“We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7,8)
Have you ever thought of church leadership being described in maternal terms? Here St. Paul characterizes his church planting team as behaving “like a mother caring for her little children.” Yet I have never seen this kind of church leadership promoted or publicized. Why not? What does St. Paul’s model of leadership have to teach us today?
There are as many models for leadership as there are styles of leadership. There is no ‘best’ style of leadership but there is the most effective style for a particular situation. What works in one situation may not work in another. What works in the military will not work in the home. What works in a school may not work in a hospital. What works in politics may not work in a football or basketball team. What works in a business may not work in a homeless shelter. What works for you in your sphere of influence? What sort of leader are you? All of us give leadership in different ways whether we are aware of it or not.
Nicholas Murray Butler, a former president of Columbia University, said, “There are three kinds of people in the world – those who don’t know what’s happening, those who watch what’s happening, and those who make things happen.” Though leadership maybe hard to define, the one characteristic common to all leaders is the ability to make things happen. We set the tone for the community in which we live. What we are to those around us, how we interact with each other – friend or stranger – may be positive or negative and bring more light or more darkness. God has created us to live to his glory.
Without leadership nothing gets done properly. How we organize our lives and relate to other people determines our style of leadership. Familiar problems are often problems of leadership. Friction which arises between people as they work together sometimes happens because of poor leadership. Lack of inspiration and encouragement reveals a deficiency in leadership – the leader has not learned to inspire confidence. Lack of coordination and failure to delegate and organize tasks stems from a lack of direction. Procrastination and lack of planning for the future is the result of poor leadership decisions whether it is in managing our finances, our time or our work.