In Scriptures we have been provided many examples of great leadership. Among those great leaders are some that stand out significantly. Their positive leadership has inspired many Christians and Christian leaders to emulate their examples in carrying out the missions that God has also given them.
Moses was one of those Biblical leaders who has inspired many in their obedience to Godís call on their lives. Godís call to Moses is shown in Exodus 3:10, where God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and delivered this message to him:
10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." NKJV
God raised up Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt. Throughout Mosesí efforts to gain freedom for the Israelites from slavery God responded to his obedience by working miracles that eventually resulted in their being set free. Then after a dramatic and miraculous exit from Egypt, God revealed Himself to them at Mount Sinai. The people of Israel were grateful to be delivered from slavery in Egypt, but because of their later complaints and rebellion they were forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Throughout this, Moses remained as a faithful leader and taught Godís Law to the Israelites while leading Godís people to the edge of the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 34:10-12 describes Mosesí success as a leader:
10 But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 in all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, 12 and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. NKJV
Before his death Moses handed the leadership of Israel over to Joshua, as described in Deuteronomy 34:9:
9 Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. NKJV
After the death of Moses, Joshua was instrumental in leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua then began an extended campaign of wars against the nations that then occupied the land that God had promised to the Israelites. With Godís help through many miraculous victories against seemingly insurmountable odds, Joshua was successful in defeating those nations and taking possession of the land that God had promised them. Joshua then began the task of leading the nation of Israel forward in establishing themselves in their new environment.
The Apostle Paul was another great leader who, both through personal ministries and largely through written Epistles to the churches, was successful in spreading the Gospel of Christ and teaching and admonishing those in the churches in the ways of Christianity.
No person, apart from Jesus Himself, shaped the history of Christianity like the Apostle Paul. Even before he was a believer, his actions were significant. His persecution of Christians was merciless, but eventually led to his conviction for his actions and his ultimate conversion. It was on his journey to Damascus to capture Christians that God stopped him in his tracks. There Paul, then named Saul, met Jesus and his life was never again the same.
Acts 9:1-6 describes this encounter:
1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." NKJV
This encounter and ultimate conversion was the turning point in Paulís life and began a period of leadership that resulted in the establishment of Christian churches and congregations that have affected the entire world. His strengths as a leader included his never being afraid to face an issue head-on. He also was sensitive to Godís leading and, despite his strong personality, always did as God directed.
These examples of strong, positive leadership stand in stark contrast to much of what we are experiencing with leaders of this generation. Beginning with the leadership in the Christian community, although there are some leaders who seem to emulate the attributes of those presented here, there are far too many Christian leaders whose motivations are questionable at best. While we have been warned by Scripture to be alert for leaders whose motives are personal, still there is this feeling of great concern for the direction the church is headed without properly-motivated leaders.
Many of our churches are suffering from questionable leadership. Churches that should be led by the influence of the Holy Spirit are being led by the influences of a pastorís vision for the church , which is essentially cover-up terminology for a church business plan. Since many churches are operated as Christian-flavored social businesses, this is somehow fitting.
But the appropriate role of pastors should be to follow Godís direction and to lead ministries in their God-appointed missions for that particular church body. Therein the role of the pastor would be to ensure:
1. Focus Ė To keep the church focused on its mission
2. Motivation Ė To keep the church motivated to execute its mission
3. Execution Ė To lead the church in the execution of its mission
Assuming the churchís mission is God-given, this level of leadership would result in Godís purposes being served, rather than the personal purposes put forth by the pastors. But contrary to this concept, the primary focus of many ministers is on raising money to build large expensive symbols of personal success. In this regard we should be wary of those leaders whose agendas and missions are motivated by pride. In doing so we should also be alert for self-ordained Bishops and Apostles and self-declared Doctors of Divinity, as often their goals are aimed at personal recognition and status, rather than effectiveness in achieving God-given objectives and goals.
A beneficial mission of Christian leaders would be to use their leadership and networking skills and relationships within their community of Christian leaders to organize and lead against the flood of anti-Christian changes being mandated by our government, such as those designed to take away the liberties given to Christians to worship freely according to Scripture. This would include speaking out against those mandates designed to prevent the teaching from those Scriptures relating to Biblical Laws without intimidation or threat of criminal charges, as this is an increasing threat.
Of course, there is also the movement by our government to force Christian organizations to provide financial support for organizations whose missions are to provide services that are contrary to Scripture, such as those providing assistance for abortions. And then there is the issue of forcing Christian ministers to perform same-sex marriages. These and other such government agendas should be a primary focus of Christian leaders, who are the last line of defense in organizing movements in opposition against anti-Christian laws. Since Christian leaders are the only ones with the ability to provide this important leadership, there seems to be no other means of deterring the loss of our Christian liberties.
And then there is the problem of leadership within our government. What is being considered as leadership in this area, although it is not short of rules and regulations, is focused on leading us into a totally different form of government, one that is restrictive and aimed at taking away our liberties instead of maintaining the liberties provided by our Constitution. This leadership deficit is not about quantity, but is about quality. Here what should be expected is leadership that supports and maintains the continuity of the edicts laid out in our Constitution. Instead, we are seeing an increase in the efforts to circumvent those edicts in the name of ďchangeĒ.