Monday, August 17, 2015

multiple leadership

Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22

I am suspicious of anything run by one person. If I drive by a church that features one pastor's name prominently on the sign, I wonder just what goes on there. Only one man is magnified in the church and that is Jesus! But strangely we Christians (nearly universally) love celebrity. We create it. We will celebrate it over Jesus if we don't keep our hearts in check.

A popular bible study curriculum sends me an email inviting me to tour Israel for several thousand dollars with its leader. A Christian publishing house sends me advertising "guaranteeing" certain results because their latest video series is endorsed by a "famous" pastor. And on it goes. We American Evangelicals fail to listen to the words our scriptures plainly teach: leadership never happens alone. Effective leadership brings multiple people together under one leader --- Jesus Christ!

This verse reminds us that a real understanding of spiritual leadership must embrace multiplicity. Many advisors make plans that succeed. Only pig-headed egotists insist on running the church or their ministry solo. Their plans will fail... maybe not from a financial standpoint... I am sure those Israel tours will fill up and that video series will be positioned as a "best seller" by the publisher... but from a spiritual perspective they are bound to fail because they ignore God's wisdom.

I am blessed to serve the Lord in a church that insists on multiple leadership. It drew me here. I would storm the gates of hell with a wet sponge knowing the elders that co-lead with me are beside me! We operate synergistically with many spiritual gifts blended together by many people. Our church staff is blessed to be a true team... not individuals fighting for ministry turf and attention. And I believe it allows Jesus to be the Head of His church.

There are two things that I know for certain about leadership directly from Jesus. 1) He turned leadership upside-down by insisting that true leaders are always the "servant of all". He set that example vividly with His disciples. 2) True leaders work to become expendable. The test of their effective leadership is their departure. Things go on well without them because they worked hard to disciple a team. Jesus could leave the building of His church in the hands of 12 men and He still entrusts people today because He led well. Jesus still leads us even as we wait for His return and work together to advance the gospel into the world. Muliple leadership committed to scripture and the Holy Spirit's work among us is what accomplishes this.

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