The primary difference between leadership in the
Kingdom of God and the world system is in the design and use of authority. To
understand this we need to see how authority is utilized in both.
The world system operates from a hierarchical
authority structure. That means that authority is based on your position in the
hierarchy. The further up the authority pyramid structure you are positioned the
greater your authority to direct and control those under you. (Authority in
the world system is the right and power to control and direct people, usually
toward a corporate goal or purpose but many times just for the advancement and
recognition of those who are above you in the hierarchy.)
A leader in the world system is a person who has
the ability to mobilize and motivate people to buy into or fulfill the leader's
goals or ambitions. This is presented as being a “team player” when in fact it
means “get on board with my plan”. Any questioning of the leader's plan or
strategy causes one to be branded as “not a team player”, a troublemaker, and
ousted from the team by being fired or sidelined.
Worldly leaders use people to advance their cause.
They look for people with natural abilities that will accomplish the leader's
purpose. They call this good people management because they desire to utilize
people to their fullest capabilities. A good world system leader causes people
to feel privileged to be recognized for what they are doing and slowly leads
them into basing their self worth and identity on their job performance.
What happens when this mindset of leadership is
brought into the Church and Kingdom? We have hierarchical denominational
structures operating like any other corporate entity. We have Pastors setting up
individual kingdoms for their own benefit. We have self appointed apostles who
set themselves up over a number of churches milking the offerings from God's
people for their own lifestyle excesses. None of which even remotely resembles
God's plan and pattern for His leaders.
Worldly leaders build successors who will
institutionalize and preserve their work. They are more concerned about what was
and what is than what is to come. They build museums to the past so that their
vision can be maintained..
Spiritual leadership has a mindset that is
centered around relational authority. This is family authority that is
exemplified by fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. A Spiritual leader is
one who has the heart of the Father and operates according to the desires of our
Because spiritual leaders have a viewpoint, a
mindset of the Father, they interact with people not according to who they
are now but according to who they will be in the Lord, who God
created them to be. They see in the Spirit a person's calling and they desire to
help that person fulfill his calling. Their fathering heart sees the Heavenly
Father's intentions and helps people move toward their fulfillment.
A spiritual leader does not position himself
between the Father and His children. Instead, he becomes a helper, a partner
with the Lord to assist the children to move on to maturity and accomplish their
Spiritual leaders are concerned about inheritors
not successors. Their concern is that those who come after will be able to build
on the work of the previous generation and carry it forward according to the
plans and purposes of God. They stand in the prophetic stream and desire heirs
who will also stand and flow in God's prophetic stream.
Kingdom leaders understand that they have no
authority over people. Only the Lord has authority over people [John 17:2]
and He has never delegated that authority to anyone. Kingdom leaders lead people
from a father's heart, entreating them and directing them from their heart's
desire for their good and their sincere fatherly love for them.
In II Cor. 10:18 Paul is reminding us that while
youthful zeal, talent, and self confidence look good in man's eyes, they are not
necessarily God's prerequisites for leadership. Some people think because of
grace and the fullness of Jesus' work that there is no such thing as
prerequisites or qualifications in the Lord. While this is true of our identity,
who we are in the Lord, it is not true of our work. There are no qualifications
for our place in the Lord. Jesus took care of all of that. However, there are
many qualifications for what we do. To perform the work of the Lord requires
that we be called and trained by the Holy Spirit. In other words we have to
qualify for our work.
What is man's part in the selection of leadership then? God
chooses leadership, man recognizes it and confirms that leadership by the act of
ordination. Paul and Silas followed this procedure in Acts 14:23 where they
ordained elders in every church and they committed them to the Lord. But this is
not an arbitrary choice on their part but they were confirming the leadership
the Lord had already given. Paul makes this plain in his farewell to the
Ephesian elders in Act 20:28 where he talks about the overseers which God has
made for the Flock.
God's choice of leadership is not determined by a
maturity already achieved but by potential. The Lord knows our hearts and He
sees the end from the beginning. He already knows the outcome. In fact, God
often calls men whom the world considers unqualified and proceeds to pour some
of His most powerful ministries through them. Their ministries are not based on
their abilities, but on the Lord's. It is important for those chosen for
leadership to know that the choice was not made on the basis of their own
talents. The minister will grow into the fulfillment of his ministry provided he
remains humble and faithful. In I Cor. 2:3-5 Paul himself follows this pattern.
He completely discounts all of his own brilliance and intellectual ability and
gives all of the glory to God.
Christians have developed a warped view of what constitutes
mature Christian leadership. The more mature a Christian is the more natural he
is. He shares the truth God has entrusted to him in a way which accurately
reflects his own personality. He does not project a false piousness or a fake
holiness that separates him from people. He gets credit for his ministry to God
but the glory is put on the Lord where it belongs. He does this without false
humility. He is secure but not complacent in the task of performing his
ministry. He has also learned not take himself too seriously.