The myth of the perfect leader - Hope 103.2

The myth of the perfect leader

By David ReayWednesday 20 Aug 2014LifeWords DevotionalsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7

1-7 If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church,good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of,committed to his wife,cool and collected,accessible,and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about,not be overfond of wine,not pushy but gentle,not thin-skinned,not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well,attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs,how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer,lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him,or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap. (THE MESSAGE)

When churches advertise for leaders,it is interesting to check out the job description. Such job descriptions are often enough to turn most off applying! Who can possibly measure up,even allowing for the grace of God? Paul’s ‘job description’ is pretty demanding and quite rightly should guard against anyone taking up church leadership lightly.

It is right to expect godliness from leaders,to expect them to exercise their undoubted power wisely and well. We even expect more of them than we do of other members of the church. But we dare not push this expectation too far. We cannot expect perfection; we must recognise that church leaders are broken people as we all are,that they are on a journey to maturity and haven’t arrived. Paul describes himself in these terms elsewhere in his writings.

It is sad when congregations demand some sort of wholeness from their leaders as if to compensate for their own lack of wholeness. It is sad when congregations judge leaders on performance while demanding they themselves be assessed on the basis of grace. We dare not project our wishes and dreams for perfection on our fallible leaders.

There are lots of legitimate expectations of leaders in the church: perfect wholeness is not one of them.

David Reay