So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. – Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV
When it comes to Christian leadership, we must be careful to hold our vision up for everyone to see, reminding them of our goal: To become more Christ-like and make disciples as we share the Good News of the Gospel. When Christian leaders focus on becoming more like our savior it ensures that the organization stays on-track—that ministry goals don’t become distilled into mere tasks and objectives.
If we aren’t growing, we can’t be effective in our going. Knowing that staff development is critical to any organization, MAF recently held a seven-day Leadership Conference to help our current and future leaders to obtain various “tools” that will allow them to hone their leadership skills. Eighty-six MAF staff gathered in Nampa to learn from other MAF personnel as well as university professors, pastors, and other ministry leadership experts. The learning sessions were excellent, but most valuable was the time spent praying, worshipping, and sharing with co-workers from around the world.
Matt Hannan, pastor of New Heights Church and one of our keynote speakers, discussed the various styles that leaders use when dealing with others. Some are truth tellers who aren’t afraid to call a spade, a spade. Others are grace givers who are more inclined to spare feelings. However, the most effective leaders are those who have a little of both, those who speak the truth, tempered with love. In doing this we become more like Christ, who is as truthful as he is loving.
The apostle Paul put it plainly:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:15-16, NIV
In our desire to be effective in our leadership we need to ask God to help us set aside our natural inclinations and seek a more Christ-like balance of truth and grace. As we do this, we will both empower people with the truth and give them the freedom to grow in their giftings.