PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP

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A Paper Presented to Dr. Andrew Seidel Dallas Theological Seminary

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In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course SL 305 Dynamics of Leadership

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by Alex Lovorn July 2013

PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP

Introduction Upon graduation I hope to obtain a job as pastor of a church. If given the opportunity, I will be entrusted to be a shepherd, a preacher, a teacher, and in some sense a counselor. All of these roles require a strong sense of leadership in order that those under my care may be built up to maturity and better equipped to fulfill the calling that God has given each one of them. In light of these requirements, I will illustrate what it looks like to be an effective leader based on the principles shown through the Word of God.

Servanthood The first characteristic essential to my effective development as a leader is humility. Although many passages highlight this principle, Philippians 2:1-11 most strongly demonstrates the importance of this characteristic. Verses 3 and 4 stand out the most which speak on caring about others more than caring about one’s own self. This is crucially important in leadership because a selfish leader only helps himself and does nothing for those around them. Yet, as a pastor, I have been given the responsibility to be a leader to many in order to bring them to Christ. In order to show them love, gain their respect, and have them listen to my advice I must show them that I am genuinely concerned for their well-being. I must show them that I am willing to sacrifice and put down my own rights in order that they might grow. In this way I will gain the trust and respect of those that follow me. This is crucial because an effective leader is followed out of willingness and love, not by power and intimidation. Following along in Philippians 2, it is clear that this is the exact same way that Jesus led. Jesus serves as the only one worthy on this earth to have exalted Himself. Rather, He humbled Himself and gave His life for His people. If I commit myself to leading a congregation closer to Christ, I must first actively follow Christ myself. He is the greatest example of humility and servanthood! His 1

2 incomprehensible love serves as an example to love as He has loved. In order to do so, I must give up my own rights and think of what is best for those who I am leading. In doing so, those that follow me will be motivated by love and willingness, and thus they will be opened up to true life change. Thus, in order to lead others well, I must be compassionate and devoted to fulfilling their needs before I look to my own.

Character Along with being a servant, an effective leader must also be one with upstanding character. I must be a man of integrity, above reproach in all things in order that I am setting a good example for those in which I lead. The examples in 1st Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 2:1-8 come to mind when given the list of qualifications for elders and overseers. One qualification is to be above reproach. As a leader, I should commit myself to the highest standard so that my ministry and leadership cannot be devalued in anyway. I should not ask any of my followers to do something that I myself am not willing to do. If I aim to teach them how to be patient and forgiving, I must be sure that I myself am demonstrating these characteristics in my own life. A good Litmus test is to gauge my own integrity. Am I truly embodying the things I teach when no one else is looking, that way every single day I can speak with passion and authority for those to follow in my footsteps? Honesty is huge in leadership and must be a character trait of all leaders. Even when it is very hard to tell the truth, leaders must never jeopardize the trust of those they are building relationships with. They must be quick to admit their own mistakes, and give honest answers to what they believe is best for the ministry and more importantly the overall impact on the kingdom of God. I must also be willing to give up anything that causes others to stumble in order that I may be seen as blameless so that nothing will hinder my ministry to others.

3 Another character trait vital to effective leadership is having self-control. I must not let my emotions govern my behavior, but rather be able to utilize who I am in response to certain circumstances to better build up those that I am leading. I must recognize the natural tendencies I have and the ways others perceive me, and instead use those things to be strengths instead of hindrances. If I am not even able to handle my own emotions, there is no way I can effectively lead others to exemplary character. Another character trait embodied by great leaders is that they are to be sound in faith, love, and endurance. I must be the example of all the things that Christ preaches. In order for those to follow me to believe in our almighty God, they must see the genuineness of my own faith and be motivated that who I am embodies what I preach. Likewise, I must be full of love in the same way as Christ loved. I will be an example for others in what should love look like. As a leader, I must point others to the example of Christ, while I myself demonstrate the very things He taught to serve as a model for what Christ gave us through His life. Lastly, I must demonstrate endurance and not get easily discouraged and torn down. I must be strong even when those that follow me are weak, being guided by the great hope I have in the promised inheritance that I received through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lastly, I must be respectable to those in which I minister. Without gaining respect, how could I even expect those to follow my example? Respect is earned through a demonstration of treating others well and making good decisions. I will gain respect through being dependable, honest, and looking to the best interest of others. This takes time, but good leaders have the ability to get people to follow them to the ends of the earth if necessary. This is because the leader has built up a level of respect with the people in which they are convinced that every decision made has the best interests of God in mind. Jesus led with authority and respect where all who follow Him would be willing to give their lives for Him. This is because He Himself lived in a way worthy of respect in which He sacrificed His own life. Likewise, in order to have

4 stand up character and convince people that what I teach is worthy to be followed, I must earn their respect. Other character traits listed in Jesus Sermon on the Mount come to mind as well. In Matthew 5-7, Jesus teaches on how every believer should live, which means leaders need to demonstrate even further. Leaders must be the first to turn the other cheek and forgive when they are wronged. Leaders must set the example on giving and show the heart to abundantly give to the cause of Christ. Leaders must set the example to love those who hate them, and lead out of love instead of harboring bitterness in their heart. Similarly in the model of Christ, leaders must be the first to give grace and mercy on those who need it. Leaders must always realize the way in which Jesus reacts to us, and then go against what the world says and model the way of Christ for those who follow them. Although there are many other character traits valuable to effective leadership, these are the ones that most embody the kind of character and integrity needed to be a person that is trustworthy to be followed. I must be dedicated to maintain great character so that those under my care may have a great example to follow and not be brought down by my lack of obedience to the things of the word of God.

Passionate Leaders must be marked by passion for what they are giving their lives. Paul strongly demonstrates this when going over his sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:16-33. Paul was on a mission to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles and he showed his commitment and passion towards this purpose to which God called him in the fact that he was willing to endure so many things for the glory of God. Paul believed in the hope that he had, and he committed his whole life to fulfill what God had called him to do. Likewise, if I am able to be a pastor at the church I must give myself passionately to the pursuit of instilling in them what God has given to me. As Prof

5 Hendricks always says, “Give them something to believe in!” My goal in ministry is to build up those under my care to be mature disciples of Christ. In order to do so they must be convinced that there is nothing more important in this life than to give up everything they have and follow Jesus. In order for them to believe this, they must see the passion that I have in my pursuit to teach them these things. A leader can have sound doctrine and good intentions, but if he lacks passion then those he serves will not wholeheartedly follow him. A man with passion does not get easily distracted, but rather sets his eyes on the goal at hand and stops at nothing to accomplish it. I must never cease praying, teaching, and serving to the end that those in which I love will come to have a deeper relationship with Christ and obey the commands and purposes that He has for their lives. Paul spoke with authority and was so focused on what God had called him to do that none would doubt the end in which he was giving his life. There was no barrier that could be thrown his way that would prevent him or discourage him from getting the gospel to those who so desperately needed it. He gave people something to believe in because he himself believed in it with all that he had. Therefore, I must believe and act accordingly that Jesus is worth every single part of my life. I must passionately pursue Him and the belief that there is nothing greater than this future inheritance in order that those who see me may be convinced that this truly is something worth giving their entire lives too. As a leader I must be a man of great faith and passionately obey what Christ has called me to do.

Visionary Subsequent to the need a passion, an effective leader must also have a vision in mind. They must not lead aimlessly, but rather lead with direction. Nehemiah comes to mind where he led with the purpose of rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. Nehemiah shared his vision in order that all that were with them knew their purpose and what they were trying to pursue. I must give those under my care a specific direction in where I want them to be. I want them to be students

6 of the Bible, people of prayer, and loving servants to their neighbors around them. More so, I want them to realize that those in Christ have been promised eternal life based on the wonderful work of God through Jesus Christ. I don’t want them to simply know they are saved, but I want this thought to impact every part of their being. By seeing the future outcome of the internal inheritance they will receive, they will recognize that the cost they must pay is worth it. Romans 8:18 (NIV) states, “For I consider that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” I aim to make clear the vision to those that I teach what it is that we are striving towards, so that we will be more than willing to endure and obey the things God teaches even when it is very difficult. By casting vision, I will convince my congregation that the things they are presently suffering are overcome and very petty when put into perspective of the great glory that awaits us. In order to get people to follow Christ, I must show them the great promises that Christ has given us. By doing so, the application of what Jesus has called us to do on this earth will be clear. Nehemiah convinced his team that the wall of Jerusalem must be rebuilt and they worked diligently to that end even in the midst of much discouragement. In the same way I want to give people such a great knowledge of the glorious riches of what God has promised them that they will be able to endure to the end and with stand anything in order to follow what God has called them to do.

Forward-Thinking As he casts vision, an effective leader must also anticipate future setbacks and changes that he may be prepared to respond properly in all circumstances. In Genesis 41, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream that there would be years of abundance followed by years of famine. Joseph didn’t just rejoice in the years of abundance and enjoy their blessing, but rather he planned ahead and saved so that they may have food during the time of famine. Also, Jesus taught and prepared His disciples for the things to come after His death. As a leader, I must

7 prepare my congregation for suffering before it comes. I must recognize changes in the culture that need our ministry, and warn those under my care not to be wrongfully influenced by false teaching. I must recognize financial issues and have plans to recover in times where disaster strikes. For it is in those times of hardship where people need a leader the most. I must plan for multiple scenarios so that I will not be left shocked or unprepared, but rather ready to minister in all occasions no matter the circumstances that surround us. Sudden death, political turmoil, natural disasters, dissension in the church, and much more can threaten the church. As the leader, I must give wisdom and preach truth to teach the congregation to be faithful and loving in the midst of all sorts of hardship. Great leaders are ahead of the curve and must always be looking to ways to more effectively minister to the people in which they serve. By doing so, they will never get caught in complacency, but rather always be ready to effectively grow together in the body of Christ.

Teachable Another vital part of a great leader is that he should never cease to be a student. I should not only be keenly aware of my own gifts and abilities, but also recognize my great need to learn and improve. I must also realize that there are those in which I serve who have different natural gifts and abilities that can help build my own relationship with Christ. I will not ever have all the answers, but I can always be willing to learn more and more so that I can better serve my congregation. Proverbs 13:8 states, “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” Similarly, Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” These two Proverbs demonstrate that it is very wise to constantly heed advice and to always look to gain more knowledge. Any leader who deems themselves wise is not wise at all. In humility, all leaders should realize their lack of mastery over any subject and always be seeking to gain even more

8 knowledge that can help them improve. In order to be an effective leader I must constantly ask for feedback and advice from my peers. I must be an attentive listener to those around me who are teaching. I must always strive to grow deeper in my own personal study. I must also accept reproof from those around me, and realize that there are always great opportunities to grow. If our standard is holiness, then each one of us misses the mark every day. Yet, in my pursuit to become more like Christ each day I identify with my congregation who are pursuing the same things. Instead of coming off as “holier than though” and unapproachable, they will realize that I am striving to run the race with them. Thus, always considering myself as a student will help stave off pride that so often creeps into the lives of those in leadership positions. Understanding that we all are consistently growing, I can be more able to focus on the pursuit in which Christ has called me too. This will allow me to set an even greater example to those who are under my care and following my example.

Proactive A leader who shrinks back and is passive ceases to lead at all. Leaders need to be bold and actively pursue the things in which are valuable to them. I am going to be faced with many hard decisions and confrontations in my ministry. I have to be committed to the vision in which I set out and actively pursue the goals in which I wish to accomplish. Once again, Nehemiah didn’t just incessantly weep when he heard about Jerusalem. Rather, he went out and did something about it. Paul didn’t simply sit back and wait for Gentiles to come up to him and ask about his Gospel; he went out and spread the news. These men were committed to the things in which God entrusted to them. In the same way, I need to be active in my pursuit to build up of disciples of Christ. I will not merely sit back and wait for people to come to me and need help, but rather seek those out and make great efforts to be an intricate part of their life. I will not just remove myself from the conversation when difficult decisions have to be made, but rather I will

9 carefully pray and then be confident in the decision I make. Believers are to go reach people with the Gospel, not sit around and wait for people to ask them. Therefore, I must lead by example in giving my life to the cause in which I embody. I must go share the Gospel in the community, sacrifice my time to go meet the needs of people, and make a conscious effort to see people grow in their relationship with the Lord. Leaders desire to motivate, take charge, and handle the difficult challenges. They commit to taking the burden even when things are hard, and they certainly don’t act passively in pursuit of their ministry. I want to be relentless in my pursuit of what God has called me too and never be just sitting on my thumbs. As we fully rely on God, He has called us to be His instruments of righteousness here on this earth and as a leader I must actively engage those in order draw others nearer to Him.

Prayer Lastly, prayer is essential in the effectiveness of my leadership in ministry. The Biblical evidence of the time given to prayer by leaders in the Bible is very vast. Moses and Abraham consistently met with God. David poured out his heart to God. Paul constantly prays for those he ministers too. Nehemiah prayed before he made any decisions. Jesus constantly devoted Himself to prayer for His ministry. The reason leaders must commit themselves to prayer is because leaders must not trust in their own flesh to accomplish the purposes of their ministry, but rather they must trust in something so much greater. I understand that I do not have the power to make others more like Christ, to change their lives, or to give them any greater devotion to the Lord. Yet, the Holy Spirit that is constantly at work in me is more than powerful to do all these things and much more. That is why I must always submit myself and go to the Lord, seeking strength and power. Scripture also tells us of the faithfulness God has in answering our prayers. Luke 18 tells the parable of the persistent widow and shows that we are to continually ask God until Jesus returns. God hears our prayers and is faithful to answer our cries

10 to Him. Therefore, I must be bold in asking God and seeking His help in all things. As a leader, I must be bold and trust God to work powerfully within my ministry. John 15:5 says that anyone apart from Christ can do absolutely nothing. If I am not constantly devoted to prayer and reliance in Christ, no matter what my ministry looks like it will mean nothing. Jesus devoted Himself to prayer because He served God the Father in complete obedience in abiding to His will. This is the same goal and sense of purpose I want to have in my ministry. Leaders tend to have strengths and abilities that give them confidence in their own flesh, but they must understand that only through the power of God can they do anything of eternal value. Therefore, I hope to have a personal dependence and intimacy with God where I am constantly seeking the will He wants for my life.

Conclusion In my future ministry I desire to be a leader that is worthy of following. My goal is to constantly seek to think less of myself and to think more of God and His people that I may in some way serve them. I hope to show exemplary character, and be noted as a man of passion to the cause in which I pursue. I want to cast vision so that those in my congregation will know what we are focused on, and be always prepared for future changes. I want to be a student so that I never stop learning and growing towards Christ. I want to actively set out to pursue the things in which Christ has called me to do. I want to be a man of prayer and never rely on my own flesh, but rather constantly submit to strength and guidance from the Lord. I know all of these things cannot be perfected, but I pray that I rely on the Lord and passionately pursue these relationships that I may lead well in my pursuit to grow others to know and follow Jesus. While pursuing these things, teaching the Word, and loving others, I hope to remain faithful to the immeasurable power of God (Ephesians 3:20-21). Great leaders are rare, but I hope that the Lord uses me for His kingdom and His glory. These are but a few of the Biblical truths that point to

11 what a Godly leader should look like. However, I believe if I commit myself to these things then God can use me in mighty ways.