Gracious Lord, You are all wisdom. Teach me the ways of holiness, compassion, and love. Teach me the way of Christ.
1 Timothy 4:6-16
Consider: Athletes train hard and purposefully for their events (7b). We need to train hard as well, focusing on the goal (15), overcoming setbacks, pressing on through discouragements, and completing the course (16).
For over 100 years, leadership studies have attempted to harness leadership principles. Yet it has not been possible, because leadership is an expression highly conditioned by the context in which it operates. While there are skills that are transferable from one context to another, each environment requires its own perspective. For this reason, leadership is not exercised under the same principles in the Christian community as it is in the corporate, educational, and sports worlds. Christianity has a particular perspective on leadership that should be considered and applied by each Christian community. The primary goal for the leader in the Christian community is to "train yourself to be godly" (7b). The leader must then train others in the way of godliness. As Paul states, "Command and teach these things" (11).
Here are a few considerations for leaders in the church. Christian leaders seek to form in others the character of Jesus Christ. Several verbs represent the actions of a leader: point (6), command (11), teach (11), and set an example (12). These verbs are not ends in themselves. These verbs are the actions that lead others to develop the character of Christ.
Christian leaders develop a consistency between life and doctrine (16). In the same way that medical experts will lead well if they study and research the latest development in medicine, Christian leaders will nourish themselves in the truth (6) if they are to lead others to the truth. This means to stay away from what is not truthful (7) and to seek diligently (15) to grow in the faith.
Christian leaders incarnate principles before teaching them to others (15-16). They seek to live and experience that which they will be teaching and expecting from others. Paul says that setting an example (12) is the foundation for authority in leadership.
Apply: Should we evaluate church leaders by their abilities to teach or preach or by their consistency of life and beliefs?
Father, it is an awesome responsibility to serve in a leadership role. I know I need an authority and a humility to serve You well. Pour out Your grace upon me.