Leaders must be among the people

We can be touched by the lives and words of those we’ve never met. They can enhance our lives by their wisdom, art or example.

Yet, to truly be moved by them, we would need to see them in quiet moments and in the natural course of life. Leadership must be personal and present. 

NBA stars will be heroes to young basketball players. However, they will never have the impact that the coach sweating alongside of them will have.

“Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves” (Lao Tzu).

Jesus was constantly among the people.

They saw, felt and heard him in a variety of situations.  How he conducted himself changed everything (Mark 12:37). By contrast, the leadership of the Jews never truly saw Jesus for who he was.

Elders in the Lord’s Church are compared to shepherds who must be among the flock (Acts 20:28-29). The people must have examples so they can see how the spiritually mature handle the challenges of life.

Godly leaders never flaunt themselves or act condescending toward the people. They must be governed by humility (James 4:10), as they teach and lead people to Jesus.

The qualifications of elders are steeped in presence.

They are told to “take care of the church of God” (1 Timothy 3:5, NKJV). In Luke 10:34, taking “care” of the injured man meant that the Samaritan washed, bandaged and soothed the patient.

Godly leaders will be personally involved in the lives of the saints, touching them deeply and allowing Jesus to truly shine in their souls.

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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