What does it mean to be a Christian Leader? In many ways it means lowering oneself to become a servant. But power can be dangerous, even in a Christian community. Pride can arise. And a need to control. Even in the most pious of people. Everyone can fall prey to the Devil’s works, and that includes people in power. To quote Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility”. The leader of a Church is no exception (Grove Books). Christ says that the first shall become the last, and to enter the kingdom of heaven one must become like a little child. But what does this mean in the context of a Church?
One of the most common issues that arise in Church leadership is that the Pastor, Priest, or other leader, starts to be tempted with a desire for the power they hold. Human beings are fallible. Since Adam and Eve, every human born has been tempted in sin with the exception of Jesus himself, and his mother Mary. A good leader acknowledges the sin within them, and the temptation that Satan lures them with. But they do not give in. A good leader rises above the hardships involved with their position, and works to be an example of Christian fortitude for the community.
Leaders acknowledge where they are weak. They lean on others for support in the areas where they are not the strongest. This puts the community first, and dims the temptation to take upon oneself all the responsibility, in order to gain control over the community. Leaders set their sights on a certain goal, and guide people towards it. They don’t manipulate or force, but they build relationship and inspire confidence in those they lead. When Christ was teaching about sitting at the right hand of his Holy Father in Heaven, one of two of the Disciples’ mother’s came to him.
She asked if when he entered his Kingdom, her sons could sit one at his right and the other at his left. He asked both her and the Disciples if they could drink the cup that he would drink. In this he meant his Crucifixion and Resurrection. To be a Christian leader is to live with Christ as the center of their lives. To live as a Disciple of Christ is to put others before oneself and to hold fast in one’s faith. To live for others is to be aware of others’ concerns and affairs. A leader makes sure to take special interest in the problems and interests of those they serve (Tidball).
A Christian leader in the image of Christ admits their faults and does not cling to power or to pride. But that is a hard thing to do. In a theological light, one must pray for help in overcoming these shortcomings. Christ’s Passion was not an easy job. And to accept what one’s task is willingly is to speak with the words of Jesus in a prayer of action to the Father, “your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” The lure of arrogance in a position of leadership makes it hard for a community to operate. If a Christian community is led by a leader who grasps at power, does not work for others, and does not live as Christ did, the community must be able to change the leadership.
A true Christian leader has humility. Prayer and fasting are mighty weapons against the temptations the Devil gives to Christian leaders. In times of sin, a good leader should be able to acknowledge their shortcomings and failures not only before God but before the community itself. In doing so they practice humility, and are strengthened by their confessions, and in the support of the community they serve. Christ above all others is the example of a servant leader.
Although arrogance, pride, and lust for power occur in many Christian leaders, the special circumstances of their leadership enable them to have access to a unique support group. Not only do they have others in the community to help them, offer advice, and to open the Scriptures to them, but they have their faith in God. With God all things are possible. A leader must recognize that they do nothing alone. God is always with them and is always the source and summit of all their work (Grove Books).
God is the leader of leaders, the king of kings, and the prince of peace. The leader must lead as if they are the face of God to those in the community. The leader must rule over decisions as if they are ruling for God over the people. The leader must resolve conflict and bring joy to the community as if God was soothing their troubles. A Christian leader must not wish to lead for power, glory, fame, or wealth. The money of a community is not for the leader, but for the support of the community (Tidball).
When temptations of earthly desires arise, a leader must turn to the Lord and remember that they are not of this world. The temptations of the Devil are only temporary and if they set their eyes on God and do all things in service of Him and the community, then it is harder for Satan to touch them. It is not impossible, but due to the graces offered by God to a Christian community, a Christian leader can overcome them with the help of those around them and wisdom offered from Scripture.
The differences between a Secular leader and a Christian one are great. The first is the most obvious, their faith. Christian leaders have a deep source of commitment and strength to draw from, and one that reaches far past that of this world. The faith of a Christian leader can help them combat the harsh temptations of the world. Another difference of a Christian leader is their community. The community of a Church is different from that of any other community (Tidball).
A Church is a group of people united in faith and worship of God, and because of that God gives His Churches special graces in which to gain strength from. Yet another difference of a Christian leader is their higher authority. For a Secular leader the chain of command only goes as high as their boss. But for a Christian leader, the final authority on all matters is Christ. And thus, the Christian leader can consult the word of God in the Scriptures to help aid in times of need or confusion.
These are powerful signs of God’s grace. And because of the troubles a Christian leader faces, and because of the graces they are equipped with to handle such situations, the Church of God as a whole can learn much. Everyone in their own way in their own situations is called to be a leader. Whether this means being a Pastor, or Evangelizing, each person can use the gifts and supports that God offers to help fight the temptations that the Devil brings. To be a servant leader is to be a Disciple of God (Grove Books). And that means that one must pick up their personal cross and follow Christ. This cross may grow heavy with the added weight that leadership brings, but one never walks alone. Christ always walks beside them.
The special aspects of these hardships only come to Christian leaders. To be a Christian is to do battle with the forces of darkness and the enemies of the Church, both human and supernatural. The Devil is the adversary, and wishes to turn souls against the Lord. With the power granted leaders, the temptation is even stronger. However the Lord’s word in the Scriptures will remain a constant source of inspiration, aid, and fuel against the effects of sin and temptation.
To be a Christian leader is to be a servant leader. A servant leader is an example of the life of Christ to those around them and must help the people that they serve to get to Heaven. Their greatest gift that they receive by being a leader is not money, prestige, or power. It is the lives and souls of those entrusted to their care (Marshall). In order to fulfill their status as a Christian servant leader in the image of Christ, they must strive tirelessly for not only the conversion of souls, but the safe passage of those under who are under their care.
- Grove Books. “Grove Books- Pastoral.” Grove Books Limited. Grove Books Limited, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016
- Marshall, Tom. Understanding Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003. Print.