Leadership is as important in the Church as it is in business. We need leaders and we need followers. All throughout my life, I have been blessed with great leaders in church. From my early childhood children’s pastors who taught me the foundations of faith, to my junior high teachers who helped me understand the doctrines of the church, to my high school teachers who helped me learn to pray and to memorize Scripture, to my pastors that have kept me grounded in God’s Word. I learned these things from them, but I also watched their lives. They were consistent in living what they professed. That’s what leadership is truly about.
In almost all of those leaders, I remember hearing them repeat 1 Corinthians 11:1 to me and to others. It says, “I want you to pattern your lives after me, just as I pattern mine after Christ” (TPT). The King James I grew up on said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” As a kid, I remember hearing that as an instruction to look at their lives as a pattern for mine as long as they were living for Christ. It was the openness and honesty that is required of leadership. If they’re not following Christ, it was time to learn from their mistakes and to quit patterning my life after them. It’s always important to remember that church leaders are human just like ourselves. They have the same propensities to sin, and do sin. Leadership isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being real and open. What do they do when they sin? How do they respond to defeat? How do they deal with things when they’re under life’s pressures?
As you go through similar things in your life, look to the lives of the leaders God has placed around you. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith” (NLT). God has given the Church leaders so we can follow their examples. We are also called to be leaders ourselves. People are watching your life to see your example of faith just as you watch the lives of others. They may never tell you, but they are. It’s important that we keep our eyes on Jesus and not on a person only. He is our ultimate leader that should guide and direct how we live. I’d like to change a famous quote just a little: Lead (preach) at all times. Use words when necessary. Your actions will speak louder than your words ever will. Follow someone whose life lives what they preach, and be a person who does the same.