Being called a leader does not make you a leader. In the church there are many leaders – some called elders – who are not leaders in the least. They have simply been asked to be a leader; appointed as a leader; have always been a leader as long as anyone can remember; assumed leadership because there was a vacuum in that realm.
Leadership is influence and if you are not influencing the direction of the local church then you are not a leader. You may have a few ‘groupies’ following you but that does not mean you are influencing the future of the church. In fact, it may be that you are simply hindering the local church from reaching its future. A leader is someone who can turn around and see the people they are impacting and that their labour among the saints is actually making a difference. If you think you are a leader and no one is following – you are simply out for a walk.
The Bible states that leadership (rulership) is a gift given by our Heavenly Father to some (Romans 12:8). That means many do not have this calling and gifting. And, if they don’t, then true disciples will not follow them as they are known b y their gift and leadership / leading is just not there.
There are too many self-appointed leaders within the church today and thus it often does not move forward and never achieves God’s desired future and plan for the local body of believes. People are given or assume the title of leader but have no spiritual gifting – and thus no spiritual authority – to lead. It is prevalent in many places where I work.
A leader needs to be able to see the big picture of the Kingdom while at the same time seeing the smaller picture of the role of the local church within that big picture. A leader needs to be able to see the “final product” that Jesus is building – the glorious church – and so be moving in tandem with the Lord of the Church. A leader needs to be strong and able to gather facts and opinions and, after consulting with others, make a decision and stick to it regardless.
A leader does not need the approval of the people but seeks for God’s approval. A leader can take a hard stand for what is right and handle, with the grace of God, the blowback from that stand. A leader has a strong personality and is able to make decisions on behalf of the people they lead without always defaulting to their own desires and opinions. A leader seeks for unity among the leaders team and the church in general. A leader is future looking and not enamoured by the past always wanting to repeat what was … and holds what was in such a high regard when really it was not all that great to start with. A leader is not afraid to express his own opinion and to confront those who are causing disunity and simply hindering progress. A leader is not looking to “keep the peace” because Jesus calls us “peacemakers” and not “peacekeepers.” A leader is apt to teach God’s Word – not their opinion, their preferences, and not strange “other gospels” that are so prevalent in the Church today.
It is time for many who call themselves elders / leaders to step down, resign, and stop hindering the movement of the Spirit. It is also time for those with a genuine call to leadership to step up and lead.