The first is that we’ve backed away from a biblical definition of a leader—humble, gentle, kind, faithful, loving, servant… There’s a second thing: we’ve diminished and devalued the importance of a strong, watchful, comforting, confronting leadership community around a leader.
The Church’s Leadership Crisis
There are two things that are at the heart of the leadership crisis in the church.
The first is that we’ve backed away from a biblical definition of a leader—humble, gentle, kind, faithful, loving, servant. The kind of character qualities that are in the Timothy passage when it talks about qualifications for elder; the kind of character qualities that are in the fruit of the Spirit—we’ve backed away from these qualities.
And our definition of a leader now is—strong personality, quick witted, forceful, domineering, able to win the day in a discussion or argument, can cast vision and collect people. I’m going to say this: no wonder we’ve produced a culture of ministry bullies who mistreat people.
These are leaders who look at staff not as a servant, but see those people as tools for his success; leaders who look at a congregation not as disciples that need his care—sheep that need a shepherd, loved ones who need nurturing, love, and comfort—but instead as consumers. And leadership success is now defined as collecting as many consumers as you can.
We’ve backed away from the biblical definition of a leader, and we are paying the price for this new definition.
Best-selling author Paul David Tripp offers 12 gospel-centered leadership principles for both aspiring leaders and weathered pastors as they navigate the challenging waters of pastoral ministry. This resource shows the vital role that the leadership community plays in molding leaders.
There’s a second thing: we’ve diminished and devalued the importance of a strong, watchful, comforting, confronting leadership community around a leader. We have diminished the importance that every leader needs pastoring, every leader needs care, every leader needs watchful eyes, every leader needs, at points, to be rebuked, every leader needs to be protected, and every leader needs strong community in his life.
The Christian Leadership Model
Now think about this. If we’ve forsaken the biblical definition of a leader for this brash definition, and if we’ve diminished the value of a leadership community, no wonder we’re in the trouble we’re in.
I’m shocked that the trouble isn’t greater!
You cannot walk away from God’s norms and be okay. Listen, we don’t need a new model of leadership. We already have one. It’s right in the pages of the New Testament.
So as long as we’re changing the leadership definition, and we’re devaluing the importance of community, this crisis will continue.
Paul David Tripp is the author of Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church. This article is used with permission from Crossway.