Proven Character: Prelude To Position -- By: David W. Hegg
RAR 7:1 (Winter 1998) p. 35
Proven Character: Prelude To Position
If, as is generally agreed, “Everything stands or falls on leadership,” then the task of selecting and establishing leadership in the church has tremendous importance. This may take the form of recruiting people to serve in a wide variety of roles in the church. From staffing various ministries, to raising up elders, the pastoral team spends a great deal of time and energy recruiting people, and placing them into positions to which at least some authority is attached.
At its essence, leadership is influence. When you entrust people with leadership authority you also assume that their influence will have a positive effect on those around them, and on the church at large. This task of putting people into positions of influence lies very close to the core of pastoral oversight. Energy and wisdom invested in the process will yield great rewards. This is true for at least two reasons:
1) Organizations tend to take on the personality of their leaders. Nowhere should this axiom be more evident than the church. The New Testament clearly shows that leaders are known for their faithfulness—faithful in areas of faith, character and deed. Consequently, maturing godly leadership, by exhibiting the gifts and graces of Christ, creates an environment which fosters spiritual growth in their followers. Conversely, poor leaders tend to create confusion and promote
RAR 7:1 (Winter 1998) p. 36
compromise, which, in turn, promotes spiritual complacency and stagnation. To have faithful, spiritually minded churches, we must first have faithful, spiritually minded leaders.
2) The answer to most organizational problems is the right person in the right place. We have all experienced the joy of handing a project or idea to the right person and then watching as he took it further and made it better than we ever imagined. We have also watched the havoc created by a person whose maturity did not match the need of the situation. The most efficient way to accomplish God’s work in God’s way is to select, train, and unleash godly leaders.
The Starting Line
While this selection process certainly presents many challenges, perhaps none is bigger than the initial question: How do we determine those in whom we will invest leadership authority? More specifically, what is the first element in determining fitness for spiritual leadership in the church? Is it talent? Personality? Career success? Is it knowledge of the Bible? Ministerial giftedness? While pragmatic approaches to the church life offer differing opinions, the Bible is quite clear. Assuming that the individuals are indeed regenerate, the visible display of con...
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