Three Self-Evident Principles of Christian Leadership (A Guest Post)

3 200cWe learn more through our failures than our successes.

I don’t want that to be true. But it is.

Today’s post was written by a long-time friend who, like me, has had his share of frustrations in ministry.

Lee Fruh (pronounced Free) has the rare gift of taking those frustrations, hurts and downright failures and, not just learning from them, but writing about them in a way that speaks to your heart. 

In today’s guest post, he outlines three principles that are so simple we may not feel that that we have to be reminded of them. But we do. And Lee does so with grace and compassion.


There have been some amazing Christian leaders in the Body of Christ over the past few decades. Their words and examples have taught us how to build and administrate organizations. This has been useful information.

I confess though, that about half-way through this era of leadership, my mind went on overload. I am not a natural leader, so when my shelves bowed with books enumerating the 7 and the 10 and the 12 and the 20 principles of leadership, I became overwhelmed.

During that time, I was the pastor of a youth church. We had dozens of young people who needed spiritual leadership. I wanted to be a faithful leader. But I didn’t even know where to begin applying the myriad of principles bouncing around in my brain.

In desperation, I cried out to God: “Please, Father, You know me. I have significant limitations. And yet these young people need to be led. Show me a simple way to do it.” God, being gracious, and willing to work with me despite my frailties, spoke these thoughts into my heart. When He did, the light went on. 

With respect and humility, I pass the thoughts on to you. I call them the Three Self-Evident Principles of Christian Leadership. But if you want, you can call them Christian Leadership Principles for Dummies, by a Dummy.

 

Principle #1: Christian Leaders Lead

This needs to be said because we live in a culture where some leaders feel that it is good leadership to merely gather a crowd around themselves.

Leadership, by definition, takes people somewhere.

The word implies motion, progression. So we as Christian leaders have to ask ourselves where our people are, and where they are supposed to be. This leads us to the next principle…

 

Principle #2: Christian Leaders Lead People Closer to Christ

Boiled down to its most basic form, this is our task as Christian leaders.

In thirty years of ministry, I have allowed myself to get caught up in doing other good things that are not essentially this.

For instance, I have tried to…

  • Build buildings
  • Build organizations
  • Fix people’s marriages
  • Fix people’s finances
  • Fix people’s politics
  • And much, much more

I wonder if I would have spent more time leading people into an intimate relationship with Christ, would He have taken care of most or all of the above issues by His creative and transforming power?

But maybe the fact that I got off track as a leader was a sign that I had lost focus in my own life.

Which leads me to the final principle…

 

Principle #3 Christian Leaders Get There First

It is one thing to prove by exegesis that God is good and a relationship with Him will make life everything it was meant to be. It’s another thing to evidence this by my demeanor and actions.

I can quote Paul, Brother Lawrence, Henri Nouwen and Hannah Whitall Smith all day long about the sweetness of God’s presence and the truth of His Word. But nothing persuades like someone who has first-hand experience.

Again, I’m no expert, but it seems to me the most effective leaders don’t point the way. Rather, they say, “Follow me!”

It’s not that spiritual leaders have it all together. On the contrary, we realize that we are at least as messed up as these folks we have been tasked to lead. Thus we are first to plunge under the flow of His awesome grace. Then, with the grateful smile of a redeemed ragamuffin, we can say, “Come on in, the water’s great!”

These thoughts have given me hope that anyone who is called to lead, from the megachurch pastor to the father of the family of three, can lead.

God does not call us to do that for which He does not resource us.

He receives glory when we bear fruit, so He will bless our efforts to lead people closer to Christ. This we can count on, whether we are endued with the aptitude for great leadership, or simply have a heart that desires to be faithful.

 

So what do you think? Do you have any self-evident Christian leadership principles you would add to this list?

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(3 photo from welshkaren • Flickr • Creative Commons)

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2 thoughts on “Three Self-Evident Principles of Christian Leadership (A Guest Post)”

  1. Great post!!! It is good to get back to the basic center of things when it comes to leading because it is so easy to get caught up in things that we were never really called to do. Sometimes this happens out of necessity, I mean lets face it: As a pastor you are going to have to wear a lot of hats that are uncomfortable. In my case, I am planting a Church, and the center of who I am is really wrapped up in writing, preparing, and then giving my sermons. It feeds me, and I know from experience that I am good at it and it feeds other people and helps them grow closer to God. That’s not meant to be a boast, not at all, it’s just unique to my wiring that is all. I am a big picture, vision, and encouraging kind of person. So whether it be in teaching, or in one to one pastoral stuff, that is where I feel at home and feel like I am being used by God…But…as a Church planter, I have to deal with finances, and planning other ministry endeavors, and blah blah blah. And I have to tell you, I am beat…I am tired…I am worn out…and somedays I just feel lost.

    So today, I am reminded of the core of it all:
    Leaders Lead…I am in many respects “in front” and I have to recognize the responsibility of that position.

    Leaders lead others closer to God…Everything we do has a purpose, and if what we are doing isn’t leading people closer and closer to God, then we are failing. Moreover, its freeing (I know that sounds weird) to know that my leading is a relational thing. I am not responsible for anything else than living close to God so that I can help people come alongside me closer to him. I don’t need to worry about being more creative, or coming up with a plan to boost attendance, or get the coolest thing going for our kids, or find a rocking worship leader…I just need need to stay close to God so that the people who come alongside me can get close to him to

    But, I have to get there first…Ultimately, all of this is worthless crap if I am not working on my own relationship with God, that’s where leadership flows from. It flows from the vibrance of my own walk with God.

    Great post

  2. AMEN!
    There’s an OLD song…can’t even remember who sings it…talks about people building edifices for God and doing all these seemingly “grand” things but the chorus said something like, “When it’s all been said, when it’s all been done, He’ll ask me, “Did you go My way child? Did you know My Son?”
    True CHRISTIAN leadership is getting people to KNOW GOD’s SON better.
    David Wilkerson once said that on paper a minister could really look like he’s got everything together: attendance is up, money in the bank, ministries every night, new building in the works…and all the while he’s cheating on his wife.
    Someday we’ll get it in our heads that it’s REALLY not about the externals…

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