Category Archives: Leadership

Leadership – Christ-like gets the best out of followers

Lord Loudoun’s effort to get men from the colonies to build an army against Louisburg and other battles failed badly in 1757.   The colonial governors refused to raise the necessary quotas.  As 1758 began, Massachusetts led the opposition.

Little wonder:  Loudoun’s aristocratic arrogance coupled with his equally arrogant, unilateral decisions offended all the governors.  They finally determined among themselves what they would contribute to Loudoun’s demands.  The infuriated Lord summoned the governors of New England, New York and New Jersey to Hartford, February 20, 1758.  He criticized them for their impertinence and harangued them to comply with his goals.

When the Massachusetts governor protested that his colony wouldn’t tolerate the Lord’s dictation, Loudoun forgot himself and his position, lost his patience, rose and stomped out.  He thought this show of temper would get their attention and change their mind.

It did neither.

Then, March 10, 1758, the Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Pownall, received two letters from Secretary of State William Pitt in London.  The first one said that Loudoun had been relieved of his position as Commander-in-Chief.  The second urged Pownall and all other colonial governors to use their personal influence to raise as many men as each colony could provide.  The key to the correspondence was the new strategy England used.  The colonies were to be considered more equal to their British counterparts, with soldiers under their own colonial officers.  The letter also informed the colonials that the Crown would buy the needed military equipment and supplies, in addition to reimbursing them for “other expenses.”

Wholesale changes occurred in the colonies.  Because they would receive more equal authority in combat; because the Crown would pay more of the expenses; because they were considered more like equals with Great Britain against France, Massachusetts voluntarily agreed to enlist 7,000 men for Abercrombie where it wouldn’t agree to enlist 2,128 men for Commander-in-Chief Loudoun.  War That Made America, pp. 119-122

The British leaders realized the need of concessions to the colonies in 1758.  Only 12 years later they had resumed Lord Loudoun’s authoritarianism.  They could have learned from Pitt’s conciliation in 1758 to placate America.  Instead they chose war and lost America.

First spiritual principle.  Concessions are often necessary where humans interact with each other.  Even where some lead and others follow.  Wise Christian leaders know when to offer them.  Second spiritual principle.  It never applies when humans interact with God.  In every situation, God rules; we obey.  God demands; we comply.  God determines; we trust.  Third spiritual principle.  That being true, Jesus nevertheless proved the greatest leader ever by seeing himself as the Great Shepherd, not the Great Sheepherder.  Leading by example, not force.  By going ahead, not following.  By caring for his sheep, not victimizing them.  Jesus could get more out of a person in his approach than 10,000 with their own.

 

 

Only those resistant to his Grace consider him Unfair.  Every person accepting him, his rule, his demands, his authority, experiences Love, Joy, Peace, Righteousness.  Indeed, they will do anything he wants because they know he always cares, always provides, always forgives.  He’s our Friend, even though “he is the King.”  He’s our Brother, even though he’s God’s One and Only Son.  “Whatever you want, Lord, say the word.  We’re ready to serve.”

 

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Leadership – Christian needs concern for all disciples

A daunting challenge faced a suddenly United Germany when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.  The change forced a shotgun wedding between a robust West German and an anemic Communist-inspired East German economy. Heeding the advice of critics, Germany combined institutional investment with innovative large and small business development to fuel vigorous nationwide recovery.  Germany as a whole progressed.  Building permits soared, real estate prices boomed, wages ranked among the highest in the European Union.

Nevertheless, according to 2013 statistics, former East Germany lagged behind former West Germany—with lower incomes, higher unemployment, less industrial infrastructure and fewer companies with corporate headquarters.  Most alarmingly, the East’s work force continued to shrink as employable citizens moved westward in the nation.  Internet, September, 2016.

Christian leaders can learn from this example.  First, churches that change directions upward seldom carry all their people with them at the same speed to the same level.  Which leaves a number of members lagging behind somewhere in the vacuum between the church’s stagnation and resurgence.

Second, leaders can respond in one of three ways.  They can see disciples as athletes in a race.  The fast get to maturity first, the slow eventually.  This has the disadvantage of unbridged gaps between the advanced and struggling Christian.  They can see disciples as ships in a convoy.  The fastest vessel travels only as fast as the slowest.  The danger in this view is the drag effect.  It gives God’s Enemy the opportunity to target slower members into dragging everyone else slower still.  Or, targeting the faster members into dismissing the importance of others.  The effect either develops a medium of little progress or divides the congregation into achievers and wannabees.

They can also forge a synthesis of the race and convoy figures.  That encourages those willing and able to mature in Christ.  It also gives pastoral help to those whose lifestyle, personal obstacles or downright laziness keeps them creeping along.  It involves the Holy Spirit in the maturation.  Where the Spirit works and leads, growth occurs inevitably, even if more slowly in some than in others.  It at least keeps the entire body moving toward greater maturity in Christ as it tolerates the differences in people.  Personal counsel will yield results, if pastors offer no-nonsense challenges to under-achievers.  If the person helped refuses to step livelier, only then should effort to encourage at least be suspended, if not abandoned.  God’s work advances even if we choose to be left behind.

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Leadership – should always support Biblical morality

President Obama’s desire to build and dedicate a national monument to the gay, lesbian and trans-gender movement violates every principle of political leadership.  San Diego U-T, 5/4/16.  Only a person so far to the left he ignores 3000 years of Biblical revelation to support immorality would make such a decision.  When any public official takes a public stand for what God proscribes, and works to make that behavior admirable, he becomes an anti-Christ figure.  Not THE anti-Christ, mind you.  Obama could never be that important.  But he’s still doing THAT anti-Christ’s work, with his anti-Biblical stance.  Bible-Christians, of any political party, must denounce his actions.  Consider this at least one Bible Christian’s denunciation!

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Leadership – decides

Disaster threatened General Scott’s army in the Mexican War battle of Buena Vista.  While his right held, his left, savaged by masses of infantry and cavalry, began to bend, then break, then flee.

On the plateau above, General Wool surveyed the unfolding tragedy and shouted to Taylor, “General, we are whipped.”  Taylor snapped, “That is for me to determine.”  By sending Jefferson Davis’s Mississippians forward, with the 3rd Indiana, he stabilized the line and blasted the enemy’s advance with shot and shell.  Rogue’s March, 192-193

 Leadership knows when to quit.  It also knows when to continue.  Difficulties themselves don’t determine.  Others may want to quit when things get tough, or life goes bad, or foes multiply, but only the leader can make that call.

Christians, Jesus has never made that call.  Hasn’t made it now.  Will never make it in the future.  We will never hear him say, “You’ve had enough.  Pull back.”

We need that encouragement.  With Satanic forces recklessly confident from so many legal and societal victories.  With many Christians breaking ranks with believers to compromise spiritual truth.  With faithful Bible-believers fleeing vocal and public confrontations to seek refuge in their sanctuaries.  Never have God’s courageous words in Philippians 1:27-30 been so heartening.  As any show of cowardice on our part emboldens the wicked, any expression of fearlessness in proclaiming Jesus Christ terrifies them.

We gain boldness as we witness for Jesus, and Satan trembles.  If we only will see opposition to Christ’s message as his legacy to us, not God’s punishment of us.  Then, we can, with Paul in Philippians, “stand firm…without being frightened…by those who oppose you.”  Then we can, with Paul in Ephesians 6:10-18, “to stand.  Stand firm then….”  That very fearlessness is God’s assurance of success.

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