A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Thoughts on Theology of Leadership

Posted by ssbg on February 19, 2006

00plu2d.jpg   Jim Plueddemann,


Many people think that the world is divided into two groups – leaders and followers. Strong leaders are thought to be visionaries with powerful personalities and super management skills. They are extraverts who now how to make good decisions and know how to get other people to follow the their vision. Good followers are thought to be people who recognize strong leaders and follow them with enthusiasm.

Older research in leadership shows that among most animal species there is a “pecking order.? The corollary, they say, is that since animals dominate animals, people should dominate people. In the human species leaders get work done through followers. The old philosophy argues that “leaders know the art of inducing compliance.? Leaders are the kings, chiefs, rulers, generals or heads of state. With the “ruler? concept of leadership, a distinction between leaders and followers is crucial. This is a common but dangerous understanding of leadership.

Rethinking Leadership

Secular researchers are beginning to rethink leadership.

“Leadership is an interaction between two or more members of a group that often involves a structuring or restructuring of the situation and the perceptions and expectations of the members. . . It should be clear that with this broad definition, any member of the group can exhibit some amount of leadership. “(Benard M. Bass. Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership 1990, p 20)

Leaders are people who influence people and circumstances. In an important sense every Christian should be a leader. Every Christian has been given spiritual gifts for the sake of influencing the Body! We all have a sacred obligation to take initiative to use our gifts to help change the world.

We are called a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).We often talk of the priesthood of all believers. We also need to talk of the royalty of all believers. We are all queens and kings! The dichotomy between commoners and royalty is not a biblical ideal. The status dichotomy between leaders and followers is unhealthy.

Leadership in the sense of “inducing compliance? is not a spiritual gift. The gift of administration in 1 Corinthisns 12:28 (kybernesis) is an important gift for guiding people, but it is not a gift for controling people. Administrators have been given special abilities by the Holy Spirit to coordinate maximize and encourage the gifts of influence in the rest of the Body. The gift of leading (prostatis) in Romans 12:8 is better translated the gift of giving practical aid to people in need. The doctrine of spiritual gifts undercuts the idea that a few people are born to give orders and the rest are born to obey orders. The doctrine challenges each Christian is to take initiative to use her or his God-given gifts to influence the body.

But human beings tend to either want to control people or to be passive and let others use their gifts. Some people have the tendency to rebel against all external influence and seek to do what is right in our own eyes. The Bible does not allow believers to be dictators, doormats or lone rangers. The Holy Spirit gives some believers the gift of coordinating, maximizing and encouraging the giftedness of others. Often organizations give formal authority to people who evidence the gift of coordinating maximizing and encouraging the gifts for the good of the body. We are called to submit to people who are given formal authority to coordinate and maximize the leadership gifts of others in the body (1 Peter 5:5).

Here are some possible implications for Christian leadership:

1. All Christians are called to take inituative to influence the body, thus in an important sense all Christians are leaders. It is not appropriate for a Christian to merely sit back and wait to be told what to do because he or she is merely a follower.
2. People who have the gifts of helping the body to work together toward a God-given goal need to be respected. The primary quality of for both people who have maximizing leadership gifts and those who have direct ministry leadership gifts is humility (1 Peter 5: 5b).
3. No believer has all the spiritual gifts, so all Christians in most areas of life must also be be influenced by the leadership gifts of others. Thus at times we are all followers as we submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21.)
4. Hierarchical structures might be helpful organizational tools in some cultures to coordinate people and tasks, but organization charts seldom reflect true influence, and they never reflect a person’s significance or insignificance.
5. A primary task of all believers is to fan into flame the leadership gifts of each person ( Timothy 1:6). The idea of superiority or inferiority of Christians is goes against the clear teaching of 1 Corinthians 12.
6. The only ruler in the Body is the Head — Christ alone. The doctrine of the one body and many parts does not specify a gift called the head. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-20.) People were not intended to dominate other people in the church.
7. Planning, leading, organizing, and evaluating need to be functions of the whole Body. Spiritual gifts need to be organized and coordinated by capable administrators. Egalitarian leadership must not promote confusion but community.
8. Everyone is a leader, but people cannot merely “do what is right in their own eyes.? We are all held accountable to the absolute standards of the Word of God. We are commanded to work in a community. We are all leaders in a community of kings and queens, and directly to the King of Kings.

If you are tempted to be an autocratic leader, you need to be reminded that you are coordinators of the leadership abilities of the Body, and all have a direct connection with the Head, Jesus Christ. On the other hand, are you fearful of taking initiative? Then you need to be reminded that the Lord calls you to take initiative and be a visionary, dynamic coordinator of the gifts of the Body.

“The body is a unit,
though it is made up of many parts;
and though all its parts are many, they form one body. . .
Now you are the body of Christ,
and each one of you is a part of it.?

1 Corinthians 12: 12, 27           00plud.jpg click on thumbnail

posted by Missionary Observer;


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