[SIZE="5"]The Importance of Christian Leadership[/SIZE]
"In the Wake of Pigs" - Oh, Sleeper
Album: Children of Fire
"It makes me sick that it's hard to distinguish an honest leader who preaches a cause that's not made and not based on the profit they'll recieve from telling the world." ~Oh, Sleeper
We've all seen it. A televangelist in an expensive suit telling us that if we give money to him we'll receive God's blessings. Religion in its proper place is the most important thing in a person's life, an all-consuming fire that affects everything he or she does. That is why it can be so easy to manipulate someone when in a position of Christian leadership.
The church is filled with leaders who preach Christ for prestige and money. I struggle with those desires in my own walk on the road to becoming a pastor and I have to be constantly checking my motives to be sure that they are pure. I want to be God's man for God's purpose (I am feeling convicted and praying that he would make me that even as I write these words), not a man in it for the glory.
The song "In the Wake of Pigs" by Oh, Sleeper talks about the devastating effect poor or selfishly-motivated leadership can have on a believer, especially a young one ("I left, I fled, I called, I cursed / I changed from 'certain' to 'searching' but nothing has answered deserving faith"). Below are some principles of leadership that I think can be drawn from the song.
1. Leaders have humility
Jesus led by serving and so should we. That means that to be great requires humility. (Matthew 20:26-27) The lead vocalist challenges leaders and asks them, "What line divides you from the seeders who sow without growing believers?" Sometimes ministry ideas (or even ministries themselves!) fail. It can be hard to admit that we made a mistake, that something is not working. I see campus preachers who dogmatically refuse to accept constructive criticism of their methods. Who knows but that because of the bad impression of Christianity they gave someone a person never turned to Christ. It's really a sobering thought for us all. It's important that we be willing to give up our brain child to be effective ambassadors of Christ, even if it means that another gets more credit.
2. Leaders are not hypocritical
"You point and you judge forgetting that their faith is molded by your lead." Nothing discredits a leader faster or inspires less devotion than hypocrisy. If we cannot practice what we preach how can we expect our followers, the ones under our guidance, to? We owe it to ourselves, to our followers and to God to be genuine.
3. Leaders must be close to God
"Because I need to see, I need to breathe, so much more than my kind is offering." This point reminds me of a line by another band, Icon for Hire: "I can't give out what I'm not breathing in." If we are not immersing ourselves in God, saturating ourselves in things of a spiritual nature, then we will not fill our potential when it comes to ministering to the souls of others. The Spirit is what the church needs and so the Spirit is what our leaders need, not man's wisdom. People often leave church for the simple reason that, "They just weren't feeding me God's Word there."
4. Leaders must disciple
One thing I have always disliked about street evangelism is how impersonal it can be. So many hand a man a tract and then move on with their lives. Supposing that man becomes a Christian, who then helps him grow in the faith. Who knows if he will grow in his walk or be sucked up into the nearest cult? We must stay involved in the lives of those we lead. Whenever I can I try to swap contact info with those I witness to so that I can continue to help them.
This principle is even more important in churches. Pastors need to get involved in the lives of their congregants and help them to grow. Quite often there is a lack of this kind of concern, leading to the type of desperation shown by Oh, Sleeper: "Where am I to find / The voice that keeps urging me to climb / I need to hear it again or I'll lose sight of land and be swept past my chance to survive."
The world needs leaders who are honest and devoted to God. And the church needs them just as much.
I hope you enjoyed my first music devotion. Please feel free to critique or suggest a song.