Here is a periodic “Coffee with the Lord” Leadership tip…
I think we’ve all seen individuals that let a little authority and power go to their head. They “throw around their weight,” are demanding, dictatorial, abusive and threatened by anyone who offers another opinion. Tragically there are some of these kinds of leaders in Christian circles! There is nothing “Christ-like” about the way they seek to lead others! As spiritual shepherds go, they drive sheep – they don’t lead them.
But there’s the opposite extreme… The leader who avoids confrontation at all costs – the person who finds a place to hide when there is an issue to be dealt with – the “shepherd” who really wishes someone else in the “flock” would take over. I know a few of these leaders… If you looked up the term “laissez faire” as a leadership term in the dictionary, their picture would be there. They are directionless, convictionless, valueless, and spineless. Those who seek to follow them have no idea where they are headed, what the vision is, or what values they stand for. They abuse by neglect.
I read a passage in the Bible today, penned by apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit that speaks clearly to this leadership issue (in fact, it’s found twice in 2 Corinthians – an epistle where Paul’s authority was being seriously challenged). I think these verses provide an understanding of leadership and the use of authority that served as a guiding principle for apostle Paul (and I want it to guide me)…
“If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do! So even if I boast somewhat freely about THE AUTHORITY THE LORD GAVE US FOR BUILDING YOU UP RATHER THAN TEARING YOU DOWN, I will not be ashamed of it.” (2 Corinthians 10:7-8 NIV)
“This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority – THE AUTHORITY THE LORD GAVE ME FOR BUILDING YOU UP, NOT FOR TEARING YOU DOWN.” (2 Corinthians 13.10 NIV)
So the question is… How to avoid the two extremes I’ve presented. How to keep the “authority automobile” on the road and not in either ditch… I’ve come up with a little phrase personally that helps me; here it is… GOD WANTS ME TO BE “STEEL UNDER VELVET” – using authority to build others up, not tearing them down. Think I need to go out and find more “velvet!”