One of my favorite and most influential teachers is the Christian leadership expert John Maxwell. When our kids were in high school, I asked them to listen in the car to John Maxwell teachings on leadership, especially during long trips. Of course, they complained a little bit.
Now, decades later, our kids are not only strong leaders, but—to my surprise—they quote Maxwell! They remember more and live by more leadership principles than I ever imagined.
My observation from several thousand churches I’ve consulted, representing almost eighty different denominations: Most churches are not led by pastors or priests who are leaders.
In recent history, it seems the Christian movement doesn’t always attract or recruit those who are leaders. Those who are gifted leaders and become pastors get practically no training in Bible college or seminaries on the subject of leadership. This begs the question: “Does the Bible show the importance of leadership?”
In the New Testament, leadership is both a spiritual gift—given to some by the Holy Spirit—and a role expected of every Christian. We know Jesus equipped the disciples. Would you see them as leaders? If they weren’t, the first-century Christian movement would never have gotten traction.
It’s obvious: Leaders lead! Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a great teaching about church life. In chapter 6, Paul begins to impact his readers on the subject of leadership. He begins with a commandment: “Honor your father and mother” (verse 1). It is not just a direction for children. It frames parents as leaders and provides focus for followers.
Facing the reality of first-century slavery, Paul says that servants should respectfully obey their earthly masters (verse 6). That respect is expanded: Masters should obey the real Master, Christ. It is all about respect for order and followership as a response to leaders.
Do you respect your pastor(s)? Church leaders? Leaders in government? The police? The laws? The speed limit? The Ten Commandments? Jesus? The Scripture?
What do your actions reveal? What does this tell you—whether you have the responsibility of a follower, or the challenge of leadership? What does it say about society?