“…Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”—Matt. 1:23
I would raise the question if there is such a thing as God being found in every person who claims the call to lead. Searching out the answer, you might be astounded at what the Bible says about the failings of leaders when God left them. Horrible things happened. They lost the presence of God when they stopped walking in His ways. Could this represent some of our leaders today? Let’s find out.
So what do you think it takes to declare a leader a godly man or woman? I can remember when church members would say, “their goes a godly man or woman.” Unfortunately I don’t hear such language anymore to describe men and women of God. Some Christians don’t even consider themselves godly—and certainly we should all be godly to reach a final destination called heaven. Do such leaders exist today? Are you one?
It would be evident that if God entered into the life of every person claiming to be a godly leader, we most certainly would be in the Kingdom of heaven by now. Our churches at the least would be found overflowing with new members, and we would see the fulfillment of the Gospel Commission coming to completion. In fact, the Holy Spirit’s explosive power would be felt in ways never witnessed by human beings. What seems to be wrong?
Alvin Lindgren in his book, Foundations For Purposeful Church Administration, wrote a profound statement. Lindgren said,
“The soundest approach to awakening a congregation to any concrete need is to strengthen the overall spiritual condition of each member.” (p. 73)
If our leaders want to experience real success, personal effort should be made in this neglected area of individual spirituality. A self proclaimed leader can’t say “that spirituality is for everybody else but not for me.” This would be a real contradiction since we are all sinful human beings. So if leaders want to be considered in the “hall of fame” of “godly leaders” they should check out their spirituality and then make sure that it is not filled with mold. Some need to leave the “glass castle” in the sky that is desperately in need of a good window cleaning.
Let me further explain the need for godly men and women from the spirituality of Jesus. Jesus was not a “technocrat”( Technocrats are individuals with technical training and occupations who perceive many important societal problems as being solvable, often while proposing technology-focused solutions.). Our superhero was not just interested in how many people he baptized, so that he could claim the status of a glorious number on a well groomed spread sheet. He didn’t even have a power point presentation at one of the workers meetings when He met with His soul winning team. If we lived in the time of Jesus we would witness a dark colored man scorched by a Palestinian sun, approaching villages as a traveling itinerate preacher heralding the “Good News” that relief has come. “God is now with us.”
People in Jesus’ time saw Him walking with a unique spiritual attitude that captivated their attention. In their presence He demonstrated that people came first by caring more about how many lives He could “change”. The Master entered the scene of salvation as an “interactive leader” who reached the people at their individual personal level. Why! “God was now with them.”
Consider the methodology of Jesus. When people’s lives are changed forever, they most likely will not leave the church. Apostasy that contributes to a diminished membership results from “unchanged lives”. We put them in the oven but they came out under cooked or not done at all.
To illustrate the true meaning of “undone” and “under cooked” I will echo one of my favorite teacher’s words. He would always correct my attitude by responding with this admonishment: “It’s not how many you get, but how many you fixed.” Let’s get the point. Jesus fixed people for life. He fixed their worst problems. He fixed lives filled with demons. The people he fixed most likely went and told people about this man who fixes people. The “fixed” after their experience with the “fixer” went out and “fixed” their families, friends, neighbors and even their enemies when the Holy Spirit filled their lives and thrust them out to testify about a “Great Fixer”. Some of those “fixed” by Jesus testified about His miracle working power, became godly men and women. They were filled with the spirituality of Jesus.
Next, when we speak of being a visionary, we think of someone who captures the future. At the time of Jesus’ death his ministry would have been deemed a failure by our modern standards of success. But the reason why it was not a failure was because His ministry was about building people first. Jesus, in practice, spent much of His time training and developing future leaders. Jesus was a field worker, supervisor, counselor, behavioral psychologist. He worked up to the very point of His death building workers so could build a church to last through out the ages of history.
Have you ever thought about how we lost our cherished dominance in the auto industry? The Japanese put the supervisors on the floor with the workers, and they ministered to workers from the assembly line which led to making better cars. In America, corporate executives ministered from the top of their offices and neglected the workers. Get the point! The church managed to survive throughout the ages of time and will last till the end, because Jesus ministered from the bottom, on the “assembly line”. Look at this statement about Edwards Deming:
“To Ford’s surprise, Deming talked not about quality but about management. He told Ford that management actions were responsible for 85% of all problems in developing better cars.” (See William Edwards Deming) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming)
John C. Maxwell said:
“A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others. Success without a successor is failure. A worker’s main responsibility is doing the work himself. A leader’s main responsibility is developing others to do the work.”
Just look at how Jesus did it: The possessed, the hungry, the lonely, the bereaved, the worst of the sick, the lonely, the cruel, the troubled, the difficult and much more, Jesus met and solved there most intimate concerns. “Unselfish interests” embodied Jesus as “God being with us” on the floor line building people. The Master didn’t have a thought about being a conference president, serving in the department or ministering in the largest church. He left His thrown of infinite power and the adoration of all the angels and beings of other worlds to live with sinful men and women. Hence, Jesus did not lead from the thrown, nor manage the church from up there. Christ brought the thrown down to a planet where beings in His universe were really hurting from the results of sin. He met them on the “line” to heal, lead and guide them. This is why in Revelation, the “door is open”. Christ as the CEO of the church still maintains an open door on earth, and this door is open in heaven.
In summary, our churches and conference need more interactive leaders whose open doors speak of interaction with the hurting and the unsaved. So, what is missing? I think leaders in today’s Conferences and local church communities do not want to interact. For some reason we are afraid of each other and those who are hurting. So churches are laminated into irrelevant spiritual, plastic boxes−cut off from the spiritual oxygen needed to give life and hope for the dying and unsaved. Spirituality then is suffocated and instead of leaders walking upright as godly men and women they walk around in a stooped over condition carrying their oxygen tanks filled with “desires” that the devil controls and keeps on high. The enemy controls the flow as to make leaders an example to the lost and the hurting. God help us all!
On the eve of our constituency meeting leaders need God in their lives, which will not become the issue but the solution. No matter what the outcome may be. When leaders bring God into their mind, the essence of greatness, forgiveness, will be demonstrated. Let us all walk from the session in a godly upright way, so it can be written “there goes some godly people.” Remember, “God is with us.”
~No Limits, A Ministerial Contributor