Lead, Don’t Control

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)

By nature, leading is difficult. Managing the workload and opinions of other people to try to make them work for one common goal is never going to be easy with human-kind, especially with today’s self-indulgent ego-centric “What’s in it for me?” culture. Unfortunately, ministry is no exception, and therefore churches, mission groups, campus ministries and the like close their doors every year, typically because of faulty leadership ruining interest in what the community offers.

One sort of bad leadership I’ve encountered is a pastor being controlling, wanting to micromanage every little detail of his ministry, leaving his staff and volunteers with very, very little to do.

This is usually done out of good intentions, hoping that the congregation will always receive biblical guidance from someone the pastor trusts.

Problem is, that tends to reveal that the only people the pastor trusts are himself and the big names (John Piper, Francis Chan, Tim Keller, Andy Stanley, etc.)

When a pastor starts planning worship sets, making plans for his church’s small groups, or ensuring that the Bible studies he doesn’t lead use materials from one of these big names, he prevents someone else from being a blessing to someone who needs it. He’s stealing the chance for God to call someone out of his/her comfort zone and be equipped through it.

The passage refers to the church as the whole body, and Romans 12 (specifically verses 3 through 8) suggests that we are many different members within the whole body. Each member has its own function, and it needs to be able to operate freely within that function, with only the head, the brain, The Lord, being in control. When the mouth decides it wants to be mouth, the hands, the legs, the ears and the gall bladder, the body isn’t going to work, nor is using a bunch of mouths and attaching them to the arms and legs like some kind of deformed Picasso Frankenstein monster.

Instead, everyone needs an opportunity to do what The Lord has placed on their hearts to do. They need to be trusted, and if all else fails, the Holy Spirit needs to be trusted in those moments. Just something to think about.



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