What is the definition of a good leader? A good leader is someone
whose followers are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
What then is a good Christian leader? Based on the above, it must be
someone whose followers are doing what Christians are supposed to be doing.
Well, then, what are Christians supposed to do? The clearest direction which Jesus gave as to what the church should do is stated in the Great Commission:
Go, therefore into all nations and
A close reading of this text indicates that the job of the church is to recruit
(inform and incorporate) and teach. The tangible measures of
whether this is being done are:
Measure_#1: whether adults are being baptized
Measure_#2: whether the baptized are doing "...all that I commanded
you," (i.e. acts of love for God and for neighbor.)
While this writer has not conducted a formal survey of the designated leaders
of the church (mostly the clergy), he cannot escape the impression that many
leaders' efforts are going principally into actions which are either direct
care-giving actions (principally the clergy), or institutional-maintenance
actions (principally the laity). Put differently, the clergy are busy
doing rather than leading, and the lay people are busy maintaining
the institution, rather than doing acts of love for God and (especially)
for neighbor. (In the terms of business, the efforts of the lay people are
mostly going into the overhead functions, rather than into the product!)
Furthermore, when one does find acts of love being done for
non-church-goers, they may consist of almost any kind of care-giving except
a sharing of the faith.
Thus neither of the above two measures of whether we are following the Great
Commission is being fulfilled in anything like the appropriate degree. Adults
are not being baptized in any significant numbers, the clergy are burning
themselves out trying to do by themselves what they should be leading the
church as a whole to do, and the lay people are acting like club members
or maintenance staff rather than missionaries..
What is needed is a new understanding of the roles of the various members
of the church. In particular, the clergy must first of all begin to see
themselves as people who get other people involved in action -- that is,
they must see themselves to a much greater degree as leaders, rather
It is well established that witness is one of the most powerful ways to influence
people. It is also well known that lay people tend to be most moved by the
witness of other lay people. Consequently, a good strategy for clergy to
use in gaining adults to baptize is to train one's present lay followers
in how they can witness to their faith as they interact with others in the
normal course of everyday life.
What, then about measure Number Two? Are the followers doing "...all that
I commanded you?" Even if one allows considerable latitude for differences
of interpretation, it is hard to believe that an objective observer (who
did not make observations on Sunday mornings) could readily tell most of
the baptized from the non-baptized on the basis of their observable actions.
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