Bad Leaders Often Win the Battle But They Always Lose the War

I have been contemplating leadership over the past number of weeks.  The chief reason, is that we have an MA Missional Leadership program at Trinity, and I have just completed a series of lectures, hence the blog.

I have been pondering how and why poor leaders often seem to win the many battles they wage.  It often seems unjust and I ask myself, "where is can He let this person get away with this?" 

Here are a few facts to be abundantly aware of when it comes to poor Christian leadership:

  • They are manipulative leaders.
  • They never share all the facts with everyone...they usually share little bits and pieces of information with a few people, but withhold the full story from most.
  • They are more concerned with themselves than they are with the people they lead.
  • They are in leadership because of an innate need for power and control.
  • They can appear fun loving and disarming on the outside, but are often full of suspicion and internal rancor.
  • They don't trust others because they cannot trust themselves.

And this list could go on and on! I am not a skeptic and I am not trying to discredit Christian leaders.  I am simply highlighting the fact that there are poor leaders all around the globe and unfortunately, they can also be found in the Christian community.  Paul and I are both in Christian leadership and we honestly feel privileged to do what we do, but we often find our task more difficult because of the failure of a few poor leaders who have abused people along the way.

Here are a few facts that you need to be aware of when it comes to dealing with poor leadership:

  • You do not have to tolerate abuse.  I am not suggesting for one moment that anyone should dishonor a Christian leader, but I do think that we can and should challenge anyone, including a Christian leader when they are not abiding by biblical principles or when they are blatantly dishonest or unjust.
  • You should alert other Christian leaders to the problem.  Too often we keep quiet because we think we should not criticise a Christian leader.  My friend, the truth is, you should stand up to anyone when they are being dishonorable.
  • You should never be afraid of a Christian leader. In my view, Christian leaders should be the most approachable people of all.  A Christian leader worth his or her salt will always be willing to listen to the truth.  No godly leader will run from the truth.
  • You should always approach a leader with respect.  Even when we confront poor leaders we need to be respectful.

Over the past forty years, I have seen and been the victim of unkind, terrible Christian leadership.  I have seen these people harm the body of Christ - yet, I have also seen the resilience of the Church to rise above abuse and to continue to grow.  

If you are a leader, clothe yourself with humility and love.  Strive to lead people in gentleness and kindness and put on the virtue of grace.

If you are someone who has been subject to poor leadership you need to heed the advice of this post.  Don't let their failings color your future and hinder your spiritual journey.

So let me say this:  Many times leaders win the battle because they are manipulative, they feed the information they want people to hear, and they use fear and control in winning their battle in their unique but ungodly way.  However, they will never win the war or the final battle because God sees them and he cannot bless manipulators and control freaks. God watches us and sees everything we do.  If nothing else inspires us it should be the fact that "our God sees us." 

Have a blessed day!

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,