04 September 2009

What are you looking for in a leader?

One of my mentors, Rick Whitney, while compiling a paper on leadership, asked a number of pastors "What are you looking for in a leader?" Here was my response:
My eyes light up when I see a happy, humble man. They light up for two reasons; 1) a happy, humble man is rare and 2) happy, humble man will bear much fruit. Paul was happy and humble and thought it was "reasonable" that every man be the same when considering the profound implications of the Gospel (Phil. 4:4-5).

By "happy" I mean a man who is thrilled with his salvation and his God. And his happiness is gritty. It is not some flighty, unreliable happiness that depends on the fragile arrangement of right circumstances. The happiness I am looking for comes from the enduring message of Christ and him crucified and therefore it endures. Too many men whine about their less-than-perfect circumstances while disregarding their perfect Savior. That rare man with gritty happiness will attract others to his source of happiness and he will have the lifeblood to finish well. That man is a blessing to the church.

By humble I don't mean a man that thinks himself lowly, I mean a man who thinks less about himself. Plenty of men spend far too much time fussing over their failure and frailty - all the while caring for no one. This is "refined" narcissism and bears no good fruit. There are plenty men who think more highly of themselves then they ought, but they are much easier to spot. Both forms of self-centeredness make a man unteachable and, therefore, unchanging. Real humility is subtle but it will be attended with supernatural power (1 Peter 5:5). Power every church needs.

The prevailing weakness in the church is a shortage of grittily happy and self-forgetful men ready to lead. Therefore we must be experts on what makes a man so. Simply, he remains in the vine. His life's passion is to know Christ and have fellowship with him. The greater a man knows the Gospel and knows his Savior the greater his happy humility and the greater his fruit. It is a promise from our Savior.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15.4-5)

And I, when I came to you, brothers,did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2.1-2)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15.3-4)

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3.8-11)
Happy, humility - that's what I look for in a leader.


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