The 4C’s of Christian Leadership
Try googling “Christian leadership” and you’ll be inundated with over 10 million hits. Numerous Christian conferences have raised and attempted to answer the perennial question “What is Christian Leadership?” During this robust discussion, concepts of qualities, characteristics, capabilities and behaviors were addressed; however, a definitive answer never seemed to emerge in the end. Bruce Winston, professor at Regent University, provides a framework that emerged throughout a 10-hour automobile drive where the answer of this question began to emerge. His spouse stated her observation that some character-flawed old testament leaders seemed to be blessed by God and that didn’t seem to fit the general notion that “good” leaders are high-character leaders.
If Jesus have proclaimed in different context that his primary role is to do the will of God, then it seems logical that as a Christian leader it is our primary responsibility to comply to God’s will. In terms of how one discovers the will of God is not clear from the verses. 1 Samuel 3:1-10 gives us insight into how one might know the will of God in which we find God calling Samuel. He thought Eli called him but learned later that it was God who was calling him instead. Dr. Winston notes that “calling is something that comes from God and is not something that one can be educated/trained to receive.”
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
A great example where we see this play out is the account of Elijah’s confrontation with Baal’s priests and then Elijah’s subsequent confrontation with Jezebel. Imagine the scene of Elijah challenging the priests to a contest in which the priests of Baal would invoke their god to send fire down and light the sacrificial fire. After the priests failed, Elijah took his turn and increased the difficulty by soaking the wood and offering with water. Being filled with absolute confidence, Elijah prayed and the God sent His fire which not only consumed the wood but the entire altar.
Psalm 1 provides us the perspective of the upright leader who through his/her beliefs, demonstrates characteristics in synch with biblical principles. The passage below shows that a ‘blessed’ leader does not interact with the wicked nor participate with evil people.Psalms 1:1-6: How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
1 Timothy 3:2-7: An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
From verses 2-7 we can see that a good leader must demonstrate integrity. What we translate as reproach is anepileptoß (anepileptos) that means to be caught or arrested. The intent here is not to do what is wrong and not get caught, but rather to do nothing that might lead to getting caught. In other words, live your life in such a manner that no matter how finely your life is scrutinized, you will not be found “in reproach.” In addition, in the passage, we see that a leader must be temperate nefaleoß (nephaleos), meaning to remain sober and not under the influence of alcohol; prudent sofron (sophron), meaning to curb one’s desires; respectable kosmioß (kosmios), meaning to be modest; and hospitable filoxenoß (philoxenos), meaning to be generous to guests. In addition, the passage says that leaders should not be pugnacious plekteß (plektes), meaning to not be quarrelsome, which is similar to the beatitude “to be meek.” In support of this requirement to not be pugnacious is the requirement to be gentle and peaceable. The passage concludes by indicating that the leader must be seen in a positive light by people outside of the organization. In Titus 1 we see a recasting of some of the character elements from 1Timothy 3.
Titus 1:5-6: For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict
James 1:19-27: This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.