Called to LEAD
Today I’m reading along in my quiet time and I come across a verse, a passage, a teaching from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. Now you should know I am trying to grow in my own leadership capacity. I want so bad for the Lord to be proud of me for being obedient, for following my call, for loving his children; all of them. So, I have chosen to study the Church in Corinth. (They get two whole letters from Paul as does the church in Thessalonica.) As I read along it would appear that pastoring the church in Corinth was no easy feat. This church was planted right in the middle of a seething pit of pagan humanity and was embracing open, flagrant, sin.
Paul planted this church, trained up this church, and then moved on to Ephesus; but he kept in touch with this church. Was he the overseer? Was he the Area leader? The Regional leader? I don’t know, but he clearly visited a couple times on his missionary journeys.
Man that hurts!
I think if I could sum up what I believe his impetus is for writing to this church (knowing full well that he was sent a letter with many, many, questions, and probably a report) it would be found in verse 17. How would I feel if God called on someone very close to me to write me a letter saying, “In the following directives I have no praise for you, your meetings do more harm than good.” WOW! I cannot imagine the feelings and emotions, that had to smart when that was read out loud in church. It would appear that the leaders were running from various conflicts rather than confronting them and leading the flock out of them.
Wimpy, wimpy, is for paper towels
We seem to have this idea that the church leaders are supposed to be this wet doormat that gets walked all over, has no backbone, won’t stand firm, will “take it if they really love Jesus.” You would be surprised at what I hear “Christians” saying leadership in a church should be. It’s incredibly ignorant (unlearned) for the most part. Christ is our example and he tells us to love, heal, minister to and teach, but that doesn’t mean being a doormat. Real, historical, Biblical leadership also requires showing courage! Want some examples? Paul NAMES Alexander the metal worker (1 Tim 1:20) in one letter and tells Timothy to be very wary of him because he hurt Paul’s ministry: the church. He NAMED HIM in a letter read to all the people in the church FOR ALL ETERNITY! That’s pretty radical leadership. He also named Alexander and Hymenaeus in a letter which is still read out loud in churches. (2 Tim 4:14) In this situation he tells Timothy he “handed them over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme …” SERIOUSLY? And finally, we cannot escape the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5? The church was responsible for their demise. (you could argue that God did it, but come on)
Leadership is called out by God to lead, to be strong and courageous, to not run when the lion and the bear or the wolf in sheep’s clothing come. No, the hired man runs, but the sons of God lead by example. They go down into the valley to face the giant first. I am all about, “teaching them gently …,” but we cannot and should not use that as an excuse for poor leadership. Love the flock, care for the flock, protect the flock and lead the flock.
Lead by loving them like Christ
Lead by washing their feet
Lead by instructing them
Lead by serving them all
but sometimes you have to lead INTO the fray.
Left unattended infection can be fatal
In Paul’s statement, “In the following directives I have no praise for you, your meetings do more harm than good.” I hear him calling out leadership. Paul trained these leaders but they were afraid to lead. Seems they had the same problem that we see today: leaders want to be popular, they don’t like conflict and try to avoid it. I understand that, I honestly don’t like conflict. I try to avoid it. But I also know what happens when you have an infection and rather than deal with it you ignore it and hope it goes away. It turns into death. Gangrene will rot a body to death. The same thing that is true for your physical body is true for the body of Christ, is true for your soul: if you ignore or embrace the infection, it will kill you. When you allow your soul to drift from your doctrine, from what you actually know to be truth, you allow the enemy to infect you with a spiritual gangrene. Leader know that they need to clear the flesh of the infection by addressing it directly.
When do our meetings do more harm?
Meetings do more harm than good when truth is sacrificed because of the fear of the people.
Meetings do more harm than good when the goal is to make people feel good.
Meetings do more harm than good when the goal is to avoid pain.
Meetings do more harm than good when the goal is to get huge numbers.
Meetings do more harm than good when lives are not expected to change.
Meetings do more harm than good when harsh is the only tool in the toolbox.
Meetings do more harm than good when religion is more important than salvation.
Meetings do more harm than good when I forget my call is to lead and protect the flock.
The Church rises and falls on leadership. The vision is defined, plans made, mission statements clarified, and people gathered and saved based upon leadership bestowed by Christ. So, as you lead your family, your business, your job, your churches, what do you hear Paul saying to you? It’s a hard question.