The last few weeks have been focused on core convictions. I've been reviewing my core convictions related to the church and ministry. This weeks conviction is: Leaders in the church must be teachable, humble servants and loyal to the church and the leaders God has put in place. This seems like a no-brainer. Of course leaders in the church should be teachable, humble and loyal servants. And you would be right to assume such thing. The reality is often much different. There are power hungry deacons and elders in churches around the world. Worship leaders with an agenda. Kids ministry leaders with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. Pastors who never admit they are wrong.
These types of leaders inhabit churches everywhere. Some people think talent is enough. Or competence is enough to overcome these negative qualities. Having been in leadership long enough I have learned the hard way that talent and competence are not enough to compensate for a lack of humble, loyal servant hood.
A teachable leader listens. An unteachable leader talks and defends him or herself at every opportunity. A teachable leader evaluates his or her actions and looks for ways to improve. An unteachable leader doesn't feel the need to evaluate. They are satisfied with where they are. Leaders MUST be teachable because a leader who is not growing and improving can't help others grow and improve. A good indicator of whether or not someone is teachable is when someone suggests an improvement or new strategy to a leader. How do they respond? Do they get offended and upset or do they honestly receive the feedback and process it? The suggestion might be frivolous but a teachable leader will respect the suggestion enough to think it over. Teachable leaders know they have growing to do.
A humble leader tries decrease so that Jesus can increase. A humble leader recognizes their gifts and abilities and uses them but also realizes where those abilities came from. They don't toot their own horn, they give credit where it is due and they accept responsibility for when things go wrong. A lack of humility leads to shifting the blame, taking the credit and putting oneself in the best seat. Humble leaders are team players.
A humble, teachable leader is a servant. This is the leader you don't have to ask to help. They are already there leading the way as a servant. And when they do serve, you never hear about it except maybe from others. A servant serves - without recognition or applause. They do it not because they have to but because they want to and love for Jesus compels them. A leader who is not a servant can be spotted easily. They conveniently find a way to be busy somewhere else when it's time for the heavy lifting or they like to tell others what to do while they take a "supervisory" role. Servants serve. They get their hands dirty and they do it alongside the people they are leading.
A leader is loyal to other leaders and the people who are over them in the Lord. This does not mean they must always agree with the pastor and/or the elders or other leaders in the church. Loyalty is not always being a "yes-man or woman" or always just going along to get along. Loyalty means if there is a disagreement or a concern then that leader brings it to the ones over them in the Lord or the person they disagree with. It means that they are the first to seek reconciliation if it is needed. Loyalty means that they do not look for agreement and buy-in from others for their "cause" or mount a campaign against other leaders. Loyalty means seeking unity and harmony first.
Leaders in the church, no matter what ministry they serve, must display these characteristics.