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There have been copious books and articles written about leadership. There have been many good leaders and also many bad leaders. As this discussion goes forward, we will look at the properties and characteristics of leadership. The intent will be to get an overall view of good leadership and then narrow the focus to what biblical leadership is and how it impacts believers today. There may be times when you think we have regressed to the past and there will be times when what is written will challenge your thinking about what really is biblical leadership. The intent is to stimulate thinking and discussion about what true church leadership means from God’s viewpoint.
To give you somewhat of an overview of where the posts will go, I give you the following: A look at secular ideas about leadership and glean some positive takeaways, then we will follow with what modern church leaders think biblical leadership means and give a critique on those thoughts. We will then look at what God says in His Word about what He expects of leaders of the church. Be prepared to spend time following this discussion subject as it will take a number of posts to flesh it out.
Why this subject? The advent of the modern intellectual has produced bending of what God’s Word teaches because “they know best.” I think Paul said it rather well: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes (th) the wise in their own craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:19) Unfortunately, unbridled egos of the degreed leaders have led the church into murky waters and have misdirected church leaders as to what biblical leadership really is. We will pursue this avenue of thinking as we progress through what has become the muddy water of what Scripture says about leadership.
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As this subject of leadership progresses, you will see a general comparison of secular leadership principles with biblical leadership principles. We will see some common principles and also where secular leadership and biblical leadership diverge. We will first see what secular leadership looks like and then what biblical leadership looks like.
To start, we will look at a couple of things about secular leadership. 1) What are recognized leadership types, and 2) what are some of the qualities these leaders will exhibit. Once we cover the secular leadership subject, we will then move on to a much longer set of posts about biblical leadership. In these posts, we will note many differences between secular leadership and biblical leadership.
The end goal will be to know how God lays out his leadership plan and why it is different from that which man has devised. The church of today has been impacted by secular leadership and God’s leadership wisdom is being ignored. This tendency has led to Apostasy in the modern church which is indicated by man’s tendency to more emphasis upon what “man” knows rather than to follow the eternal wisdom of the all-knowing God.
The O.T. is a very descriptive picture of the results of man forsaking God’s leadership wisdom. It will invariably lead to disintegration and destruction. How much truth is in this idea? Read the N.T. book of Revelation for the end result!
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What are some generally accepted secular leadership types? There are four general categories that a leader will fall into: a) Autocratic or Authoritarian leaders, b) Democratic or Participative leaders, c) Free-rein or Laissez-faire leaders, d) Paternalistic leaders. We will give some time to each.
After we examine each type, we will then move on to the qualities of a good leader. These qualities will need to be explored to see why they are good characteristics for a leader. Some people will add some other things they like to see in a leader, but these leader qualities are generally recognized in most leadership circles.
The secular community will put a lot of emphasis on most of these traits. But we will find that scripture does not always give the same focus on some of these leadership traits. God sees leaders in a different way than man, and he may emphasize one or two traits over many others. For God the spiritual nature of a leader can be far more important than his human nature and natural gifts. God’s purpose is far different that man’s. Remember that God never fails.