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Transforming Leadership

I’ve read two things in the past few weeks that have me thinking about leadership.  First,  I read Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture.  Then I started working on Effective Men’s Ministry.  Niebuhr talks about the relationship between culture and Christianity, while the book on men’s ministry talks about leadership of, well, men’s ministry.  And I began to notice something about our culture:

We have co-opted leadership discussions into spiritual discussions without really discovering how our Christian worldview should transform our view of leadership.  In other words, the way Christians talk about leadership often seems identical to how everyone talks about leadership (but we apply Bible passages to it, first).  There’s little difference, and little that shows the transforming work of Christ in our lives.

As I made my way through the men’s ministry book, I began to see that we have to re-think our Christian approach to leadership.  Then, one of the articles summarized a new way of thinking about leadership.  It is from an article by Stacy T. Rineheart, and can be found on p. 102 of the men’s ministry book.  Rineheart wants to call leaders back to their Biblical roots, and this means that we should be servants first.  Here’s his summary:

Servant leaders:

  1. Share the spotlight with others.  (how often does a pastor voluntarily give up a microphone???)
  2. Make Jesus the focal point.
  3. Develop many leaders.
  4. Have a low turnover because people are loyal and stay.
  5. Make Christ the central focus and agenda.
  6. Affirm and participate in kingdom agendas.
  7. Are committed to being a servant first and foremost.
  8. Are committed to reconciliation and relationships.
  9. May have a title but seldom refer to it. 
  10. Respect people for their ability to think, act, and respond.  (how often do pastors tell other exactly how to lead a ministry???)
  11. Abhor the thought of using power images.
  12. Never use their position to get their way.  (how often do pastors say, “I got a word from the Lord…” and then proceed to give their own word???)
  13. Develop many followers for the Lord.

I do well on some of these points, but I am lacking on #3, #8, and all too often #2.  A servant leader centers the agenda on Christ. 

Too often, I see lip service paid to being a servant leader, but those same leaders leave behind broken relationships, make their ministry about them and not Christ, and don’t entrust responsibility with others.  If you think I’m failing, will you let me know?  (preferable not through blog comments!).  Are their areas in your life where you see weaknesses?

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  1. January 27, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I’m not here to point out anything, except a good catch. Wonderful insight on how we are looking at leadership. My hobby horse is that the local church should take up it’s responsibility for developing it’s own leaders/pastors/elders and we can’t do it by having people ready books on business principles. Isa 42:1-4 is probably a better paradigm for us to work off of…I’m just sayin’. =]
    Thanks for posting.

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