All the kingdoms of this earth are not worth relinquishing one moment of the heaven of worshipping and serving the Lord our God....
Four Kinds of Community in the Life of the LeaderMalcolm Webber
The leader needs to be connected with four kinds of community: his family, his local church, the various ministry teams of which he is a part, and the world.
- The leader’s relationship with his family:
- His family should be a small spiritual community, providing him with his first-priority spiritual relationships.
- His family will provide him with experiential “practice” in leadership (1 Tim. 3:4-5).
- He must have a strong physical and emotional relationship with his spouse so he is protected from temptation.
- The leader’s relationship with his local church:
- In the church, the leader needs to share in the mundane responsibilities of everyday life, and not only “big” leadership responsibilities. The leader needs this opportunity for the development of his own patience, servant-spirit, humility, long-suffering, etc.
- Like Jesus, the leader must maintain relationships with “normal” people in the church and not only with an elite club of “ministry peers.” Many are the leaders who have lost touch with reality by being out of touch with “normal” people. To be healthy, Christian leaders need friends. Moreover, it is likely that not only spiritual health but also physical health results from friendships. Recent medical research suggests that people who have many quality friends they see on a regular basis are less likely to develop heart disease.
- Accountability. Perhaps King David would not have fallen into sin as he did, if he had lived in genuine accountability within the community.
- Security and support. The author can testify from his own life about two personal crises he has endured. The first one was relatively minor but almost crushed him since he was not part of a strong community at the time. However, he was able to much better endure the second crisis – which was far greater in magnitude – because of the strong spiritual community surrounding him at that time. Too many spiritual leaders report a lack of healthy friendships with others. It is absolutely vital that a leader live and lead with a loving and accepting relational “blanket” around him.
- The leader’s relationship with his various ministry teams:
- The leader is complete when he’s part of a team. In the team we have the whole balance of many gifts and strengths – individually we are crippled (Rom. 12:4-5).
- Every leader needs friendship, encouragement and insight from peers in ministry.
- In the context of a team the individual finds true and healthy accountability.
- The leader’s relationship with the world:
- In the eyes of the world, the spiritual leader must have integrity (2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Tim. 3:7).
- He should treat the lost with respect, care and kindness (Tit. 3:1-2).
- United with Jesus’ heart of compassion for the lost, the Christian leader should be a soul winner, although not necessarily an “evangelist” (Matt. 11:19; 1 Cor. 9:19-23).
- The leader should willingly and joyfully endure persecution for righteousness’ sake, through which he will establish right priorities and be refined and matured (1 Pet. 1:6-7).
It is in community (and not in the vacuum of individualism) that character is formed and sustained – genuine Christian character.
In our next Letter, we will begin to consider the role of the community in the building of the healthy leader.