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The casualty rate in our spiritual battle to scandal or burnout is very high. Will you or your organisation be next? Apart from damaging leaders themselves, these hurt followers and discredit our faith. Even small mistakes can undermine our moral authority with the devil and the world. Credibility lost is often never recovered. How do we make sure ourselves or our leaders aren't next? The devil targets leaders because he knows how much damage he can do. Samson and Solomon in the Bible are tragic examples of leaders who started out well, but didn't finish well. Most fall due to money, sex or power. As Christians because we know all men are sinful (Romans 7:18), we assume a pessimistic view of human nature. Thus leaders need self-discipline, checks and balances to protect themselves and others from their desires and foolishness. We must take precautions in both our personal lives and in our organisations. Those that don't are like a Ferrari without brakes. They can go faster than others, but can't stop - and thus crash. Likewise leaders and organisations without these precautions may look like they are doing very well - but when they hit a problem, they are at much higher risk of being destroyed by them. The larger and more powerful your work, the more careful you need to be.
remain plugged in to our source of power. It also means repenting quickly and fully when we make mistakes. • We need close Christian friends to share responsibility, workload, problems and consult on major decisions. Somebody must know what is happening in our lives, so they can warn us if we go off track. We must find personal friends, close coworkers, prayer supporters and mentors. Senior leaders can easily become isolated and lose these. We must also pray for and warn our friends and co-workers. • Our personal moral boundaries must be set far from the absolute Biblical limits, especially where we are weak. • Set limits to giving in our work, except in extreme circumstances, to avoid draining of finances, emotions and health. • Stick to what God has called us to do and not be distracted (2 Timothy 2:4). • Don't seek more power than needed to do what God has called us to do. • Keep trying to develop additional qualities of virtue (2 Peter 1:3-10). • Avoid arrogance (Proverbs 16:18) and not see ourselves as above challenge or beyond temptation. The disciplines of selfhumbling through fasting, praying prostrate on the floor; periodically doing menial work; reporting to authorities and confessing sin can help keep us safer.
• Our relationship to God needs to be maintained as a priority above all else. This includes the disciplines of daily personal prayer, Bible study and worship (in addition to that for our ministry). Successful leaders suggest at least an hour a day (longer when in intense spiritual conflict) in order to
Our organisations must be built on the assumption that humans leaders are weak material. Many organisations deceive themselves with superficial defences that fail in practice because sinful leaders can easily get around them. • Accountability structures protect finances and decision-making. People who
can really hold the leader accountable are those who are independent (not financially dependent or family). They must have the competence to advise; the interest to keep informed and the courage to confront. They need formalised status and procedures to do so. Otherwise they may be fearful and fail to challenge the leader when needed. • To communicate properly, everyone in an accountability relationship must be easily contactable; transparent; willing to answer questions, make suggestions and follow up issues. If accountability authorities do not know what the person is doing, for example through reports and meetings, they are just symbolic and cannot do their job properly. • Multiple-accountability helps protect against mistakes or collusion. Keeping peer leaders informed of all planned decisions and activities and checking each-others work can help avoid stupid mistakes. • Written records help hold leaders accountable to their own word and decisions. These include: statements of faith; policies; periodic reports; rules; minutes; constitutions; accounting records; and agreements such as employment contracts - which enable others to challenge the leader. Otherwise leaders can easily change their minds; break promises and be ambiguous, forgetful, non-committal or confused. Public verbal agreements and reports have a similar purpose. • Organisations must enforce discipline against members and leaders who sin. This must be done according to fair and agreed procedures, rather than discretion, which can be manipulated for selfish ends. • As part of the Kingdom of God organisations must be accountable to other biblical Christian organisations for example, networks, local fraternals or denominations, which can question and challenge their beliefs and practices. Even partly isolated communities, groups or denominations easily go off the rails. • Organisations must seek to build character in people and not just achieve goals, visions and projects. • Discourage idolatry of leaders. • Where people are at risk of compromise, set safety rules or guidelines. Please copy, distribute and donate
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How do we prevent leaders crashing2.doc
• Organisations like individuals need committed prayer supporters who know what is happening.
Identify delusional excuses
The following dangerous lies of the devil delude lots of Christian leaders into thinking they are safe, when they are not. Each applies equally to individual leaders, leadership teams and followers: • Overconfidence and pride: We are the voice of morality; the ones who stand for right and thus can't do wrong. • I have Gods call and destiny on my life. God will fulfil it no matter what I do. • Our leader helps us decide what is ethical. Therefore, what he says and does must not be questioned. We are safe following him and need not think for ourselves or listen to outsiders or followers. • We, the leaders in this area, are more knowledgeable and superior. Followers that question us undermine our status. • The end justifies the means: It is God's will for us to get this. Therefore, it doesn't matter too much how we go about getting it. Any opportunity must be God helping us and in the will of God. Or our cause is so just that any way we try to achieve it is justified. • Trivialising sin: I have done so much good for God, that even though I may have faults - my good deeds more than compensate for my sins. God will excuse these faults, so holiness is not so important. • Yes, this is a problem; I will deal with it some time in future. I have such important work to do that I can't slow down to deal with this. God is concerned rather about big things like my vision and projects - not small issues like my worldly behaviour. These excuses may sound ridiculous, but lots get blinded by them and we can too. Did you see some missing defences in your personal life or organisation? If so, think about how you can add some ideas. Discuss them with your leader. They may not stop all crashes, but they will help a lot. Issued by: ChristianView Network
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