These are the authors that are read by many today in the quest to become better leaders. These writers speak powerfully to the con-temporary situation in which we are called to do ministry.
The constant trend is to find fresh new principles for leadership that will work in our churches. Is it possible, though, that the Bible it-self has value in teaching us how to be better leaders? Is there guidance beyond basic biblical principles such as prayer, service, and honesty? Let’s look at examples of specific leadership actions in the Bible that help us find our way in today’s world.
The book of Judges tells of a God-ordained leader named Gideon. Gideon was a reluctant leader, but was also faithful to his calling. When asked to assemble a military force to expel foreign invaders, Gideon probably was dismayed when God kept shrinking his army (Judges 7:7).Leaders often desire a vast army of followers.”The more workers, the more work done.” “The bigger the church, the better the church.” Yet that is not the lesson that Gideon’s story teaches. Gideon’s mighty army was quickly diminished by the Lord himself, for God directed Gideon to send many troops home.
The principle here is that sometimes a small group, chosen and focused, accomplishes great things. Those who work within smaller churches may take heart in this principle. Focusing on a small, select group of potential leaders may have a big payoff in the long run. Don’t despair if God has riot given you an army. Invest yourself in developing that squad of willing workers you have.
As an apostolic leader, Saul always functioned with a handicap because he was not one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus. This caused some early Christians to cast doubts on his authority.
Furthermore, many believe that there was a degree of rivalry between Paul and Peter in the first-century church. While many details are lacking, we are told of one of the flashpoints of this relationship from Paul’s perspective in the book of Galatians: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11).
When Saul found a peer in gross error, what was he to do? He tackled the problem head-on by confronting Peter personally. The principle for us today is that the best leaders do not avoid confrontation. That does not mean that church leaders are granted unlimited powers of criticism and control. We must choose battles wisely, real- that the purpose of confrontation is not dominance but redemption. In the church we do not challenge in order to crush and win; we con-front in order to correct and save.