Sunday afternoon, Martha and I traveled to Pineville, Louisiana, to fellowship with and speak to the deacons of First Baptist Church. It was a great time. I know many people in that fellowship, and it was a joy to see them. Their pastor is a great leader who has done a good job leading the church.
As I spoke, I wanted to give them some things to take away from the meeting. Though this is not my message, it is what I want to say to leaders of the church.
What would you say to the leaders of your church? This is what I say often and would share with you and your church.
First, the church will quickly become as you are. I don’t know exactly why this happens, but it certainly does happen. A church–actually any organization–takes on the characteristics of those who lead it. If leadership is critical and judgmental, the church will attract those people. If the leadership is biblical and kind, the church will become more and more of what any church should be. That is part of the reason why James said not everyone should be a teacher (James 3:1). Teachers and leaders will be judged for their leadership (more on this below).
Second, we are all leaders. Even though you may doubt this, someone is following you and becoming as you are. Lead carefully and prayerfully.
Third, remember that the church is not yours. (I have to give my church back to God every so often). It is His church and should be led according to His plan and for His glory.
Third, spend much time in prayer, submission to the Spirit, and in Scripture. It is God’s church, and it should be led according to God’s principles. When we seek God and His ways, He will bless His church and our leadership.
Fourth, listen to your critics but don’t take it hook, line, and sinker (a fishing metaphor). Even in the harshest of critics, there is usually an element of truth or something that you should hear and take to heart. It may not change the substance of what you say or do, but it might change the tone or the way you present something.
Fifth, remember that you will stand before Jesus to give account of your leadership. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Give your best.
Finally, determine to follow God completely. This is the best advice for most everyone. Seek God in all things and in all decisions.