Leadership/Follower-ship – Pastor Bill Lewis

If you are in leadership, you always face the problem of follower-ship. Leading has the idea of taking someone or something forward, toward a goal, a destination. These destinations can be personal growth, spiritual growth, financial growth, corporate growth. They can also be stability, long term health, healing of mind or body, education, or character development.
Being a leader in the church is not easy. It is really a long term project. Most business models expect company leaders to grow the bottom line. Aggressive companies look to grow the company by 20% annually. It is difficult to sustain that kind of margin for many years. So, usually there are periods of great expansion and then years of plateau and then some years of decline or loss of market share. The church is a complex organism. It brings together people who have all the frailties of humanity gathered together to worship God. There is a huge humanitarian element involved in church. There is an expectation of the members to be fed from the Bible, to speak the truth, but not too harshly. The church is meant to offer hope, grace, and love. The leaders are expected to be gracious, truth speakers without being too judgmental; yet not so soft that there is compromise of truth and morals.
The church leaders have people coming who have formed their opinions about most everything and expect a certain validation of those opinions. The church then becomes a mix of varied theological opinions, some of which have been derived, not from the Bible, but from books written that favor a certain view without consideration of opposing views. Often, there are those who feel they have arrived rather than being pilgrims in the pursuit of God. Leaders are constantly dealing with the balance of word and spirit, written truth and personal revelation, law and grace, end times and daily victory.
As in any human organization, the leaders are honored, respected or accused, second guessed, or openly criticized. Such is the nature of leadership. The church is a human organization that is divinely ordained and supported by the Holy Spirit. When it becomes solely human, the Holy Spirit makes corrections or moves on. Always those who leave their current church like to vilify their previous church as having been abandoned by the Lord. Yet, the previous church seems to move on and prosper without those individuals. The plan of God is much bigger than our opinions or preciously held doctrines. The primary job of leadership is to be faithful to the word of God and the Holy Spirit. How this is accomplished is the question to which we are constantly seeking the answer. One thing I have learned is that to attempt to please everyone is a prescription for disaster. Leadership must lead. Following the principles for church in the Scriptures provides guidelines, but execution can take various forms which may be necessary for the context.
When leaders lead there is an immediate response from the followers. Some are glad that there is finally a direction and embrace it and flow with the leadership. Others find the direction unappealing for reasons which are usually personal. These tend to move on to other places still looking for the place where their vision resides. Others will continue to move from place to place never finding what they are looking for.
As in any organization, when there is new leadership, it brings about tension and change. In the corporate world, procedures change, emphases change, new approaches are instituted. There is complaint, there is aggravation, then there is compliance since your job is on the line, and when success comes, everyone takes credit.
We are a church that has direction, goals, purpose, and vitality. Not everyone will like us, but a lot of people will. Not everyone will buy into our vision, but many people will. We are on the move. It is good and we need not look back, but look joyfully toward the future. Keep our eyes on the goal. We are not survivalists, we are overcomers!

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