THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP
Welcome to Synod
The Bishop's Pastoral Address to the Missionary Diocese of CANA West
Second Synod, August 7-9, 2014
El Paso, Texas
Topic: "THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP"
The Rt. Rev'd Dr. Felix Orji, OSB
Let us pray:
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation
of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself being
the chief cornerstone. Grant us so to be joined together in unity
of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple
acceptable to you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
I am very grateful to God for His grace and mercies in enabling us to
gather together for this second Synod of the Missionary Diocese of
CANA West. I am also grateful to everyone who has made it possible
for us to conduct this Synod. There are too many people to mention
so I will not venture to name them, but I thank them all. This
reminds me of what Canadian comedian Martin Short wryly said at
the 2009 Tony awards: “There are many people I could thank. But I
won’t because I did it all by myself!” It should be obvious that I
could not have planned and executed this Synod all by myself. Many
of you have been of tremendous help to me. As we see in the
epistles of Paul the Apostle to the early churches, he hardly ever
thanked individuals. Instead, he thanked God for them so that God
received the glory. That guaranteed their blessing for their labors of
I thank God for you! I know the Lord knows who you are and I am
convinced that He will bless you in His time, in Jesus name. Amen!
Welcome to all the clergy and laity of this diocese. I am very
pleased that a good number of non-delegates from several of our
churches are here. You make me proud under God to serve you as
your bishop. I am also delighted to welcome our main speaker, the
Most Rev. Dr. Benjamin Kwashi. He is the Bishop of Jos and the
Archbishop of Jos Province in the Church of Nigeria. Jos is in the
middle belt of Nigeria and has become the target of horrible attacks
by Boko Haram terrorists. Welcome, your Grace! We applaud you for
your courage and Godly tenacity for the sake of the gospel in the
midst of extreme suffering.
It is also my pleasure to welcome my brothers in Episcopal ministry,
Bishop Julian Dobbs, the Missionary Bishop of CANA; and my
Diocesan assisting Bishops, Bishop Martyn Minns, who is also the
founding Missionary Bishop of CANA; Bishop Samuel Chukuka, and
Bishop Harold Trott. I extend a warm welcome to my brother
bishops who are here to support us.
It is important for me to acknowledge my wife and best friend, Lady
Lilian Orji. She has been of tremendous assistance to me in this
Finally, I am grateful to the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. Francis
for the sacrifice it has made in allowing me to serve you all at
God has blessed us tremendously in the past year with:
• Good leaders and spiritual growth in several places in the
diocese. We now have about sixty clergy and thirty churches;
• Four churches who have joined us since our last Synod;
• Two new churches: St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Phoenix,
Arizona and Christ Anglican Church in Garland Texas. We also
have an outreach work at the University of San Antonio. Our
Canon for Church planting, Canon Scott Seely, will elaborate
on this tomorrow morning;
• This year and for the first time, I will be investing several
candidates as Knights of St. Christopher. These are soldiers of
Christ who have Covenanted to stand by me and with me along
with our devoted clergy and laity to ensure that this Diocese
remains faithful to Christ and supported in fulfilling its mission;
• An attractive and functional Diocesan website, Diocesan
Newsletter, and Diocesan Facebook page; and
• A few parishes that have been generous in their financial
support of the diocese.
I’m very grateful to God and to you for your role in the growth of
THE DIOCESE: A SACRED TRUST
God has entrusted us with this Diocese, and it is a sacred trust.
What is His purpose? What does He want us to do with it? What
kind of diocese does He want us to be? There are several options
Our first option is that we can choose to be a hospital where the
spiritually sick are helped, healed, and restored. And in the process
of so doing they may have to be hurt first in order to be helped. In
hospitals doctors may need to crack your chest wide open, or break
your nose, or put splints and screws and machines in you to help
you get better. Nurses will put needles in you. This means that you
may mercifully get hurt first before you are helped and healed. The
alternative is to be a hospice where you are kept comfortable by
‘spiritual nurses’ until you die and go to hell. That’s the first option.
Our second option is that we can choose to be a religious crack
house where people come to get high on Christian crack with ‘feel
good’ theology, second-rate entertainment, and flaky, self-centered
liturgy that lifts you up and puts God down. The preaching in those
so-called churches ignore the difficult texts in Scripture on sin and
repentance, conversion and discipleship, prayer and financial
stewardship, hell fire and divine wrath, salvation through faith in
Jesus Christ alone, surrender and commitment, obedience, and
holiness of life. This kind of a diocese or church is simply people’s
private religious crack house. All one produces in such a diocese are
spiritual crack heads, immature and petulant Christians whose focus
is on self-gratification rather than on God and His worship and His
mission. Instead of a religious crack house we can choose to be a
Christian rehabilitation and renewal center where Christ is
transforming lives through the pure preaching of God’s Word, the
right administration of the sacraments, prayer, and elevated
worship of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Our final option is that we can choose to be a Missional diocese
where we engage with all we are and have in the mission of drawing
people to Christ and worshipping God in spirit, in truth, and in the
beauty of holiness. The alternative to this option is to be a
“Consumer diocese” that focuses on what’s in it for us and what the
diocese can do for us -- rather than on how God can use us for his
kingdom through our contribution and participation in the diocese.
Which options do you suppose God intends for this diocese?
With your help and prayers, my role as bishop of the diocese is to
point the way forward under God for His glory. I am pleased and
privileged to say to you that the Lord intends us to be a diocese
that is marked by transformation, renewal, evangelism, and mission
to the sinner, the poor, and the needy. That is why He has entrusted
this diocese to us.
How can we fulfill this purpose? I believe that in order to have a
diocese marked by these characteristics we need effective and
godly Christian leaders -- both lay and ordained. Sadly, we live in a
world where there is unnecessary confusion as to what, exactly, a
godly Christian leader is. As I visit some of our churches, read about
other denominations, and interact with some bishops and dioceses,
I am appalled and embarrassed by the shoddy expressions of
leadership that I see in God’s church. It is disheartening to watch
ungodliness on display among leaders in the church.
So what, precisely, is a Christian leader? Is he or she a spiritual
therapist, a religious facilitator or agitator, a spiritual social worker,
a liturgist, an ecclesial CEO, or perhaps even a spiritual shepherd
good at manipulation, spiritual engineering, and spin?
To what kind of leaders does God want to entrust His church and
this diocese especially, in order to fulfill His purpose in the world? In
other words, what are the essential characteristics of an effective
and godly Christian leader from God's point of view – whether that
leader is a pope or an archbishop or a bishop or a priest or a deacon
or a layperson? If you miss the answers to this basic question then
you’ve missed the point of your calling and our calling as Christian
leaders in this diocese.
Again: what are the essential characteristics of a Christian leader
that we need in our diocese to accomplish God’s purpose in giving
us this diocese?
The answers to that question are found in God’s Word. Please turn
to 1 Corinthians, chapter 4, verses 1-21.
THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF GODLY CHRISTIAN
1. Christian leaders are Servants of Christ (1Cor. 4:1a) first
and foremost. They serve Christ first. Service to the
church and the world comes second. We are servants of
Christ first and accountable to him first. This order is
Hyperetes: subordinate, assistant officer, attendants of a
magistrate. In Rom. 1:1 Paul calls himself a ‘bond servant’ or
• These are not titles of independence, honor, and glory,
but of lowliness. We need to see ourselves and we need
to encourage others to see us not as independent
masters and all-wise teachers but servants and slaves of
• In 1 Cor. 3: 4-9, diakonos defines a waiter who serves
food, one who executes the commands of another, a
servant of a king.
We work WITH and UNDER God FOR God!
• Today we are into “power language” in regard to leaders
(drive, decisiveness, intelligence, communication).
While we don’t want to ignore these we MUST accept that
we are primarily servants of Christ first.
o We must be willing to make a total commitment
to serve Him.
o We must assume the posture of humility
o We must be listening and attentive to Him before
we act. Prayer and scripture become crucial
necessities. We cannot presume His will.
o We must be obedient and faithful.
o We must take our orders from Him first,
before listening to the church and to the
A Christian Leader is a SERVANT, not a lord. There is only one
Lord over His church, Jesus Christ. John Owen noted that,
“Our Lord Jesus Christ will have nothing of lordship,
dominance, or preeminence in lordly power in his church.”
Hans Kung pointed out that all other words in secular Greek
used to refer to powerful civil and religious authorities, like
“archon” (prince, ruler) and “hegemon” (governor, prince),
and which speak of status and authority are avoided by the
New Testament writers when they wrote about Christian
leaders. We are servants, not superstars.
Paul’s emphasis here is on the fact that the Christian leader is
PRIMARILY the servant of Christ.
“A true servant is limited by the will of his master, a servant is
dependent on his master for all of his life needs, and he has no
freedom to do anything except what his master desires,” said
William D. Lawrence. Also, Dr. John Stott writes, “Fundamental to
all Christian leadership and ministry is a humble personal
relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, devotion to him expressed
in daily prayer, and love for him expressed in daily obedience.”
We are secondarily servants of one another (His church - Matthew
20:20-28; Philippians 2:1-11). Christian leaders serve the church.
“Christian leadership tends to be abrasive because it is service to
the body of Christ rather than to popularity, efficiency, productivity,
and celebrity -- goals that have tended to corrupt and demean
leadership within some communities,” states author William
Willimon. We should be motivated in this regard by the Lord's
command and by love and concern for the church, not for personal
gain (Romans 1:10-17). Our Lord established this pattern by the act
and symbolism of foot washing and His death (John 13).
Servanthood calls for humility, sacrifice, forbearance, endurance,
T.W. Manson noted that, “In the kingdom of God, service is not a
stepping stone to nobility. It is nobility, the only kind of nobility that
is recognized.” Dr. Leon Morris, in his commentary on Luke
22:25-27, says the same thing: “Jesus is not saying that if followers
wish to rise to great heights in the church they must first prove
themselves in a lowly place. He is saying that faithful service is
itself true greatness.”
Robert K. Greenleaf (Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature
of Legitimate Power and Greatness) has drawn the attention of
secular people to this idea of leaders as servants of those they lead.
Edward Zaragoza however warns that it is possible for a leader to
use the servant leader model as a mask to cover one’s tendency to
exercise undue authority over others while at the same time
publicly DENYING authority and CLAIMING servanthood. Dr. Zaragoza
tried to replace it with the concept of friendship but that is
insufficient and can be even very problematic.
William Willimon notes as well, “Manipulation of others can come in
many forms. Sometimes the humble servant leader going about
simply serving others can be a cover for manipulating the laity to
serve the servants needs for adoration, appreciation, and
In spite of these possible mutilations, Maria Harris insists that the
concept of ministry and leadership as servanthood “remains
critical in the life of the Church and a constituent part of the
An important aspect of our role as servants is to be shepherds of
the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-4). It’s a servant’s job in the first
century. We are not CEOs, but rather, we are shepherds.
There are two implications to this role, and we must be aware of
First, Christ is the head and chief shepherd of His church, not us.
Our leadership depends and derives from Him in our role as His
servants and under-shepherds. He is the leader. We see it in the
history of Israel and redemption, in 1 and 2 Samuel and
Revelation. God establishes the monarchy but remains and
maintains His control of it as cosmic king of Israel by choosing and
removing kings and promising to come back to be the eternal king
through the Davidic line in Christ: Theocracy/Monarchy/
Theocracy. (2 Sam. 7:16; 1 Cor. 15:24-28)
Second, we are accountable and answerable to our master first
and because God cares about the church He will judge our
leadership (3:12-17). We can receive comfort and yet be very
careful about our leadership.
2. Christian Leaders are “stewards entrusted with the
mysteries of God” (1Cor. 4:1b-7). The apostle now
moves on from a general role to that of a specific role.
We are God’s oikonomos – managers and superintendents
in God’s house (not ours!), charged and entrusted with the mysteries of God.
D. A. Carson notes, “At the heart of the commission they have
received from their master lies one particular assignment: they
have been entrusted with the secret things of God.”
Mystery: things that were hidden but are now revealed. The
central content of that Mystery is the gospel: Christ’s incarnation,
crucifixion and resurrection to now become our savior and Lord!
“They are truths hitherto concealed but now revealed, truths
known only by revelation. These truths relate to Christ, His
salvation and the incorporation of Jews and Gentiles on equal
terms in the body of Christ.” (J. Stott). These truths are codified
in the Bible.
Says Patrick Lattore, “Teaching is the primary process of
leadership.” Anglican theologian John Macquarrie concurs, stating,
“Again, we must remember that while bishops and other ordained
ministers must be willing to hear and learn from their lay brothers
and sisters, they have a special responsibility of leadership in
maintaining the purity of the church’s proclamation and witness.
Sometimes in the prevailing egalitarian atmosphere one fears that
those who ought to be leading the church are running away from
the ministry of proclamation and teaching with all its weight of
responsibility, and by so doing are creating bewilderment among
many lay people. If the word ‘deacon’ stresses service in the
ministry, the words ‘bishop’ and ‘presbyter’ (that is to say
‘overseer’ and ‘elder’) summon the ministry to acceptance of a
leadership role necessary in any community.” (Theology, Church,
and Ministry, 1986, p. 163-164).
We have an obligation as servants and stewards to proclaim and
promote the gospel and the totality of God’s word by our own
words and example.
Carson says that this function “…is absolutely fundamental. There
is no valid Christian leadership that does not throb with this
mandate. In the West, we must repent of our endless fascination
for ‘leadership’ that smacks much more either of hierarchical
models (I am the boss, and, and for all below me on the ladder,
what I say goes); or of democratic models (give the people what
they want; take another survey, conduct another poll, and scratch
where they itch).
All valid Christian leadership, however varied its
style, however wise its use of sociological findings, however
diverse it’s functions, must begin with this fundamental
recognition: Christian leaders have been entrusted with the
gospel, the secret things of God that have been hidden in past
ages but are now proclaimed, by their ministry, to men and women
everywhere. Moreover, they must beware of politely assuming such
a stance, while their real interest lies elsewhere. This will not do.
The servants of Christ have a fundamental charge laid on them:
They have been entrusted with the gospel, and all their service
turns on making that gospel known and on encouraging the people
of God, by word, example, and discipline, to live it out.”
As Stott notes, “The steward has received a trust.
The householder depends on him. The household is looking to him for
provisions. He must not fail.” Leaders are supplied with the food:
the Bible. They must share it; otherwise everyone will die of
spiritual starvation. This is VERY important!
There are four implications to this trust:
First, Christian leaders need to understand the gospel entrusted to
them. We see it in the life of Paul (Romans 1:2-5, 16-17; 1Cor. 15:1-11).
It has been given to us so we need not invent or adjust it. Christ is
the main focus of Christian preaching and teaching.
Second, Christian Leaders need to soak themselves in prayer and
the word of God. C. H. Spurgeon said, “It is blessed to eat into the
very soul of the Bible until at last you come to talk in Scriptural
language and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord, so
that your blood is bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows
Third, Christian leaders must be faithful to Christ and to His
message (4:2-4). Our call is not a popularity contest. We are to be
faithful TO Christ first. It’s not about how good you feel, the
numbers who fawn over you, about pleasing others or yourself,
building your self-esteem, or the evaluation of your vestry. It is
about Christ and his message first, hence his statements in v. 3-4.
He doesn’t care that much about their evaluations or His good
conscience and personal approval either. What matters are the
opinion and approval and judgment of the master! Sobering
We need to be COURAGEOUS and faithful in proclaiming the
MESSAGE -- not rejecting, diluting, compromising, contradicting,
watering it down, being selective, preferring our own speculation. A
former Archbishop of Canterbury, Donald Coggan wrote, “The
Christian preacher has a boundary set for him. When he enters the
pulpit he is not an entirely free man. There is a very real sense in
which it may be said of him that the Almighty has set him his
bounds that he shall not pass. He is not at liberty to invent or
choose his message; it has been committed to him, and it is for him
to declare, expound and commend it to his hearers. It is a great
thing to come under the magnificent tyranny of the gospel.” This is
the Preacher as Trustee. A very unique part of a Christian leader’s
role is teaching (1Timothy 3) and enabling teaching of the Word --
the whole Counsel of God (Acts 20). We are fundamentally
accountable to the Lord.
Fourth, because we are accountable to be faithful and pleasing to
the Lord, those who follow Christian leaders must be careful in
standing in judgment over them (4:5-7). The church needs to
understand that Christ is in charge. Also, leaders should not see this
as a reason to do what they want. The Apostle expects the church to be discerning
and to exercise discipline over an immoral member (1Cor. 5), and
false Apostles (2 Cor.; 1 Tim. 5:19-20). We must examine ourselves.
But others need to be careful because the Lord is the final judge of
leaders (James 3:1). Some leaders look fine and begin well but they
do not end well. We are not privy to people’s motives. God will
reward in the end. So arrogance and preferential treatment must be
given up. All we are and have are all gifts from God! (6-7).
Stick to the Scriptures, not to leaders!
3. Christian Leaders suffer. Leadership in the church entails
suffering, sacrifice, and living life in the light of the cross (1 Cor. 4:8-13).
As John Stott put it, “Leaders are seen by non-believers and flaky
believers as the scum of the earth -- hence the scorn! It’s an
honorable calling but it comes with much pain. We are not top dogs
Paul is very sarcastic here and rightly so. It was important to him
that the Corinthian Christians understand the nature of the Christian life and leadership as involving suffering. Somehow they had missed that and had become smug, self-satisfied, and proud.
As Archibald Robertson and Alfred Plummer put it, “These highly
blessed Corinthians are already in the kingdom of God, enjoying its
banquets, treasures, and its thrones. They have got a private
millennium of their own!” The Apostle wishes he could join them in
their celebration but he couldn’t because the path for Christian
leaders, as it was for Jesus, was the path of suffering. Suffering is
both the glory and the path to glory for leaders and those who are
faithful to God. The Corinthians had forgotten the Cross.
The Apostle says by contrast, faithful leaders are:
A. Treated as criminals condemned to death (v. 9)
B. Considered fools, weaklings, dishonorable persons because of
Christ (v. 10)
C. Constantly exposed to various privations (v. 11-12)
D. Called scum of the earth and refuse of the world (v. 13).
“The filth that one gets rid of through the sink or gutter,” says G.
G. Findley. Leaders: scrapings and scapegoats of the world.
This sounds a bit strange for many of us today in the U.S. because
we are respected, with nice homes, jobs, pensions, retirement
accounts, and we consider freedom from persecution a fundamental
human right. But what are the implications of being a faithful
leader? We live in an increasingly pluralist, secular, Islamic, and
anti-biblical world. Thus, we must ready our minds to suffer for
Christ, and we must beware of the temptation to avoid suffering via
compromise, silence, unfaithfulness, and rationalization.
The Cross remains an offense to the world, and if you are faithful to
its message and life you will be offensive to the world. The Gospel
is an irritant because it is exclusive and challenges the world’s
comfortable pluralism; it challenges our self-sufficiency by offering
us free forgiveness; and it challenges the human penchant for sin by
calling us to a holy life.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right, “When Christ bids you to follow he
calls you to die.” And as Paul tells us, “Take heart brothers! All who
will be faithful will suffer persecution.”
4. Christian Leaders are Fathers in the Family of God (1 Cor. 4:14-21)
Paul likes using the language of parenting: Father and Mother (cf: 1
Thess. 2:7) in his relationship to the church. He calls himself the
‘father’ of the Galatians, the Thessalonians, of certain individual
Christians like Timothy and Philemon, and here, of the Corinthian
There is need for caution with this because our Lord Jesus warns us
in Matthew 23:9 not to see anyone in the church as our Father,
because we have only one Father, and he isn't here. He is in heaven!
Jesus doesn’t want us to be dependent on anyone in a fatherly way
or submit to the authority of anyone as our father or for any
Christian leader to wield the absolute authority of a father over God’s children.
But Paul uses it here in two ways: first, in the sense that he led
them to faith (v. 15); and second, in the sense that he can FULFILL
three fatherly functions.
a. Admonishing (correcting) with much affection (v. 14-15; cf
[compare] Col. 1:28). Dr. Stott notes that, “We are to be
loving Fathers and mothers of the Church family.”
b. Encouragement to imitate Him: His teaching and His way of
life (v. 16-17). Children in the first century were expected to
imitate their fathers’ vocations, and to carry on family values
and heritage. Paul wants them to imitate his passion to live
what he preaches in the light of the cross. He can't say
everything, so he will send Timothy to help them make the
connection between his teaching and his WAY OF LIFE. “This
suggests that the Christian Leader today not only must teach
the gospel, but also must teach how the gospel works out in
daily life and conduct. And that union must be modeled as
well as explained,” says D. A. Carson.
c. Warning (v. 18-21). There were Corinthians who had become
“arrogant”. Paul tells them he is on his way to see the ‘power’
behind their arrogance, deo volente. All that the Apostle cares
about is the power of the gospel; that's the only power that
amounts to ANYTHING because it saves, forgives, transforms,
and translates men out of darkness into light. These folks are
full of arrogant boasting -- windbags and mere talk can’t
change people; words have no power. Only the gospel can
Paul threatens DISCIPLINE in v. 21, and this is no empty threat.
As a leader, there is a time to warn and engage in the process of
discipline in the church. In Ch. 5 he calls on them to discipline an
immoral brother (a moral issue). In Ephesus he handed Hymenaus
and Alexander (1 Tim 1:20) to the devil so that they learn not to
blaspheme (doctrinal issue). In 2 Cor. 13:10 Paul warns that he may
have to be harsh in the use of his apostolic authority if they ignore
the dysfunction among them.
As a Christian leader, the Apostle was committed to helping people
live in a Christian manner by admonishment, encouragement, or by
warning or discipline. He offers them the choice in v. 21. Of course,
his preference is gentleness.
The implications of Paul’s teachings are that Christian leaders are
‘fathers and mothers’ of the church family.
First, as fathers, we are to love, be gentle, affectionate, good
examples, exhibit congruency between our preaching and living,
constant in our prayers for our churches, understanding, bringing
ourselves alongside them, diligent in our concern for their wellbeing,
Secondly, as fathers, says D. A. Carson, “Christian Leaders dare not
overlook their responsibility to lead the people of God in living that
is in conformity with the gospel. That is why Paul urges people to
live a life worthy of the calling they have received (Eph. 4:1). It is
why Paul prays that believers may please him in every way (Col.
1:10). And if the people of God dig in their heels in disobedience, to
rebuke and ultimately discipline firmly those who take the name of
Christ but do not care to follow him. The sterner steps must never
be taken hastily or lightly. But sometimes they must be taken. That
is part of the responsibility of Christian Leadership.” I must note
that discipline in the church must be handled with much love and
care following due process.
Thirdly, as Fathers, Leaders are to be earnest in warning and
admonishing the church. John Stott said, “Just as a Father warns his
children of danger, the faithful preacher will sometimes preach of
sin, judgment, and hell. His ministry will be balanced. He will seek
to make known both ‘the kindness and the severity of God’ (Rom. 11:22),
the certainty of judgment as well as the greatness of salvation.
It is no mark of love to leave men alone in their peril.”
5. Christian Leaders are distinct in their character
requirement: godly character and courage. They are to be
faithful (1Cor. 4:2); cc [compare] Galatians 5:19-23; 1
Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1 ff [following].
William Willimon defines character as, “the basic moral orientation
that gives unity, definition, and direction to our lives by forming
our habits and intentions into meaningful predictable patterns that
have determined our convictions”. Character comes from our
theological convictions. Godly character is a non-negotiable in
Christian leadership. Paul exhorts Timothy to train himself to be
godly (1 Tim. 4:7-8).
William Lawrence stated that, “Other kinds of leadership speak
ideally of leaders of character but none of them requires Christian
character.” Leaders bring who and what they are to what they do!
As William Burkit stated, “The minister's life is the people's lookingglass
by which they usually dress themselves.” According to Dr.
Michael Yousseff in his book “The Leadership Style of Jesus”,
Christian leaders need to be character- ized by gentleness,
generosity, truthfulness, forgiveness and character.
In 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Paul the apostle makes the following thirteen
points about a Leader:
1. The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of
overseer, he desires a noble task;
2. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband
of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable,
hospitable, and able to teach;
3. Not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not
a lover of money;
4. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity
keeping his children submissive;
5. For if someone does not know how to manage his own
household, how will he care for God’s church?
6. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed
up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil;
7. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he
may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil;
8. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not
addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain;
9. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear
10.Let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons
if they prove themselves blameless;
11.Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but
sober-minded, faithful in all things;
12.Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their
children and their own households well;
13.For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for
themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in
Good Christian Leadership begins with self-leadership in which the
Leader attends to his spiritual life and character and then to
growing his knowledge and competences, his ability to selfevaluate,
learning to make himself accountable, and keeping God at
the center of his leadership.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, writing to a colleague regarding the
necessity of cultivating the inner life, said, “I know you will apply
hard to German, but do not forget the culture of the inner man -- I
mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his
saber clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with greatest care.
Remember you are God’s sword, His instrument -- I trust a chosen
vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to
the purity and perfection of the instrument, will be the success. It
is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy
minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God”.
6. Christian Leaders face temptations and trials. Temptations
and trials test moral character.
Leaders face serious spiritual life-threatening, leadershipdestroying,
and church-ruining temptations and trials. There is
temptation to: engage in ungodly exercise of power, egotism, pride,
greed, sex, emotional attachment, cynicism, mental laziness, over
sensitivity, messianic complex, success mania, flattery. Leaders
face trials such as fear, betrayal, failure, spiritual lethargy,
discouragement, deprivation, and persecution. There are
temptations to internet abuse (pornography, spending too much
time on the internet), greed, and enriching oneself through the
church. How do we handle these temptations and trials?
1. Preemptive approach -- healthy self-distrust, accountability
structures and actions; spiritually rooted in the disciplines, selfexamination,
rest, retreats, holidays (self-care/self-watch);
2. Redemptive actions -- repentance, hope, openness,
perseverance. Peter Drucker says, “When a horse is dead,
dismount.” Well, not necessarily! Leadership comes with
periodic despair and seeming failure. James Ditties describes
ministry as “grief work”: “To be a minister is to know the most
searing grief and abandonment, daily and profoundly. To be a
minister is to take as partners in solemn covenant those who
are sure to renege. To be a minister is to commit, unavoidably,
energy and passion, self and soul, to a people, a vision of who
they are born to be, to their readiness to share and live into
that vision. To be a minister is to make that all-out, prodigal
commitment to a people who cannot possibly sustain it. The
minister is called by their need, by their funda- mental inability
to be who they are born to be, hence by their funda- mental
inability to share and live into that vision in which the minister
invests all. To be a minister, then, as God knows, is to be
forsaken regularly and utterly, by those whose partnership one
most relies for identity, meaning, and self-hood.”
7. Christian Leaders use godly means and resources to move
people on to God’s Agenda. (Blackaby says, “Spiritual
Leadership is moving people on to God’s Agenda”).
-Contrary to the humanist philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli’s view
in his book The Prince, the ends do NOT justify the means. God’s
Leader must not use manipulation, ruthlessness, ridicule, power
plays, deception, or sin to do the work of God.
-Moving is not the same as driving or forcing people, but as
Gardner says, moving is the “process of persuasion and
example.” What are God’s agenda and priorities for His World and
His Church? (Matthew 22)
a.The glory and love of God (1 Cor. 10:31; Acts 12 - Herod took
God’s glory and was eaten by worms). God will not share his
glory with anyone -- obedience, worship, giving the glory to
God, keeping Him at the center of your leadership. In the 17th
century Thomas Watson noted that, “Glorifying God consists in
four things: appreciation, adoration, affection, and subjection.
This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.”
b.Love of the people of God -- care, maturity, and equipping for
ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16; Matt. 25:31-46; Galatians 6:9-10).
“Equipping others to provide leadership in the congregation is a
mark of success in the pastorate, not failure.” (Liftin)
c.Love of others -- evangelization, caring for the poor and needy. (Matt. 28:18-20)
d.Cultural mandate -- Care for creation and the family in ways
that honor God. (Genesis 1&2)
8. Christian Leaders recognize the vital place of God’s
Sovereignty over all things, especially their ministry:
(Ephesians 4:11-12; Rom. 12:8). “Thine, O Lord, is the
greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory,
and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the
earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art
exalted as Head above all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11
“The sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We
mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of
God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God. To
say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High,
doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the
inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say
unto Him what doest Thou? (Daniel 4:35) To say that God is
sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all
power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels,
thwart His purpose, or resist His will. (Ps. 115:3) To say that God
is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the
nations” (Ps. 22:28) setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires,
and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best. To
say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only
Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim. 6:15)
“Such is the God of the Bible.” (Arthur Pink)
9. Christian Leaders are committed to Christ as Savior and
Lord and to the spiritual disciplines of grace.
In our pragmatic age, Christian leaders tend to focus on skills,
traits, relationships, techniques, tasks, competencies and
results. But for a Christian leader to have lasting effectiveness,
his foremost task is to be in relationship with Jesus Christ,
centered in Him and nurturing that relationship. In John 15:1-9,
Jesus made it clear that we cannot bear fruit unless we abide in
Him -- believe, rely and obey Him! St. Augustine gave the church
an idea of how to maintain this relationship with Jesus: “After
you have found Him (Christ), you must continue to seek Him.” St.
Augustine in his letter to Valerius stated that prayer, reading of
Scripture, and weeping (confession of sins and authentic
disclosure of self before God) were channels and means by which
he pursued intimacy with God.
The Leader who desires to be effective needs to spend time with
God through the means or disciplines of grace. Jack Turpin put it
well: How can a person know God better? Three elements are
necessary: 1) the Bible; 2) Prayer; and 3) Worship of God at a
local church and relationship with others through whom one can
experience the realities of God’s sovereignty and grace.
This is why the Book of Common Prayer notes in the General
Rubrics for clergy, “All priests and deacons unless prevented by
sickness or other urgent cause are to say daily the Morning and
Evening Prayer either privately or openly in Church.”
10.Christian leaders are people of faith, hope, and love:
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but
the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
11.Christian Leaders are dependent on the Spirit of God,
the Word of God, and the people of God to achieve the
purposes of God.
Griffith Thomas noted that: “In all Christian work these three
elements are absolutely indispensable: the Spirit of God as the
power, the Word of God as the message, and the man of God as
the instrument. The Spirit of God uses the message by the
means of the man.” The arm of flesh will fail but those who
lean on God will never be disappointed.
12.An effective and godly Christian leader must ensure
that his or her leadership is grounded and guided by
the Word of God in the Bible.
Why bother with what the Bible says about Christian
Leadership? The answer is obvious: Christian leadership is fundamentally
within the context of the church. The Church is very unique in comparison
to other institutions. Karl Barth has warned that, “The Christian
community is an alien colony for the nature and existence of
which there are no analogies in the world around, and therefore
no categories in which to understand it.” As Willimon correctly
stated, “Only rarely, and very carefully, can the church’s ordained
leaders take their cues from secular models of leadership,
because our leading is to be congruent with the leadership of
Christ himself.” The Bible is our primary source of information
about Christ’s and Christian leadership. The Bible says a lot about
what is good and what is bad in leadership. Read both the Old
and New Testaments. That is the place to begin. Scripture is
Norma Normans (the ruling rule) in relation to reason, tradition
and experience. “Extra biblical sources stand in hermeneutical
relation to the New Testament; they are not independent,
counterbalancing sources of authority. In other words, the Bible’s
perspective is privileged, not ours,” said Richard Hays in The
Moral Vision of the New Testament.
Jesus warns against those who “…abandon the commandment of
God and hold to human tradition.” (Mark 7:8; cf 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The 39 Articles of Religion stipulate that we ensure that what we do
in our Anglican churches is grounded in Scripture. (See the Anglican
39 Articles Of Religion- VI, XIX, XX, XXI, and XXXIV).
“What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that the first place both of
credit and obedience is due; the next where into is whatsoever any
man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after these the
voice of the church succeedeth.” (Richard Hooker)
Inattentiveness or disregard for Scriptural teaching on Leadership
within and outside the church has caused so much pain and damage
to both God’s church and God’s world. We must stick to the Word of
In order to have a diocese that helps people move from sin to
salvation, one that energizes people for evangelism and missions
both local and abroad, and one that leads people to renewed
spiritual lives, we have to have godly, Christ-centered, capable,
and effective Christian leaders in our churches.
To our Clergy, I say this: you have been called by God and
subsequently ordained to lead the people of God. You are to lead
by preaching his Word, by pastoring his people, by praying for his
church, by evangelizing his world through the power of his Spirit,
and by modeling a life of holiness and integrity of character.
To our Lay Leaders, I say this: support your Clergy, pray for them,
help them lead well, and do not fight them. Follow their
leadership. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders
and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls,
as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with
joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to
If problems arise, pray about it and talk to them. If you can’t
settle it, call your Archdeacon. And if that doesn’t work, then you
can call your Bishop.
This year I ask all of you lay and ordained Leaders to pay
attention to developing these four areas in your parish,
archdeaconry, and our diocese:
1. Christian Leadership
a. Establish mature Clergy
b. Raise new Clergy
c. Develop Lay Leaders
d. Train consistently
One of the goals of leadership is to raise more Leaders, not
simply to get more followers.
Some current definitions of Christian leadership:
Leadership is any behavior (task and relationship) that helps the
group meet its stated goals or fulfills its purpose, while Leader
refers to anyone who is assigned to provide such behavior or who
emerges in an extraordinary way to do so on his or her own.
Leadership is that which moves persons and organizations toward
the fulfillment of their goals. (Harold Myra)
Leadership is the exercise of one’s spiritual gifts under the call of
God to serve a certain group of people in achieving the goals God
has given them toward the end of glorifying Christ. (Kenneth
Spiritual Leadership is the development of relationships with the
people of a Christian institution or body in such a way that the
individuals and the group are enabled to formulate and achieve
biblically compatible goals that meet real needs. By their ethical
influence, spiritual leaders serve to motivate and enable others
to achieve what otherwise would never be achieved. (James E.
Christian Leadership is an art form of worshipping Christ, a
teaching and serving process that envisions, influences, shapes,
and enhances so that both leaders and followers realize God’s
goals for change within their community. (Patrick Lattore)
Spiritual Leadership is moving people on to God’s agenda. (Henry
Christian Leadership is guiding people on to God's agenda in the
power of the Holy Spirit with resources and means that are in
accordance with the Word of God to the glory of God. (Bishop
Leadership is responding to God’s calling to take responsibility for
the present and eternal welfare and wellbeing of others in a
biblical way by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of Christ.
I want to recommend two books to you as leaders. They are, The
Leadership Style of Jesus by Dr. Michael Yousseff, and Fresh
Encounter: God’s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening Revised and
Expanded by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King.
2. Christian Discipleship
This is the process of moving spiritual infants to spiritual
maturity so that they themselves can help other spiritual infants
grow up to spiritual maturity in knowledge, holiness, faith, love,
worship, spiritual disciplines, etc.
a. Develop resources for children education, youth
education, adult education, and family education. I will
be appointing a theological commission to ensure this.
b. Focus on weekly Bible studies.
c. Establish monthly Parish prayer meetings.
3. Christian Giving
Encourage and stress giving the tithe (10%) of your income to the
church. The church then gives 10% of that to the diocese, and
then gives money to local and global missions.
4. Church Planting and Mission
We must plant churches for the purpose of bringing sinners into
the kingdom of grace and salvation in Christ.
a.Knights can help raise funds for evangelism and mission.
b.Parishes need to engage in planting churches.
Finally, let me say to you that Christian leadership is not an exact
science. And, as Patrick Lattore notes, neither is it necessarily an
art form. In spite of all the training, diligence, discipline, and
good intentions a leader may have, it is important to remember
the words of St. John Chrysostom in his book titled “On the
Priesthood”, “Some guess- work must be made.” And for that, we
must ask for God’s wisdom, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
God will lead us as we lead for His glory: “For from Him and
through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory
forever.” (Romans 11:36)