Oh, the highly sought after gift of leadership! Unlike the gift of ministering or the gift of giving, many people strive for this particular gift. Some want it, but it is oftentimes misunderstood. Many assume the leaders in the church are the ones that people look to, the ones that run everything, the ones who make the rules for others to follow. While that can happen under the umbrella of leadership, one who has been given this gift understands that they are actually a servant to all! The leader in the church does well to recognize that they are a slave to Christ and a servant to His Church (1 Corinthians 4:1).
A Shepherd Lives to Serve
The Bible doesn’t just explain that leaders are to serve, but many of the New Testament authors point out that leaders are shepherds to the congregation as well. A shepherd lives to serve the sheep, because, if he or she doesn’t, the sheep won’t last long. How does the shepherd serve the sheep? By guiding and guarding. The shepherd’s role is to guide the sheep to the place they can prosper, to the place that has the most nutritious food and the most ample amounts of water. A leader in the church is to do the same thing. They are to guide those who follow them to the best spiritual food and water they can have. You will note that a truly gifted leader is one who always brings their flock back to Jesus (the Good Shepherd) and His Word! But, not only must they pay attention to where the best food and water sources are, shepherds must also pay attention to anything that will harm their flock, from poisonous vegetation to predators. The leader is always on the lookout for anything potentially detrimental for the congregation.
The last thing to note about a leader being like a shepherd is this: a good shepherd always goes before their flock. A shepherd is willing to go in front and lead the way. That means a good leader will go themselves to where they are calling the congregation to go. They will constantly be pulling the congregation up to Christ! If ever you come across a leader who is unwilling to go where they lead you, do not follow them. They are either fake or lazy.
No Room For Laziness
In addition, Romans 12:8 also explains that the leader is not just to serve as a shepherd serves their flock, but they are to do so with diligence as well. This means that a leader is to give their utmost to lead the people that are under their care. In other words, there is no room for laziness or self-seeking within Christian leadership.
As per all the gifts, the greatest example is that of Christ, the Good Shepherd, who gave fully and consistently of Himself to bless the congregation! If you are gifted in leadership, work diligently to serve (not lord over, not complain about, not avoid) those the Lord has entrusted in your care.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 ESV
This is part of a series of articles about spiritual gifts. Click below to read more as they’re published.