Summary: Caution to newly promoted executives—remember what the mamma whale told the baby whale: “When you get to the top and start letting off steam, that’s the time you’re most apt to be harpooned
HELPING CHRISTIANS ASCEND TO HIGHER LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS (Eph. 4:15,16)
"No longer should we be like children tossed like ships to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, the prey of cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men (gamblers engaged in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.
Rather, let us our lives lovingly ecpress truth in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him, Who is the head even Chrit the Messiah, the Anointed One." (Eph. 4:15,16 Amplified)
Illustration: Growing in faith involves learning to weigh the consequences of our decisions. Occasionally, it is necessary to take a proper evaluation of our productivity. Pruning of dead branches is essential for getting maximum results with any individual or group. In 1956, a certain denomination had one church in a strategic townJos, Plateau State in Nigeria. During that year, the leaders of the mother mission organization,SIM, came to ask him if he would like help in starting a daughter church.
After several weeks of deliberation among the church elders, the Pastor told the mission director, "We have decided not to start a new church at this time for five reasons. First, we are afraid we would have to tax our members for more funds to build the sanctuary and pay the salary of another Pastor. Secondarily, we are afraid that this might create tribal divisions by encouraging one group to stay at the mother church and other groups would flock to the daughter church. Third, we are afraid that our youth would abandon the mother church and they would get out of control. Fourth, we are afraid that other denominations will suspect disunity in our church. Fifth, we do not want to start something that we cannot control.
Three years passed and the same Pastor returned to the mission director to ask him if they were still willing to help start a daughter church. The director said, "Yes, but why now and not three years ago!" The Pastor bowed his head and said, "All of those problems I mentioned to you before for not wanting to start a church have occurred. We feel God is now bringing severe judgment on our congregation and its leaders for failing to obey God. Many of our people are getting sick and nothing seems to provide them with healing. Dozens of the women in our church are unable to get pregnant. The ladies who managed to get pregnant are having miscarriages. We are afraid that unless we obey God and start a daughter church, even worse things are going to happen to us. Please help us get out from under this cloud of God’s judgment!"
Within two years the daughter church was as large as the mother church and prosperity came in a full measure to both congregations. Today, there are 283 fellowships that have developed from that experience. Many people now appreciate that what Jesus said is true, "I will build my church and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). People need to see God’s pruning before they are willing to surrender everything to His will. Usually, people have to see things get worse before they can get better. As David wrote, "Search me Oh God and know my heart and see if there be any shortcoming in me and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23,24)
Some people have a tendency to warn people of punishments rather than to allow individuals to mature in unique ways according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Many well meaning Christians are uneasy with individuals learning to grow without the oversight, supervision and accountability of an assigned spiritual leader. Without mature leadership, an organization cannot reach its qualitative or quantitative productive potential. The following is adescription of the levels of maturity that characterizes the difficulties of trying to rise above petty sanctions, controls and regulations.
LEVELS OF PASTORAL MATURITY
1. The Pastor as a Ruler - Authoritarian
This Pastor sees his role as a ruler of his congregation. The members are seen as privates in his army who need to obey what "God’s man directs them to do". In this environment, members only do what they believe the Pastor feels is right. Members know that the Pastor’s displeasure will mean their shame, alienation and punishment. Some people feel more comfortable where there are clear rules, regulations and procedures. Members are commended only in so far as they do what the Pastor expects them to do - no more and no less.
Illustration: The Boss
Rule #1: The Boss is always right.
Rule #2: When the Boss is wrong, refer to rule #1.