Have you ever noticed how often leaders tend to hang on to their positions, unwilling to pass leadership to others? That is the essence of dictatorship. Even in our world today, we see political leaders hanging on to power at all costs. From Russia to Zimbabwe to Venezuela, some leaders cling to power like a castaway at sea, often hurting or even killing those who stand to challenge their power.
Christian Leaders Love to Lead
Unfortunately, this is not much different in the Church. Pastors and leaders of Christian organizations often fail to empower others to take over their position until it is too late, making the transition painful and divisive. This happens because influence and power can become major temptations.
Instead, We Ought to Lead to Love
While it is natural to “love to lead,” biblical leaders “lead to love.” For the biblical, servant leader, influence, power, and authority come from loving others and serving them.
Paul’s poetic exaltation of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is among the most popular text for weddings, yet it is not specifically about marital love (though it certainly applies). Paul is actually writing to the Corinthians about leadership in the Church. Here is how Paul describes the love of a Christian leader:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What Kind of Leader Are You?
How do you measure up to God’s standards of leadership and love? Consider the following questions. They are a good self-assessment leadership tool.
- Are you a patient leader?
Are you a kind leader?
Are you a jealous leader who feels threatened by others?
Are you a humble leader, or boastful and proud?
Are you the kind of leader who puts people down?
Why do you lead? Is it for your own benefit or to serve others?
What makes you angry? Do you lose your temper often with those you lead?
Do you keep track of people’s shortcomings and failures to use against them?
How do you react to people’s failure?
Do you celebrate people’s victories and rejoice with them when they succeed?
Do you always protect those you lead from threats?
Do you always decide to trust others?
Do you always expect the best from people?
Does your love always endure no matter what?
If you are like me, asking these questions will help you find many areas to grow into the biblical leader God has called you to be.