Leadership Paradox

I was reading in 1 Peter this morning and the first few verses caused me to reflect upon the various leadership styles I’ve experienced in churches and caused me to evaluate once again my own example.

Without studying this passage thoroughly, I had a few interesting observations on the first few verses: “And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. 5 In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

Once again without thorough study – here are some initial observations. i’d love to know what you think….you may agree or disagree, but at least give it some thought….

A. Peter was writing to leaders in churches. (elders -so I need to take added note as a Pastor)

B. He appealed to them to care for the people entrusted to their leadership — How often do we want those we are leading (staff etc) to submit to us & meet our needs without consideration for them / their schedules / their families?

C. Our motivation should not be “what we can get out of it” — because the heart is exceedingly wicked & motives are easily deceived, we need to be careful that we’re not using the platform of influence we’ve been given “for what we can get out of it” – (finances, fame, freedom to do what we want without consideration of others)

D. Vs 3 says don’t lord it over those you lead – to lead you have to make the hard choices at times that people don’t understand, but I’m not sure that is the heart of what Peter is saying here. We talk a lot about “servant leadership” in the church today, but I’ve not seen much of it – Jesus never compromised what God called Him to do, but it seems that He often adjusted His schedule to meet the needs of those who were following Him (how often do we do this?)

E. Yes, we have to lead with authority and younger followers are to submit, but there is to be MUTUAL SERVING of ONE ANOTHER with HUMILITY. (Pastors – do you look for way a to serve those you are leading or is it your expectation that they are there to serve you all the time?)

We often teach & preach the priority of God, then marriage and family, but we often (by example and/or demand) violate this because we are either out of touch with the needs of our staff and their families and/or even our own. I know we’ll never be able to give people everything they want – I’m not avocating that, but we do have a responsibility to know what’s really going on in their lives (you can’t care for a flock when you don’t know their needs or want allow them to be honest with you about their needs & issues).

I have so much to learn as a Pastor & Leader, but one thing I’m committed to and working on is learning everything I can to develop a healthy staff that loves serving with me and knows I genuinely care about their families. One thought that’s always in the back of my mind is this – I don’t want their kids growing up hating the church because of the way their parents were treated as a part of my staff team. By the way, I know I can’t control this, and I’ve had to release staff – but overall I want to carefully consider the ramifications on their family and on our church family as a whole.

Just my musings on what I read this morning.

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have five grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Legacy Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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