Understanding Leadership and Assimilation

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Introduction

Today’s world has redefined leadership as the aspect of commandinginfluence among the masses. Leadership today is a function of powerand not necessarily guidance. Selfishness is the main steering wheelin most leadership avenues in society today. This thesis analyzesleadership in relation to the values and virtues in religion. Whetheror not religion is still relevant in our social settings in societyis also a critical area of interest.1

To analyze leadership in society I review leadership icons indifferent parts of the world throughout history such as GeorgeWashington.2This covers the different religions, cultures and social settings theworld over. I also review case studies of individuals holdingleadership positions in religion, politics and business. I alsointerview random individuals on their general perspectives on today’sleadership. The goal is to come up with a pattern of consistentleadership values and how they have changed with time. Moreimportantly, I comprehensively analyze these values in the context ofreligion so as to come up with an ideal leadership perspective inline with God’s will.3

The question on whether leaders are born or made is also of interest.This is because in the context of religious doctrines leaders weredesignated and appointed by God. They were subsequently given powerand dominion. In contrast, today’s world incorporates self-madeleaders and there are countless establishments offering leadershipcourses. Therefore, I analyze the relevance of religion in society aswell as that of leadership teachings offered in different platforms.4 Much focus is given to religious leadership on their special role inthe world. By the end of my review, one should have a distinctunderstanding on what it means to be a true leader, failures of ourleaders and the way forward in relation to religious teachings.

My Leadership Style

History has proved that everything rises and falls on leadership. Inthe past, leadership icons such as George Washington have reigned andare remembered for their exemplary deeds5.Goodleadership leads to a good life. I will start by analyzing twowell-known leaders in history. More importantly, I will start by acomprehensive analysis of their values in the context of religion inorder to mark out an ideal leadership perspective that does notcontradict the will of God6.Saul and Solomon used to rule the nation of Israel some one thousandyears before the coming of the Messiah. Both of them ruled well atfirst, but things fell apart along the way. Saul started as aGod-fearing man. He would fight and win great battles with God’shelp. However, there came times when he violated clear commands fromGod. At one time, he offered up sacrifice without permission. Thatact became a turning point in his leadership. He lost God’s favor,and everything started to fall apart. Looking at, it is clear that helacked humility. He failed to recognize the sovereignty of the onetrue God. Like Saul, Solomon started as a good king. He had God’sfavor. He was given the privilege of building the temple, and he evenbecame the wisest man to have ever lived. However, he went ahead todishonor God’s commandments by marrying many women who did notworship the true God of Israel. His pride led to the fall of a greatkingdom. Israel was divided into two. David was an exact opposite ofthe two. He was a good king. He led and won battles. He obeyed theprophets and did everything according to God’s will. However, hefailed God at one time and committed adultery with Bathsheba. Insteadof allowing pride to overtake him, he humbled himself before God andrepented. By so doing, he was blessed. God went ahead to make acovenant with him for an everlasting kingdom.

A study of the first three kings of Israel has taught me a lot.First, pride precedes a great fall. Being humble is the only way toachieving good leadership. The greatest man to have walked the earthwas a humble person. Jesus left his comfortable home in the heavensand came down to the earth to give his life for sinners. While here,he showed humility to a great extent. He even washed the feet of hisdisciples to prove a point. Therefore, in imitation of Jesus, I haveadopted a leadership style that is characterized by humility and alack of self-importance. Putting the interests of others first is theonly way towards good leadership.

Cultivating Leadership Qualities

Being humble is not easy. Cultivating the quality of humility is anuphill task7.I grew up in a family with loving parents who showed me compassion toa great deal. The attention that was directed to me when I was ayoung person made me feel very important. Feelings of pride aredeveloped, and I always insisted on my way. Studying religion showedme the need for change. If I wanted to be a good leader, I had toclothe myself with a new personality. For this to happen, patience isanother quality that should come in handy. For example, I do not skipthe queue anymore just because nobody will see me. I have made it myaim to put the interests of others before my own. Jesus said that“when someone hits you on the right cheek, give him your rightcheek also.” That teaching helps me to be on the losing side ofarguments and heated debates. This way, I do not disagree with peoplelike I used to before.

Working on the leadership skills takes a lifetime. As a normal humanbeing, I know that I am not perfect. Knowing this motivates me towork towards a better future. My wish is to wake up every day as abetter person. I still fight against the feelings of anger and a lackof self-control. Therefore, for me to be more effective, I need toacquire all the fruits of the spirit. If I get self-control, I willbe able to avoid bursts of anger because I believe that a good leadershould be calm. On top of that, I know that a lack of self-controlmay exhibit itself in subtle ways. For example, I have the habit ofbuying something simply because I admire it and not because I do needit. Such a habit needs to be corrected. If I am faithful in smallmatters, then I will be able to handle huge responsibilities shortly.I know that some responsibilities may include budgeting for thechurch money8.Such a responsibility requires the quality of self-control and goodorganization. To be a better leader tomorrow, I have theresponsibility of cultivating self-control, patience, and angermanagement.

The other quality that is deeply rooted in me is my love for Jesusand my dedication to the ministry. The purpose of the ministry is toassist people to know God. This can be relayed to the people in wordand deed. Much energy is required for such work. Therefore, I mustsacrifice myself as I sink deep into my ministry. As a model forothers, I have to be a zealous preacher of the word. Zealousnessmeans that I must spread the word under all costs. Some people maytend to feel ashamed of themselves. Such feelings are only natural.However, I have to work towards the uprooting of such feelings ofshame. For me to be successful, I have to cultivate boldness andbravery. I will create time for the upcoming ministers of the wordwho might be emulating me. I will teach suchlike ones my skills sothat they can become successful, too.

Leading by Example

Today, many crimes, such as terrorism and gross immorality, have beencommitted in the name of religion. This has led many to question therole of religion9.Funny enough, all the religions preach peace and good morals.Certainly, it is crystal clear that many preachers fail to practicewhat they preach. I have therefore made it my aim to practice what Ipreach. In short, I mean that my actions should be in completeharmony with my messages. It would not be fair for me to preach todrunkards during the day and go to the pub by night. That would be anact of hypocrisy. Certainly, I have to become a model of the ministryby preaching vehemently and practicing what I preach. I stronglybelieve that doing this will contribute to the growth of the church.

The growth of the church is firmly based on three basic principles.These are plowing, planting and harvesting. The three principles helpa lot in the growth of the church. Plowing refers to offeringpetitions for those who are not saved so they can see the light.Planting refers to planting the seeds of God’s word in people’shearts. Harvesting comes when someone comes to a good understandingof the word of God. These principles require people to work together.The book of 1 Corinthians 3:5-910highlights how the Christians worked together for the growth of thechurch. Paul says that though he was the one who planted the seed,his brother in Christ, Apollos, watered it. However, Paul clearlyindicates that the growth of the seed is God’s doing. The accounttaught me that if people work as a team for the growth of the church,things turn out well. The understanding of these three principles iskey to a successful ministry.

The Basic Church growth principles

Nowadays, it is possible for many ministers to go out preachingwithout offering sincere prayers to God. Prayer is necessary forsalvations. That is why it is compared to plowing. In essence, it isimpossible to plant or harvest without plowing when it comes to realagriculture. Therefore, I will have to make it my aim to offersincere prayers to God before starting out my preaching campaigns.Such prayers should be intense for me to get assured that I haveGod’s backing. Furthermore, it would be necessary to pray alongwith my listeners. This reminds me of my role model, Jesus Christ. Hetreasured praying. He took some time alone and even isolated Himselfto pray. After doing so, he would embark on his ministry and preachto many people. His success as a messenger of God was based on hisprayerful nature. Praying shows that one recognizes God directs theministry. Therefore, praying can be likened to a good communicationbetween an employee and his employer. Such communication would leadto a successful mission. In my current and future ministries, I will,therefore, have to apply the three principles. These are plowing,planting and harvesting to please my God. Additionally, in-depthknowledge of the back to basics principles is also needed.

Back to Basics

The back to basics process addresses five essential concerns. Theprinciples aim at helping the various congregations to adopt biblicalunderstanding. Such an understanding may help one to know how tofunction as an individual seeking to have a profound impact on theworld for Christ. The back to basics in recovering the biblicalchurch presents the challenge of defining the church as an organismrather than an organization11[ CITATION Fal08 l 1033 ].For instance, many people define the church in terms of buildings andlocations. But this should not be the case. On the contrary, the newcovenant lives in our hearts and not in the stones and bricks thatmake the church’s structure. Certainly, we should understand thatwe are the church in the flesh. The back to basics principles inrecovering biblical evangelism are designed to help people understandthe true meaning of evangelism. Evangelism is not for the chosen few.Rather, everyone should embrace the work of a preacher without fearof persecution. On top of that, the back to basics process has amentoring aspect that is designed to help pastors in maintainingtheir righteous course. Through this process, ministers of the wordget to learn how to be responsible and accountable12.A good understanding of the principles is essential for properworship, evangelism and discipleship.

Applying the back to basics principles has played a part in mytransformation. I can say that my understanding of the church and itscommission has grown to a great extent. I no longer see the church asan organization. To me, it is like an organism. I like comparing thechurch to the five fingers of my hand. This illustration has helpedme to appreciate the importance of every church member. Evidently, weare not equal. We come from different backgrounds and have differentupbringings. However, our differences do not divide us. Instead, thecomplementary differences unite us and make us one. The churchbecomes like a beautiful sanctuary that everyone feels welcome. Sucha church makes the process of discipleship and assimilation easy.

Discipleship and Assimilation

The New Testament outlines nice examples of church leaders who werein the forefront of disciple-making and assimilation. In imitation ofthese faithful men and women of old, it is clear that discipling andassimilation is not a twenty-minute affair. To be effective, oneneeds to do more than preaching to large crowds of people. First andforemost, it would be fair to spend more time with anyone who wishesto get saved. Doing so will contribute to the growth of a strong bondbetween the minister of the word and the disciple. Such a bond shouldbe a lasting one. The disciple will begin to develop trust in thechurch leaders. To him/her, the leaders become confidants and closefriends. That way, he/she feels at home in the church.

Very soon, I will be an experienced leader and minister of the goodnews. Personally, I enjoy preaching to people and making newdisciples for Christ. Therefore, like Jesus, I have to developcompassion and fellow feeling the new church members. Once I realizethat someone wants to give him/her life to Jesus, I will endeavor tospend more time with the person, teaching him and getting to knowhim/her better. I would be delighted to see the disciples developingtrust in me and to view me as their friend. Moreover, since thechurch is made up of different people with different abilities, itwould be a fair thing to work together with the fellow members in theassimilation process. I endeavor to help the new church members inthe widening process. They should view everybody in the church as abrother or a sister. Such a relationship will certainly make themfeel at home.

Evidently, the assimilation and discipleship processes will have animpact on my current and future strategies of multiplication throughmentoring. As the numbers of the church members increase, the work ofshepherding God’s sheep becomes enormous. Therefore, more churchleaders will be needed. On top of that, at the back of my mind, thereis a sad truth. The truth life is not long enough. Therefore, when Ileave this world, I have to make sure that God’s people are beingtaken care of. It is, therefore, my duty to help others who arereaching out for this leadership positions. Such persons will need tobe trained so that they can get equipped with enough skills for everygood work. Again, I will refer to Jesus’s multiplication andmentoring strategies. Jesus trained his twelve apostles to start thechurch. Evidently, such training was not easy. The apostle was justbut imperfect humans. At times, they fought over greatness. Otherswould evidently show partiality by preventing the toddlers fromtouching their master Jesus. One of the twelve became a lost courseand went ahead to betray his master. However, despite all these,Jesus did not get angry with them. He was patient and kind. Hecorrected them in a gentle way and even used parables to teach them.When leaving for heaven, he commissioned them to go and makedisciples from all the nations13(Mathew 28:18, 19). Additionally, he promised to send a Helper, whowould continue with them in the ministry.

In imitation of Jesus Christ, I have to understand that everyone isimperfect. Therefore, I should not expect the upcoming leaders to doeverything right. When training someone to take up any leadershipposition, I will have to spend enough time with the person, teachingand encouraging him/her. When they make mistakes, the qualities ofpatience and kindness will help me reprove them. To have suresuccess, I will put this matter in my prayers so that the grace ofthe Lord can be with me. By so doing, I believe that I will manage tomake more leaders for the future. That way, the future of the churchwill be safe.

Discipleship and evangelism should work together. Jesus is theultimate teacher. He started by making disciple and latercommissioned them to evangelize and make disciples. A disciple is alearner who is eager to share him/her knowledge with others.Evangelism is the work of spreading the good news to people. Thosewho listen to the good news and agree to get saved become disciples.When they learn enough, they begin sharing the information with otherpeople. In short, they start evangelizing. Having said that, it isclear the evangelism leads to discipleship and discipleship leads toevangelism. This implies that evangelism and discipleship must gohand In hand. Neither evangelism nor discipleship can exist alone. Ifeveryone would embrace this truth, then the church would prove to bea healthy one.

A healthy Church

A healthy church to me is a group of spiritually healthy people whopursue righteousness and goals that honor God. A healthy church mustbe kind, loving and prayerful. A healthy church is a like a buildingthat has a very strong foundation. Such a church does not waiver infaith. In the face of trials and tribulations, the church must standunited to defend the gospel. A healthy church is ever growing. Ittakes up the responsibility of helping others to get to know God forwho He is. Therefore, the goal of every church member should be tomaintain high spiritual standards as well as unity. As a churchmember, I do realize that it is my duty to keep the church healthy.Therefore, I have to work hard in strengthening the faith of fellowbelievers. My duty is to prepare everyone to hope for the best but toexpect the worst. Those who live in expectation of the worstconditions are always ready. Such ones do persevere in prayer andfasting to increase their individual spiritual strength. In anutshell, as a current and future leader, I realize that thespiritual health of the church depends on my actions. Therefore, Ihave to be vigilant now and in the future.

As I had said earlier, a healthy churchgrows exponentially. Knowing this prepares me for the work ahead.This is the work of multiplication of congregations and disciples14

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11 Falwell, Jonathan , Charles Billingsley Billingsley, and Ergun Caner. Innovate Church.

Nashville: B&ampH Publishing Group, 2008.

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