To be placed in leadership is an awesome honor. As a bit of an understatement, may I also say, leadership is also a sober responsibility. With an appointment to lead, at any level in any organization, comes accountability. With healthy respect for the integrity of the organization or group you have been appointed to lead comes the expectation of trustworthiness, stewardship, and respect for the authority who has empowered and trusted you.
I am currently out of town for two weeks. My wife’s parents are downsizing, requiring a move from the spacious two-story home they have occupied for more than two decades, into a much smaller domicile within a senior living community. As the “chief” servant of my household and our marriage, it would be a shame for me to be less than attentive to the process going on with my wife’s parents. She and they need my help during this time. Being a faithful husband is one thing that just might trump the importance of being a faithful pastor.
As a leader of a local New Testament Church, it is imperative that while I am away, I have trustworthy leaders around me who will faithfully tend to the needs of the church body that I lead. They are to be capable, willing and accountable to do what I do—care for the “sheep” (see John 10).
To put it simply, my two staff partners are responsible to diligently and faithfully feed, guide, guard and serve the sheep who are under my care and oversight. I have no doubt that they will do so because we share that joyful burden day in and day out. Though I am the “senior” leader, we all work together complimenting one another in ministering to the saints at Open Bible Fellowship.
If I were to discover that my team shirked their responsibility and used my absence to be idle, to redefine the job they have been equipped and trained to do, or revolt in an effort to usurp my authority—that would mean they were wolves among the sheep rather than co-laboring shepherds. The discipline of the Lord would come swiftly and definitively—as it should. All that is written above simply points to the nature of what true leadership requires. Here is a short list of what is expected of my team both when I am on duty and on call as well as when I am away. My team and I are to always be:
When called upon to lead, lead by example. When offered a chance to stand in for a leader temporarily, stand with faithfulness. When selecting someone to stand in for you—wait, watch, test and empower them appropriately!
Pastor Chris Byrd