Leadership is about love. It means taking the first and biggest steps, often sacrificially, to pursue our joy in the joy of others. Our aim is to make our church happy, not in us, but in God.
In Strength Based Leadership, Rath and Conchie identify the four basic needs of followers: trust, compassion, stability, hope. In light of the gospel, these four needs correspond to four characteristics we want to emanate as pastors.
Honest Before All
We want to be truth-tellers. Over and against the lust for people’s approval, we can only love people if we are honest with them. This is includes our interactions with all people, but especially our personal integrity and vulnerability. This doesn’t mean that we air out all our weaknesses, but that we are okay with being perceived as weak. Jesus was not a man with foibles, but he never shied away from living such that others made those misunderstandings. He was vulnerable—humble—like that. A glutton? A drunk? A fake? A man dying on the cross completely powerless to change anything? It is better that we lead like Jesus, not with polished impeccability, but with this kind of humility. People would rather follow an honest man than one who is so insecure in his weakness that he only tries to ignore them, or worse, hide them.
Concerned for Your Needs
This gets beyond the general, malaise-like care for an amorphous blob of people. It means rolling up our sleeves to care about everyone. When Paul defines the scope of ministry in Colossians 1:28, he says that he proclaims Christ … “so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” He actually repeated the word for “everyone” four times in this context, emphasizing that his ministry is for everyone—for all kinds of people, for whoever I’m talking to at that particular moment.
Unshaken by Setbacks
Setbacks will come. Opposition is on the way. The issue will be, in most every case, not what the specific opposition is, but how we respond to it. To be unshaken by setbacks doesn’t mean we are not affected, or that we don’t struggle. It only means that we are relentless with the mission God has given us, and we are determined, by his grace, not to be defined by our opposition, but by the identity we have in Christ.
Resolute About Tomorrow
We want to be leaders in faith. We want to really believe that Jesus is real. That is the biggest prayer for our council every day, that Jesus, be more real to us than anything else. Over and over again, what we will need as a church, as leaders, is not a better strategy or method, but only to see him. To remember that he is on the throne. That he “loves and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5–6). For the Christian, the best is always yet to come.