Churches, like companies, frequently have their CEO – someone who calls the shots. That person may select the paint color for the nursery, as well as approve the worship song selection. They have their hands in everything and on everything.

Is this what Jesus intended when He inaugurated His Church?

When did we begin to believe that one person could provide everything needed for leadership? If it’s true that we are “working out our salvation” (Phil. 2:12) and becoming more and more like Christ (theologians call this “ongoing sanctification”), then I suggest the following:

We can’t get a full picture of Jesus through any one [human] individual.

The apostle Paul says that we are one body, but many parts (1 Cor. 12). Christ is the head. He “graces” each member with different gifts of teaching, prophecy, and administration. So why do leaders (even some of us) seek to acquire and defend as much power as possible?

wooden-body

You’ve heard it said that leaders should “work themselves out of a job,” but this rarely comes naturally.

Dan Allender, in his book Leading With a Limp, suggests that leaders should acknowledge their weaknesses and regularly give up power. When these leaders retire, things actually improve (rather than fall apart) because they’ve empowered others!

But Allender’s challenge arrives with a warning.

Leaders who empower others must choose the posture of listening and understanding. Their influence primarily seeks to serve others, not themselves. They are often misunderstood, manipulated and abused. They may even forfeit the “right” to a promotion or added accolade for their resume. Sometimes, their decisions will seem illogical or careless.

Leaders must face these tough questions: Am I secure enough in my identity and calling to intentionally empower those whom I lead? Is there someone specific whom I should be empowering more?

 

Daniel Gluck

Lead Faculty, B.A. in Christian Leadership