Friday, January 30, 2009

Thinking about leadership

With this being the first introductory post for my new little creation, I thought I would spend a few minutes pondering the main subject—Christian Leadership. One can read many a book on leadership, with the main goals being the positive increase in the business' bottom line, but within a family there is no such clear-cut, objective measurement. When I think about my family, or the family of close friends there is no memo or spiritual P&L statement that I can skim through to see the state of their Christian leadership and growth. In this age of Politially-Correct-Tolerant-of-everything-I-like-and-of-nothing-that-I-don't mumbo jumbo, strong biblical leadership in the home is something never heard on the MSM, and rarely discussed at most mainline churches. It's very mentions brings up images of patriarcical, totalitarian extremist husbands who destroy the lives of their wives. But it has been said, without a leader, the people perish. I would agree with John Maxwell when he states “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” and you know what? The home is no different. states a leader is: a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group. What this looks like for you and me, how we understand Christian Leadership and apply it in our lives may appear differently than how the leadership “gurus” tells us it will look, but that's ok. We don't answer to them.

The first element that strikes me as relevant for biblical leadership is that the man must begin to fashion his life after Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us to fashion our marriage after Christ's love for the church—ever-forgiving, ever-guiding. Big shoes to fill. John Piper explains the meaning of this when he writes that marriage is a metaphor, with its deepest meaning standing for the relationship between Christ and the church, that it's “a living drama on how Christ and the church relate to each other.” With this view clear in mind it is easy to see why so many men would shrink from such a role. The standards are too high, the potential for failure is complete. When Christ is the model, any copy will be inept and inadequate. And this is where strong leadership comes into play. If you men are anything like me, the very first thing that enters my head when I am asked to do something that I believe is impossible—be it a four-minute mile or a day without coffee—is to write it off and ask myself “why bother?” And it is at this place right here where we see leadership. For in order to work towards a biblical lifestyle of Christian leadership, a man must be brave enough, he must be couragous enough to do something he knows he can't win at. No matter what you hear, there will be no man who is ever totally successful in representing Christ to his wife. Guys don't like doing things they can't dominate. They don't like knowing they can't win. It takes courage to get up everyday knowing you will fail.

Now I don't want to make this seem like there won't be any success in Christian Leadership, for as my business instructors used to tell me, “Don't let 'perfect' get in the way of 'better'.” As life and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit knock off our rough edges, we will more and more reflect Christ and His redemption. There will hopefully be daily small-'s' success, only to attain capital-'S' Success on the other side of eternity. This is good. This is part of our pilgrimage to the other side. My intent was not to discourage you, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I have found in my own life that they only time I see results is when I am fighting for something I believe in. If we want to see Christ's redemption in our lives we must daily be clinging to his strength to drag us out of the mire in which the world so often likes to dump us. On the topic of courage, William Gurnall put it this way:

The Christian of all men needs

courage and resolution. Indeed there is nothing

that he does as a Christian, or can do, but is an

act of valour. A cowardly spirit is beneath the

lowest duty of a Christian, 'be thou strong and

very courageous, that thou mayest’—What?

stand in battle against those warlike nations?

No, but that thou mayest 'observe to do

according to all the law, which Moses my

servant commanded thee,’ Joshua 1:7. It requires

more prowess and greatness of spirit to obey

God faithfully, than to command an army of

men; to be a Christian than a captain.

The Christian in Complete Armour – Part First

We must not let the seduction of mediocrity attain its hold in our families and in our lives.

If the first aspect of leadership is daily living out Christ's example then the second aspect is what we do with it. Leadership happens when we take what God is teaching us about Biblical living and help our families live it as well. It means we become very deliberate about what we do and what we allow our families to do.This doesn't mean a good leader has to play with his kids and have activities planned out for every minute that he is home, but it does mean that if he plops them down in front of the TV that he knows what show they will be watching and he doesn't do it out of a spirit of abdication—an “I don't know what to do with them, so I'll let the MSM babysit them” spirit. It means making sure your wife is reading her Bible and praying regularly. It means making decisions about what kind of clothes you let your daughter wear, or what kind of films you let your 16yr old son see. Sometimes, it means standing up for what is right, especially when what is right is not popular. Being a leader means applying what the Holy Spirit is teaching you about Godly living to the lives of your family. There's only going to be one person standing responsible when God asks you how you took care of the people he put in your life, and that person is you.

This journey will likely take the rest of my life, not because there are secrets to discover, nor truths that must be mined, but because leadership at its heart is a lifestyle of daily prostration to the Lord's plan and the regular elimination of my own strivings.

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