Expectations And Models Of Leadership

By Not Known

Management philosophies and techniques have infiltrated the church.  The pastor is now in danger of being seen as a CEO, visionary, strategist and manager instead of shepherd, spiritual teacher, preacher and discipler.  What used to be his study has now become his office. Instead of studying the Bible, he studies reports.  He is expected to be good at administration, accounting, team-leading and organization as well as counselling, outreach and pastoral care. We want him to be task-oriented as well as people-oriented.  He is expected to be a “Jack-of-all (management) trades”.  All these expectations are foisted on him and they can become an unbearable weight.  But how about what God has called him/her uniquely to be and do?  What are his strengths and spiritual gifts which God has given him to build up the body of Christ?  Can any one pastor be expected to be good at everything that is part of modern-day church life?  And is there help forthcoming in those areas where he/she is not strong?  For our new team of pastors, I certainly hope so.
It’s interesting that the term “Moderator” seems to be used less and less in Presbyterian churches these days.  “Senior Minister/Pastor” is far more common because many churches have more than one pastor and the term bestows seniority.  The title “Moderator” was used occasionally by Calvin until 1559 when it became formalised in the Reformed Church of France as the title given to the chairman of all official church gatherings. It seems to have been adopted to emphasise the equality of all elders in leadership – he was “first among equals” and most certainly not one who should dominate the meeting or the members of that court.  The Moderator’s role was a reaction against the Episcopal bishops. or popes   He was also to “moderate” meetings so that the decisions would be balanced and not dominated by any one leader or group.  Certainly the New Testament always speaks of elders in the plural: it never was nor is a one-man show!
Another model which the NT emphasises is “servant-leadership” – the leader instead of lording it over others, took the lowest position to serve.
“Many cultural models of leadership are incompatible with the servant imagery taught and exhibited by the Lord Jesus.  In Africa it is the tribal chief, in Latin America the machismo (exaggerated masculinity) of the Spanish male, in East Asia the Confucian legacy of the teacher’s unchallengeable authority and in Britain the British Raj mentality, overbearing pride associated with colonial rule.  These models are not congruous with His spirit of love and gentleness.” (John Stott)
Mk 10:44f “Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve..”  Leaders and pastors must follow the example of the greatest Servant of all.



Graham Ng