Remember as kids when one friend would start bossing the others around? Inevitably, some smart alec kid would ask, “Who died and made you king?” It turns out there’s some wisdom in that question, minus the sarcastic twang. If our leadership comes through God-given abilities, His timing and placement, and a Christ-like heart, it’s likely that God made you the leader. If not, there may be some areas you (and I) need to work on.
Malcolm Webber describes the dangers of unhealthy leaders in his book Healthy Leaders. He makes some important conclusions from what he calls a self-appointed leader named Korah. Korah’s story is found in the Old Testament in Numbers 16-17.
Korah and 250 men complain about the special religious status of the Levites. There is a contest between Aaron, God’s appointed leader, and Korah, a self-appointed leader, and his followers involving censers; Korah’s people come to the Tent and are consumed by fire; their censers are taken away, destroyed, and symbolically refashioned. Yikes! There are even more consequences for the self-appointed Korah as all who followed him are struck by a fatal plague. Korah’s story is a cautionary tale that warns us to be careful about our leadership!
Recently, I came across this summary of Webber’s six characteristics of unhealthy and healthy leadership. Look them over and allow God to show you the propensities in your leadership.
Unhealthy self-appointed leaders
- They resist existing spiritual authority (Numbers 16:2).
- They criticize and question existing leaders (Numbers 16!1).
- They accuse other leaders of what they themselves are guilty (Numbers 16:3).
- They aren’t satisfied with the positions they hold. They push for greater authority and position (Numbers 16:10).
- They murmur against leadership that God has appointed (Numbers 16:11).
- They will ultimately face God’s judgement (Numbers 16:31-35).
Healthy God-appointed leaders
- They willingly submit to existing authority (Daniel’s repeated examples).
- When issues and questions arise, they appropriately appeal up the chain of command and go to their leaders in private and in person (Matthew 18:15).
- They avoid a judgmental spirit (Matthew 7:1-5).
- They wait on God to promote them (Paul and Moses spent years in obscurity before rising to significant leadership).
- They only speak well of their leaders, whether to their faces, behind their backs, or in the presence of others (Ephesians 4:29).
- They lead with the eternal goal in mind to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
BEFORE YOU GO…
The purpose of the Pacific Conference is to help build healthy local churches. Everything we do should be about that! However, we can only have healthy churches if they are led by healthy leaders. So, looking at these two lists, which one most reflects your leadership? If you see yourself in the first list, what changes do you need to make so that you are more like list two?
This article originally appeared here.