During the morning message yesterday morning (May 12) we were looking at a very remarkable Bible passage: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. These verses give us a vision of Paul's leadership among the church in Thessalonica. I suggested that this vision for leadership is one we could and should emulate.
The kinds of things that characterize this kind of leadership include:
1. The ability, from real expeirence, to say to those we lead: "we care for you," "we love you" and "we delight in you"
2. It is a leadership profoundly more focused on people than policy (something I neglected to say in the message but think it is very true from this passage)
3. It is a leadership that is very much a "coming alongside people."
4. It is a leadership that does not so much "tell," "shout," "command" or event "cast vision"; rather it is a kind of leadership that "encourages," "comforts" and "urges."
5. Finally it is a leadership that is working so that people will "live lives (walk) worthy of God." Which is not so much about trying to be "worthy (good) enough" for God but rather is all about living lives that show how worthy God and His gospel are.
Toward the end of the message I made a connection to my recent experience with jogging. Those who have been encouraging me to jog have not been "shouting" at me or "commanding" me or making me feel guilty but rather have been encouraging me, inviting me and, quite literally, jogging beside me.
What I was trying to say by using the exmaple of jogging is that we need the same kind of dynamic in the life of the church. We need leaders who will not shout, command and simply cast vision but rather will walk (jog) with others all the while "encouraging, comforting and urging" them to "live lives worthy of God." Part of this, of course, includes using words but a large part of this also includes "sharing our lives" with those we are leading.
We need leaders who, like Paul, are like "nursing mothers" and "encouraging fathers" to those they are leading.
May Jesus multiply those kinds of leaders among us!