As we are on the brink of another new year, I’ve asked myself and asked my staff to consider how Christ-like leadership looks in our lives and what it should look like in the church. Based on 1 Peter 3:8-18, here are a few things we can consider about leadership.
- The most basic description of Christ-like leadership involves some kind of structure that affirms informally, or officially, a leader who gives direction to a group of Christ-followers. The scriptures speak often and plainly about what should characterize the lives of godly leadership.
- Christ-like leaders live together in common harmony (v8). They possess:
- Unity of mind.
- Sympathy and love.
- Tender hearts and humble minds. Arrogant minds do not lead to tender hearts.
- Christ-like leaders recognize their divine calling (v9).
- It is not the calling of a leader to make sure that people get what they deserve.
- The calling of a leader is to be a blessing.
- The result is that the leader obtains a greater blessing.
- Christ-like leaders grow toward godly communication (v10-ff). The words spoken must match the leader’s actions and life.
- Communication must be without evil and deceit.
- Communication must seek and pursue peace.
- Answered prayers are the result of righteous lives.
- Christ-like leaders recognize that most believers are going to follow their leadership without deceit, evil intent, gossip or an attacking spirit (v13).
- If the Christ-like leader does suffer because of righteousness…..(v14-18):
- There is special blessing coming.
- Do not fear those who are attacking.
- Use the occasion to honor Christ in holiness.
- Be prepared to give an answer concerning the conflict.
- Gentleness and respect should be the leader’s hallmark.
- It should be with clear conscience, so that your good behavior may win the day.
- Recognize that it was God’s will for His purpose.
- Remember that Christ suffered too. Keep suffering in perspective. Much of it pales in comparison to martyrdom and the cross.
Even as much of what is written above concerns leaders, anyone who lives a life with these principles in mind will find their relationships will improve, their influence will broaden and their testimony to the gospel of Christ will be strengthened.
With that in mind, scripture talks much about the role of spiritual authority and the great responsibility and accountability leaders have to God. Most leaders truly want to honor God, serve people, do ministry well and be a source of encouragement. Will they make mistakes? Of course! The charge to those under their authority is to pray earnestly for your leaders, be someone who keeps your word and can be counted on, and take as many opportunities as you can to encourage them. The spiritual battle is real and leaders often find themselves battered and discouraged. In 2019 choose to be someone who comes alongside your leaders and lifts them up.