Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Big 7 for Christian Leaders (7)

First, love, second, prayer and then, only then, comes humble leadership. Christian leadership is unique. Yes, it shares qualities with other kinds of leadership - such as clarity of vision, ability to inspire, and courage to stand firm. But, rather than these qualities residing in personal status and natural gifting, which so easily pump up pride of position with arrogance, for Christians these qualities depend utterly on God's love and will, responded to and discerned. They depend on humility, on meekness. In Scripture, meekness requires strong personalities submitted to Christ, that are always sensitive to God (Matthew 5:5). It requires love and prayer!

So Christian leaders need first, to be people who love God and others. Love should be evident in all their words and deeds. Even the toughest decisions (and there will be many) will be made and communicated in God's love. (How obvious this ought to be, and yet how often missing!) And they need to be people of prayer who discern what God wills and listen with the heart. Then there will be leadership sui generis. Uniquely humble and effective, meek yet bold, listening yet leading, sensitive yet decisive.

At Christmas we remark again on the curious way in which the world's greatest leader, Jesus Christ, breaks all assumptions about leadership. His humble beginnings underline the absence of personal status, and his ministry is empty of pride of position and arrogance. Yet, we call him LORD. Of course we do - he reveals God's Way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For my grandfather's generation, there was no higher compliment one could give than calling another "humble." Somewhere along the way, we lost the sense of humility as virtue. For example, Winston Churchill once said of a political opponent that he was a "humble man with much to be humble about." Humility has become a liability in our culture. In Christian circles, the most humble people I have encountered are those genuinely interested in serving. What do you think - is a good leader, at least in part, a good servant? Certainly Christ modeled humble servanthood. I would think it hard to be a good servant and not be humble or, put another way, to be a good servant without love. It seems to me that there is a causal link leading from love to submission to servanthood to humility, or from love to submission to humility to servanthood. In either event (and the sequence may be important), I agree wholeheartedly that humility is the natural outgrowth of a Christian leader (or, for that matter, any Christian) submitting to Christ in love and living in accordance with His will.