Saturday I got a chance to listen to my good friend, Dr. Don Green, from Lincoln Christian College on the subject of church leadership. He was talking about functional leadership and he zeroed in on Hebrews chapter 13. There are three verses that stand out here…
1. Verse 7 – “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.”
Here the Hebrew writer gives us a challenge to remember our leaders and follow their example…
2. Verse 17 – “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”
Skipping down, the writer tells us to obey our spiritual leaders and do what they say to be encouragement to their leadership, not a hardship.
BUT…in verse 8, the writer says this…”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Why would he include that here?
Don said this: “Leaders are to be an example of Christ as they follow closely to Christ.”
All that made sense to me, but then Don said that he tells leaders this, “I will follow you so long as you are following Christ, but as soon as you stop following Christ, I will no longer be following you. Either I will be out of here or you will be.”
The challenge here is two fold:
1. As Christian leaders we have to MAKE SURE we are following Christ, not ourselves. Because, Hebrews 13:7 reminds us that: “Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God.” Our work is to watch over the souls of those we lead. That is a HUGE responsibility. One we need to take VERY seriously.
2. As followers of those who lead us, we DO NOT have to follow people who call themselves leaders but do not follow Jesus Christ. Once they cease to follow Christ our responsibility is to cut off their leadership in our lives either by refusing to follow them by leaving the relationship ourselves, or removing them from leadership. We strip them of their leadership.
What do you think? How have you handled these type of situations?