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Spiritual Leadership: Section 10 - The Leaders Pitfalls and Problems (Part 1)

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Spiritual Leadership: Section 10 - The Leaders Pitfalls and Problems (Part 1)

  1. 1. Section 10 - The Leader’s Pitfalls & Rewards Group Activity: Create a one- page visual summary of the leader’s pitfalls. Study chapter 10-11 in Blackaby Study chapters 20-22 in Sanders
  2. 2. REPRODUCING LEADERS J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, Chapter 20
  3. 3. 2 Tim 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
  4. 4. If a leader is to fully carry out the trust the Lord has given him then he has to train and develop leaders who will succeed and possibly supersede him. Barnabas is seen positively when Paul, his protege, goes on beyond him and becomes the dominant team member.
  5. 5. As a team leader would you be prepared to offer opportunities for those you lead to exercise and develop their abilities? Would you give young people the chance to feel the burden of leadership, to take initiative and to make the final decision in situations? Will you give full credit and let them make mistakes?
  6. 6. One Asian said of Western missionaries, “Today they should be less of a performer and more of a trainer.” However training leaders is a delicate task. Bishop Stephen Neill commented,
  7. 7. If we set out to produce a race of leaders, what we shall succeed in doing is probably to produce a race of restless, ambitious and discontented intellectuals.  To tell a man he is called to be a leader is the best way of ensuring his spiritual ruin, since in the Christian world ambition is more deadly than any other sin, and if yielded to, makes a man unprofitable in the ministry. The most important thing today is the spiritual, rather than the intellectual, quality of those indigenous [Neill's life work was training national missionaries] Christians who are called to bear responsibility in the younger churches.
  8. 8. Leslie Newbigin questioned whether it was good to use the word leadership in Christian circles as it had bad connotations with the non-Christian world. He suggested saints and servants were needed not “leaders” - forget service and the whole are of leadership is dangerous. We must follow the example of Jesus with the 12.
  9. 9. Perhaps the most strategic and fruitful work of modern missionaries is to help leaders of tomorrow develop their spiritual potential.  This task requires careful thought, wise planning, endless patience, and genuine Christian love.  It cannot be haphazard or ill- conceived.  Our Lord devoted the greater part of His three years of ministry to molding the characters and spirits of His disciples.
  10. 10. Paul trained Timothy for the church in Ephesus - his method is instructive. Timothy was about 20 when Paul became his friend - he tended to melancholy, and was too tolerant of and partial to people of rank. He could be irritable with opponents.  He was apt to rely on old spiritual experiences rather than kindle the flame of daily devotion.
  11. 11. But Paul had high hopes for him and set about correcting his timid nature, to replace softness with steel. Paul led Timothy to experiences and hardships that toughened his character. Paul did not hesitate to assign him tasks beyond his present powers.
  12. 12. Traveling with Paul brought Timothy into contact with men of stature and character. He learned to meet triumphantly the crises that Paul considered routine.  Paul shared with Timothy the work of preaching.  Paul gave him the responsibility of establishing a group of Christians at Thessalonica.  Paul's exacting standards, high expectations, and heavy demands brought out the best in Timothy, saving him from mediocrity.
  13. 13. Paul Rees describes the experience of Douglas Hyde, one-time Communist but later a convert to Christ, as recorded in Hyde's book, Dedication and Leadership Techniques: one story connected with his Communist years - involves a young man who came to Hyde and announced that he wanted to be made into a leader.  "I thought, I had never seen anyone look less like a leader in my life.  He was short, grotesquely fat, with a great, flabby, wide uninteresting face...
  14. 14. ...He had a cast in one eye, and spoke with a most distressing stutter." What happened?  Well, instead of turning him away as a hopeless prospect, Hyde gave him a chance - a chance to study, to learn, to test his dedication, to smooth out his stutter.  In the end he became a leader in one of the most Communist-infiltrated labour unions in Britain.
  15. 15. Frank Buchman, founder of Moral Rearmament, displayed many leadership gifts.  He claimed that if he failed to train others to do his work better than he did it, he had failed.  For many years, he worked to make himself dispensable, a rare agenda for a founder.
  16. 16. Developing leaders, for the development of new churches will greatly depend on the spiritual caliber of the local Christians.  Once the pioneer stage in any field has passed, the training of leadership should take high priority. Always allow room for the unusual person. God has His "irregulars," many of them have made outstanding contributions to world evangelization - these cannot be measured by ordinary standards or made to conform to any fixed pattern.
  17. 17. Leadership training cannot be done on a mass scale.  It requires patient, careful instruction and prayerful, personal guidance over a considerable time.  "Disciples are not manufactured wholesale.  They are produced one by one, because someone has taken the pains to discipline, to instruct and enlighten, to nurture and train one that is younger."
  18. 18. PERILS OF LEADERSHIP J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, Chapter 21
  19. 19. “…so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:27 The perils of the spiritual leader are subtle. He is by no means immune to the temptations of the flesh, but the dangers most to be guarded against lie in the realm of the spirit. Satan will take advantage of every inch of ground he concedes in any area of his life.
  20. 20. 1. PRIDE Pride is a sin that makes God take second seat in our lives - Rising in position means an increased temptation to become proud. the Lord detests all the proud of heart. Prov 16:5 3 Tests help us identify pride: The Test of Precedence: How do we react when another is selected or promoted, when their gifts seem greater?
  21. 21. The Test of Sincerity: Do you realistically know your weaknesses and faults? How do you respond when others identify them? The Test of Criticism: How do we respond to our critics - do you resent the comment and justify yourself ? “Of the myriad forms that sin assumes, none is more abhorrent than spiritual pride. To be proud of spiritual gifts that God has bestowed or of the position to which His love and grace have elevated us, is to forget that grace is a gift, and that all we have has been received.”
  22. 22. 2. EGOTISM This is the practice of thinking or speaking of ones self rather than to God, magnifying your own achievements not God’s. • Do I reflect the ugliness of egotism or the transfigured glory of Christ the Lord?
  23. 23. Robert Louis Stevenson told the story of a Muslim veiled prophet who was a great teacher and light among the people of his day. He wore a veil, he said, because his countenance was so glorious none could bear the sight of his face. But, eventually the veil decayed and fell away revealing nothing but an ugly old man.
  24. 24. Stevenson stressed that, however high the truths the preacher taught, and however skillful he might excuse the blemishes of his character, the time comes when the veil falls away, and a man is seen by people as he really is.
  25. 25. 3. JEALOUSY Describing the leader who is envious of rivals. Are you jealous of others who do things better than you - are you unable to avoid being critical of others who are at the same level as you? Gods work in others is to be encouraged, not snuffed out.
  26. 26. Num11:27-29 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”
  27. 27. 4. POPULARITY Most leaders like to be well spoken of - it is not a great testimony if all speak badly of you! Jesus said “Woe onto you when all men speak well of you.” It is tempting for spiritual leaders to build a personality cult - Paul saw this danger at Corinth 1Cor 3:7
  28. 28. We should esteem leaders for their work and ministry - but be careful not to adore them. Leaders can be appreciated but not idolized. Any fervor or loyalty people might have for the leader should be fastened to Jesus Popularity is the most dangerous spiritual state…It leads to easy to pride.
  29. 29. Bishop Stephen Neill said, in an address to theological students, "Popularity is the most dangerous spiritual state imaginable, since it leads on so easily to the spiritual pride which drowns men in perdition. It is a symptom to be watched with anxiety since so often it has been purchased at the too heavy price of compromise with the world."
  30. 30. The dangers of popularity and success were constantly before Spurgeon in his ministry. Success exposes a man to the pressure of people and thus tempts him to hold on to his gains by means of fleshly methods and practices, and to let himself be ruled wholly by the dictatorial demands of incessant expansion. Success can go to my head, and will unless I remember that it is God who accomplishes the work, that He can continue to do so without my help, and that He will be able to make out with other means whenever He cuts me down to size.
  31. 31. 5. INFALLIBILITY Spirituality does not guarantee infallible judgement the Spirit filled person is less likely to make mistakes but perfection eludes us all There is a belief that a senior discerning leader can’t be wrong. Remember even the apostles made mistakes!
  32. 32. Leaders are people of prayer and seeking God - sometimes this brings an inability to admit the potential to make mistakes. - Leaders must have strength & decisiveness… But be willing to concede when they are wrong - Deferring to others judgement is a sign of strength and will win allies. - Followers lose confidence leaders who believe themselves to be infallible.
  33. 33. 6. INDISPENSABILITY Many Christian leaders cling to authority long after it should be passed to younger. Often this results in younger people being held back, and being given no chance to grow and develop.
  34. 34. On many occasions we find the ego of the leader concerned is fed by some around them encouraging them to think they are indispensable - this makes it even harder for them to let go. We become less objective about our work as we get older. From your earliest days in a job it is good to be seeing out potential successors.
  35. 35. On many occasions we find the ego of the leader concerned is fed by some around them encouraging them to think they are indispensable - this makes it even harder for them to let go. We become less objective about our work as we get older. From your earliest days in a job it is good to be seeing out potential successors.
  36. 36. 7. ELATION AND DEPRESSION We all have days of joy and disappointment - we have to be careful to get the balance right between the two - discovering a balance of temperament through highs and lows is critical. Luke 10:20 Elijah was depressed after the battle at Mount Carmel - 1Kings 18
  37. 37. God told him to have two good sleeps and two good meals - then the spiritual lessons began. His discouragement was baseless - 7000 had not bowed to Baal, and running away removed the leadership the Israelites needed. We have to face reality in leadership: - Not all our dreams will be realised - people will disappoint us - sickness will happen
  38. 38. - sacrifices will be thought of as selfish gestures - bad things happen! All men of God face the possibility of getting low when things are not good. Learning to trust God when things are difficult is imperative for the spiritual leader. “If successful don’t crow, if defeated don’t croak.” Samuel Chadwick
  39. 39. 8. PROPHET OR LEADER Sanders talks about a preacher with gifts of leadership who will come to a fork in the path - does he follow the path of a popular leader or unpopular prophet? Often the roles overlap but situations develop in which you have to choose pastoral leadership or prophetic declaration.
  40. 40. If he seeks to be prophet and a leader, is apt to make a failure of both. It was written of RA Torrey, “The thousands who have heard Dr. Torrey know the man and his message. He loves the Bible, believing it to be the infallible Word of God, preaching it with the fervour of red-hot conviction. He never compromises. He has chosen to be a prophet of God rather than a mere leader of men and that is the secret of his power with God and men.”
  41. 41. 10. DISQUALIFICATION No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Cor 9:27 Paul was carefully concerned with not being disqualified - Greek word meaning metal not suitable for use as coins - below standard.
  42. 42. Two aspects - what was preached and use of his body. The body requires rigorous self discipline to guard against sin. Added to this bodily error were the obvious doctrinal and ethical errors which might be entered into. Paul exercised disciplined moderation in his body - do you?
  43. 43. Are there any perils you succumb to more readily than others? Have you set up some accountability and prayer to help overcome such things?
  44. 44. How do you feel about Paul’s concern over disqualification - how can such thoughts help and hinder?