should SEED. Planting seeds that others may harvest is one of the Kingdom's principles. Investing in future leaders is one of the most important responsibilities of any leader. Making disciples requires great sacrifice and patience. It also is a source of wonderful joy.

Christian leaders should BREED. While somewhat similar to seeding, breeding is the intentional actions required to activate organic growth – passing along leadership DNA to leaders-on-the-way, granting authority equal to the responsibility we want others to take on. Risking that potential leaders might do it a different way or even may fail a few times is a necessary part of bringing new leaders to maturity.

Christian leaders should WEED. It is true that good leaders should insure that only good projects and ministries are receiving investments of time, energy and resources. That is a huge challenge in many churches as "the way we have always done it" receives way too much support as opposed to "the way we are called to move forward". But an even tougher and more important idea is weeding out "good" things to make space for "great" ones. It is an attribute of the most effective leaders that they can "see" a preferred future and focus on the key steps to make it become a reality.

And so, Christian leaders should LEAD. Romans 12:8 is a call to those who are gifted as leaders to exercise the gift. We don't do it because it is easy or because it gains us power or popularity. We do it because it is the call placed on us with the gift provided. The Kingdom is too important to not give it our best.

Fred Stewart
Executive Director of the Renewal Fellowship

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