Baptist Leadership (2)

DISAGREEMENT

Amongst Baptist churches, as in every area of life, there will be disagreements. On that we can all agree! Disagreement is not in itself a problem for Baptist Churches. The problem is in how disagreement is handled. Closely related to this, is learning how unhealthy disagreement can be avoided.

While leaders may not be able to tell a congregation everything that is going on in relation to a particular issue under discussion, the wise leadership will never spring important decisions on a membership unannounced. Consultation and discussion should precede the church meeting – certainly by weeks if not months. Disagreement arising at the consultation and discussion stage can be listened to, considered, and taken into account by the wise leadership. The congregation needs to own the decisions that they are making – not just tolerate them.

SERVANTHOOD

Christian leadership as modelled by the apostle Paul and others of his day was far removed from the leadership patterns of Greek and Roman culture that was prevalent around them. Servant leadership is not weak leadership, but servant leadership serves Christ for the good of the people.

Everyday life for many people today is filled with the Greek and Roman styles of leadership that is all about self-promotion at the expense of others. Little wonder, then, that there is a tendency to bring those styles of leadership into the church.

Perhaps many Baptists do not know what Godly leadership looks like, because they have never experienced it. Perhaps they do not realize that Christian leadership is not the exercise of power but the practice of servanthood. Perhaps too many people have only ever known the kind of leadership that lords it over others to the benefit of self.

Perhaps only the church can truly model the kind of servanthood leadership in which the leaders care first of all for the people and the people respect and trust their leaders enough to let them lead. This is altogether an important subject that needs much thought, discussion and implementation if church is truly to be the body of Christ.


SUGGESTED READING

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-Wilkerson-Hayes Anne, ‘The Lost Art of Congregational Discernment’, Ministry Today, Edition 41, Winter 2007, p25-28

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-Wright, Walter C, Relational Leadership. A Biblical Model for Leadership Service. (Paternoster, Carlisle, 2000).