BIG MAN Leadership

Posted: December 7, 2012 by J in Church

Leaders love to be praised. All of us!

We’re thinking over the implications of Jesus’ teaching (Luke 22) on sinful human leadership approaches. 1. was leadership of domination. 2 is leadership that makes a big name for the leader.

25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them call themselves ‘Benefactor’. But not so with you.

Leaders naturally like to be famous. They like to be known and admired. They want everyone to talk about them, and say how great they are. Big name leadership is leadership that aims at this praise.

One variety of this approach is Babel-style leadership. To have a big name a leader needs to get a big group together. If he can pull in a lot of people under his leadership, he has a bigger base on which to raise his pyramid. He can go higher. Think Yurtle the turtle.

This means creating BIG CHURCH. No one is impressed by leaders of less than 100 people. In Sydney it needs 2-300 minimum.  Then the leader starts to get an aura about him. If smaller churches will serve the area better, he can still do it: create a conglomerate of smaller churches, with him as the HEAD MAN over them all. All the pastors must report to him. None of them will make a big name, but the head man will.

If the leader can’t create a big church, he can probably still get a big name by transferring to a pre-existing one. This is why, when ministers shift, they always try to go to a church bigger than the one they left.

Even at a smaller the leader can make a name for himself, within the congregation. It’s easy for us leaders to convince the congregation we are superior: spiritual stuff is the stuff that counts, and we do the most spiritual stuff. Easy. Bible teaching is the most important thing. And we do all the bible teaching. So which of us do you think is the most important?

The leader doesn’t have to teach people to think this – it happens automatically. As long as in his teaching he emphasises the value of gospel work and neglects the value of all other work – the congregation can join the dots. I mean, who’s the dude that’s giving his all for the kingdom, round here? He is!

It does help, though, if he can make sure his activities are well-publicised. If everyone knows how busy he is, and how hard he’s working for the kingdom, he should get heaps of awed admiration. A blog can help here!

He can also get a reputation as a sage. If a leader can convey to his people that he has stacks of higher knowledge that others don’t have, he gets the aura. A large library, prominently displayed, is invaluable here. A few choice comments about greek or hebrew in the sermon. The people want him to be an expert, it’s not necessary to push here. He can get it so they won’t trust any ideas unless they’ve been OK’d by him.

Obviously not everyone can achieve a REALLY big name. That’s usually for those with exceptional gifts. Teaching or writing or  organisational/motivational or academic gifts. If you are lucky enough to have one of these, you can so overshadow the gifts of the rest of the church, that it will seem like all the gifts are concentrated in you. You can make a BIG name – maybe even become famous worldwide.

The rest of us will have to be content with a relatively big name. But we can still be at least ten turtles above the swamp.

This is BIG NAME Leadership. It’s the second category that Jesus warns against.

The main alternative to this is, of course, to be more interested in the gifts and life-calling of the people than in your own.


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