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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

01 Jul '14

Leaders and the fruit of the Spirit

Posted by T.J. Addington
Why is it that there seem to be so many leaders in the ministry world who are pushy, pugnacious, self-centered, unkind in their comments and generally not nice people to work for? And, while they want staff to serve them they often do not serve staff and in not a few instances create toxic workplaces for those below themselves. Sometimes, their behaviors are so extreme that they make headlines in CT and other publications. The number of dysfunctional Christian leaders seems out of proportion to the general public. There I have said it!

Juxtaposed to these behaviors are the Fruit of the Spirit which are to characterize all believer's lives and one would assume an even higher standard for those who are in ministry leadership, including church board members: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness and self control (Ephesians 5:22). It is interesting that the last descriptor listed is "self control" which means that our impulses are kept in check whether it is attitude, treatment of others, use of power, our words or our demeanor.

My sense is that we pay far too little attention to our inner life as leaders which would include the nurturing of the behaviors that reflect the Holy Spirit rather than our own ambitions or inadvertently taking on the leadership methodology of the world around us. Thus what we espouse and how we lead are often in conflict with one another. 

It is sad for me to see the number of visits to blogs on dysfunctional leaders, toxic workplaces and abusive behaviors. Since my readership is largely from the evangelical world that says something about what people struggle with in terms of their own leaders. My conclusion is that leaders whose behaviors don't reflect the fruit of the Spirit should not be in ministry leadership roles. Sadly if they can "produce" they keep ending up in such roles. 

For my fellow leaders, a regular check on how we are doing against the Spirit's grid is an important exercise. We also might become happier and healthier in the process.