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The Leadership Role of Christian Elders toward Unity in Diversity

The Leadership Role of Christian Elders toward Unity in Diversity

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Published by Ifechukwu U. Ibeme
It is proper and biblical for a move towards unity to begin with summoning the Fathers and Elders who are the primary community stakeholders and leaders. When God sent Moses to make His covenant proposition to the Israelites, it was to the Elders of Israel that Moses presented the proposal first. The Elders accepted the covenant on behalf of the people first, before the whole populace was involved (Exd 19:6-8). Again, the Elders of Israel were those who networked and organised themselves to approach the aged Samuel for a King in Israel leading to the institution of the Monarchy (1Sam 8:4-5). Important decisions and negotiations are best deliberated by the Elders on behalf of the people. There are several ways in which Elders and Fathers could provide leadership towards spiritual and social unity and harmony in the community.
It is proper and biblical for a move towards unity to begin with summoning the Fathers and Elders who are the primary community stakeholders and leaders. When God sent Moses to make His covenant proposition to the Israelites, it was to the Elders of Israel that Moses presented the proposal first. The Elders accepted the covenant on behalf of the people first, before the whole populace was involved (Exd 19:6-8). Again, the Elders of Israel were those who networked and organised themselves to approach the aged Samuel for a King in Israel leading to the institution of the Monarchy (1Sam 8:4-5). Important decisions and negotiations are best deliberated by the Elders on behalf of the people. There are several ways in which Elders and Fathers could provide leadership towards spiritual and social unity and harmony in the community.

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Published by: Ifechukwu U. Ibeme on Mar 10, 2011
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07/26/2014

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The Leadership Role of Christian Elders Toward Bringing Unity in the Midst of Diversity
by Venerable Dr Ifechukwu. U. Ibeme Websites: http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo or http://priscaquila.te.net 
CONTENTS
LEADERS!" DE#!NED
Though the actual meaning of Leadership could be elusive and complex, Leadershiptheories today involve five common themes: 1.
!osition
, which may be attributed to a leader and/or a group of leaders;.
!rocess
, which may depend on personal traits and/or organisational procedure;!.
Influence
, which may be by personal example and/or organisational authorisation;".
"ommunity
 which may be a whole and/or department of a wholecommunity/organisation; and #.
#ttainment
, whose philosophy of attainable goal may arise from the leadership$s perception and/or community aspiration.Leadership is a social influence process whereby a leader or a team of leaders inspireother people to wor% towards a common or shared goal. &onversely, Tyranny coerces or deceives others for the tyrant$s selfish interest and evil motive.
$eadership couldtherefore be defined as the r%le or process of strategising& initiating& directing&controlling and influencing the acti'ities of a group of people towards sol'ing itsproblems and attaining its shared goals.
 Leadership is not “lonership”; everyone could easily be a loner but not everyone could easily be a leader. LEADERSHIP is the ability and process o !a"in# decisions an!obilisin# people to i!ple!ent pro#ra!!es or public #ood and #ain; L$%ERSHIP is!a"in# decisions and !anoeuvrin# to i!ple!ent plans or private #ood and #ain. Everyco!!unity needs leaders not loners. Leadership is not about !a"in# personal proit and sub&u#atin# others' that is selish #reed and tyranny. Leadership is about inluencin# othersto enhance their lives and ulil their drea!s( and turnin# the! into lie enhancers or others.
$O !S A CR!ST!AN%
)he *ospel o +hrist announces the ulil!ent o *od,s ancient prophetic pro!isethat -hosoever believes that esus is the +hrist and receives Hi! as the risen Lord(
1
 
shall be saved ro! sinul da!nation unto eternal spiritual lie o divineri#hteousness by *od,s #race and po-er /oh 0'01; 2'03405; 16'20; Act 06'32; Ro!06'78.
 Therefore a &hristian is anyone who is saved through faith in &hrist inaccordance with
(he
 
)ospel
, with active
participation
 in the +ew &ovenantfellowship of the (ody of &hrist, which is the &hurch -ct :!"; 10ohn 1:!2.True &hristians have
decided
 and
undertaken
 to live a life of
dedication
 to 0esus&hrist as Lord and 3aviour. They are not only
nominal
 claim to be &hristians2 but arealso
acti'e
 participate in the &hurch2 and
committed
 dedicated to &hrist2. To be
sa'ed
 from damnation into the 4ingdom of &hrist, implies that one is
con'erted
 fromsin and
co'enanted
 to &hrist -ct !:15; 16:!1; 7:1; 6:172. 8evoted &hristiansreali9e that they are not only in
communion
 with the &hurch but also on
commission
to reachout to the world with the ospel at :17; Lu% ":"6"2.''(ac% To T)&**
$O !S AN ELDER%
<very father is the <lder of his family by his
longe'ity
. <very leader is an <lder in thecommunity by his/her
dignity
. =rom primeval times, in patriarchal societies, people
become
 <lders by being the
oldest
 =ather or by being the succeeding
eldest
 son of theoldest father in the family or community > primogeniture principles. Later in the larger mixed society, one was
accorded
 the
dignity
 of <ldership andLeadership not only
 primarily
 because of
longe'ity
 of life e.g. aged =ather and evenaged other2, but also
 secondarily
 because of other
influential
 
functions
 and
dignifying
 
qualities
 <xd 1:1; 8eut 1:1!1; -cts 6:!2 such as:1.
maturity
 i.e. in wisdom and understanding, in prudence and discretion, indiscernment and awareness2.
reputability
 e.g. people of honour, integrity and courtesy, intellectuals, s%illedexperts, successful entrepreneurs, activists for good causes, patriotic warlords,champions, achievers, etc2;!.
responsibility
 e.g. officers, ?udges, rulers, spo%esmen, popularly elected/acclaimedleaders, etc2; and ".
spirituality
 e.g. priests, prophets, ordained/consecrated spiritual ministers,spiritually vast adepts, etc2.
*lders
 are therefore people of spiritual and/or temporal influence, maturity, dignity,e@uity and authority in any social or religious community.
*lders are usually 'ast inand custodians of the history& beliefs& tenets and 'alues of their respecti'ecommunities.
 They readily give
counsel
 and
inter'ene
 for common good of their community whether in the &hurch or in the society.''(ac% To T)&**
$O !S A CR!ST!AN ELDER%
Ae are now clear about whom a &hristian or an <lder is. -
"hristian *lder
 is thereforeone who meets both criteria mentioned above for both the &hristian and the <lder.
 
)he +hristian Elder is a dedicated and participatin# +hristian -ho is e9perienced and e9posed in lie( doin# e9ploits or +hrist( e9udin# di#nity in all -isdo! and e9ertin# inluence by virtue o his:her lon#evity( !aturity( reputability(responsibility and spirituality.
O$ COULD CR!ST!AN ELDERS #OSTER UN!T& !N D!'ERS!T&%
Bt is proper and biblical for a move towards unity to begin with summoning the =athersand <lders who are the primary community sta%eholders and leaders. Ahen od sentoses to ma%e Cis covenant proposition to the Bsraelites, it was to the <lders of Bsraelthat oses presented the proposal first.
(he *lders accepted the co'enant on behalf of the people first& before the whole populace was in'ol'ed
 <xd 15:62. -gain, the<lders of Bsrael were those who networ%ed and organised themselves to approach theaged 3amuel for a 4ing in Bsrael leading to the institution of the onarchy 13am :"#2.
Important decisions and negotiations are best deliberated by the *lders onbehalf of the people.
There are several ways in which <lders and =athers could provide leadership towards spiritual and social unity and harmony in the community.
United intercession for the people by *lders has great honour in the sight of )od
,whether for remission of sins Lev ":1!1#; 8eut 1:152 or together with healing fromdiseases 0ames #:1"1#2.''(ac% To T)&**
+. # "hristian *lder or $eader must ha'e a reasonable grasp of the ,cripture andthe meaning and pattern of things done in the "hurch.
 Bt was the need to ensurethis, that motivated Lu%e to write the
Gospel According to St Luke
 and the
 Acts of the Apostles
 for Theophilus, an aristocrat &hristian in the Doman <mpire Lu% 1:1"; -ct1:12. -postle 0ohn also wrote his Third <pistle to aius a wealthy influential personality !0ohn 12. 3t Eaul wrote FThe Eastoral <pistles$ to Timothy and Titus, whowere ordained &hurch Leaders 1Tim ":1"; Tim 1:6; Tit 1:#2.
-. # "hristian *lder or $eader should be in touch with the community and becommitted to harmony and good works among people.
Bn this age of individualismand radicalism, secularity and carnality, the &hristian <lder should endeavour to wor%  +)T )+LG for the unity, sanctity and security of &hristendom at large (HT -L3) for the security and encouragement of the upright, irrespective of their faiths Dom 1:11; 1Eet :12. Bt is important to remember that
)ods reason for the "hurch is toha'e a peculiar people purified for imself to please im and show forth ispraise in the pluralistic world& through godly witness and good0works 1
<ph :17;Ehp :1#
2
&ol 1:17
2
Tit :1"
2
1Eet :5
3. (he "hurch is meant to ser'e )ods purposein the society.
 Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship created in !hrist "esus unto good workswhich God has #efore ordained that we should walk in them$ %hp 2:1& so that you may #e #lameless and innocent God's children without any faults among a crooked and per(erse generation among whom you shine like starsin the world 
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