Running through my thoughts recently has been the question, “What does true, godly leadership look like?” I believe it is leadership that leads by example. True, godly leaders are men who determine in their own hearts what it means to follow God and then do exactly that. They set their hearts on striving for the highest possible standard. They do not choose the easy way or the popular way. They choose the right way. It usually is a difficult way and may be a lonely way and sometimes even an unpopular way but they allow nothing to deter them from following hard after God. They take no short cuts. They make no compromises to the standard they have set. No amount of adversity turns them from their chosen path. They are not swayed by the winds of culture or peer pressure. They have their eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and they are totally consumed with a passion to please Him above all else.
Then, as they follow God in this way, true, godly leaders invite others to come along. In fact they gently shepherd those who are struggling until others also catch the vision and join them in this pursuit of godliness.
The question I ask myself and I ask you is this, “Does this describe most elders and pastors in the local church today?”
Recently, through “chance” meetings, I have spoken with three couples who are disillusioned with their local church. As I spoke with them and listened to their concerns I sensed that they are desperate for shepherding. I was able to pray with two of the couples. They were craving for loving and caring leadership, for hope and encouragement. I couldn’t help but wonder how many others there are like these three couples – who church leaders won’t know are hurting until they have left.
I couldn’t sleep tonight and so got up (this is 2:45 am) and read in the Psalms for a while. Here is the passage that I believe God lead me to.
And he built his sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which he hath established for ever. He chose David also his servant, And took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes that have their young he brought him, To be the shepherd of Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. Psa 78:69-72 ASV
That last sentence is my prayer for all of us as elders. A threefold qualification for leadership. First, that we are truly chosen by God to lead; second, that we are men of integrity of heart (godly men); and thirdly, that we would have skillful hands – the ability to lead. May God grant us the ability, the skill we need to lead and genuinely care for this flock of His. The flock needs shepherding. They are confused, worried and discouraged. This skill for shepherding will not come from some latent ability within us but rather by an anointing of God’s Holy Spirit.
I urge all of us to be true, godly leaders and to encourage one other to keep moving forward in step with the Spirit of God. Let’s continue to grow as men of the Word and of prayer and of the highest integrity – and may we trust God to grant us the wisdom and skill to shepherd. Let’s lead by example.
In this leadership adventure together.