Summary: The church has stayed too long in the wilderness of failed leadership. Now is the time to use the stewardship calling to accomplish the role of leading the church into the new dispensation after the crisis of the pandemic has run her course.
The present pandemic crisis has revealed the inevitable need for good leadership and governance not only in the world, but in the church as well. Daily we are experiencing and witnessing the failure of leadership in many high places. In fact those who are supposed to lead are failing the calling. The same symptoms of bad leadership vividly seen in the world is also been exposed to the failure of the Church to take the lead in the battle against the coronavirus.
Many reasons can be offered for these failures, but the truth is no one is willing to bear the cost. However chief among the reason is the fact that most leaders of today whether in the church or the world have not been trained first as stewards before assuming the mantle of leadership. They have not developed the character and spirit of leadership. In fact, most have not shown the character and qualities required in managing the little that has been given to them. Hence they have not received the much needed to function right.
Even so the world has known several types of leadership models but the one that stands out among the rest is the two-layer model. This is a model that separates the ordered headship position of leaders and those that are the followers or workers. In this system leaders take the lead from the top or above with authority downwards, while followers followed from below with obedience upwards.
This is the pattern of business world leadership that is directed from above downwards. At the same time this is the model seen in corporations, big businesses, schools, politics, religion, communities, and families. In this model, positions are gained from the ranks, through promotions, appointments, and the dedication to work or family inheritance, gender, tradition, or relationship.
But among the followers it is different since they have no such benefits. So they are allowed from behind, from the secondary roles assigned to them. The above and below, top-down, two-layer model is the norm the world is accustomed to, and have developed to a high degree.
But Christ came and redefined what leadership in the church should be like. He said those who aspire to be leaders must first be servants among servants that serve. This means a LEADER is a servant that serves other servants. Also, the SERVANT-LEADER is accountable to the Lord Jesus who had called him to the ministry.
Hence, today due to the crisis the church is coming of age, while learning and understanding the new realities. All these combined as catalysts with the need to restructure and innovate in accordance with the New Testament model.
This means the church needs Christ-centered concepts in defining leadership and stewardship. Any churches that are forward-looking must put in place platforms to meet the demand for a change in leadership structure to reflect more of a Spirit lead ministry of stewards.
Therefore, whatsoever looks like the twin-level model is unworkable in the leadership of the Church. But a stewardship model that reflects the ideals of the New Testament laid down pattern of servanthood. As believers we are stewards of the mysteries of the glorious gospel of Christ. God has entrusted the ministry of service and stewardship to us. So the Church to be more productive and expansive must evolve with the new opportunities that came with the crisis.
That means that in the aftermath of the crisis the Church stewards need to re-evaluate how the ministry is run and effect the necessary changes. While recognizing that there is ample opportunity for believers to contribute to the leadership decisions and the doctrinal practice of the church. For the time has come to see changes flowing from the top to the bottom.
Even as businesses of all types that operated the old model have realized the need for an updated model after years of boardroom failure. For example many boardrooms have increased spending and resources specifically in the areas of leadership development over the last decade. This ranges from corporate-training of workers with global offices to simple coaching services that treat their clients in a friendly and family setting. Hence today we can find services willing to sell their solutions for mastering the laws, principles of effective leadership.
How much more the Church leaders need to do the same for effective stewardship of the church. The Lord says that the children of this world in their generation are wiser than the believers. So then churches can learn some good practices from them.
Moreover the leadership in the church must do away with the hierarchical model of leaders-over-followers. The narrow two-layer paradigm of leadership structure is a failed system that encourages self-centeredness, achievement, glorification, and advancement instead of Christ Jesus.
In the Old Testament, Moses attempted the same single and two-level leadership system in the wilderness that resulted in failure, irritation, and exhaustion. Until God intervenes with the appointments of the seventy tribal elders to help in leading the children of Israel.