"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3
"Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." I Timothy 1:18-20
Always remember that we exist only by the grace of our Lord, as Paul expounds to us. Paul's ministry was the result of grace and so is ours. As the call and responsibility have been given to us to carry it through completion with the gifts and abilities we are given. Knowledge is the recognition of our faith and the abilities we are given, and what we are to do with them. Be realistic, yet bold and daring, be wise stewards and cautious, yet go with gusto. Wisdom gives us the temperament and balance and place for us to be. We are to be growing in wisdom of the Lord, know what our capacities are, and where the opportunities lay so we know where to go, where to grow, and then carry it to be the lead.
Timothy received his call to the pastorate, and with it the responsibility to grow in knowledge and lead effectively. Timothy's anointing for service comes from the work of the Holy Spirit and the gifts he received and the responsibility to follow through with vigor. And the repercussions that fall on us when we fail to yield to our call, and mislead others in the wrong direction, and wrong knowledge as with "Hymenaeus and Alexander" should cause us to fall to our knees in remorse. With knowledge comes the responsibility to use it in the wisdom it is meant, and not adding our inclinations to it.
A leader must have the knowledge and experience to put in practice the work that needs to be done. The leader will be studious so that they are nourished by the Word, getting into the Scriptures with study and application, not just reading it like a novel. The Word must touch us as who we are and transform our very core, this is the knowledge that leads and transforms. You cannot lead if you do not know the way, and to know the way you must have the knowledge. The knowledge comes from experience and experience comes from discipleship. The will of God is for us to study His Word, this will change our behaviors and our lives, so that others want to be like us, because we are like Him.
The ability to lead others is expressed in the knowledge we are able to present to others, so they can in turn make a difference and be transformed by the renewing of their mind and ours. Success is measured in discipleship where we learn and grow for our Lord. This will make the walk a victory, as we are obedient to the call. Because we will be examples by our experience to obey out of our desire to do so, not out of obligation, and thus, a positive infectious campaign to the rest of the body starts with the leader.
Our behaviors cannot change until we know how to behave correctly, this is knowledge, not by emotional commitments that do not last, but real effort in the will to work out our salvation in discipleship. "…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."(Colossians 3:10) Renewal comes from emotionalism-NOT! It comes from knowledge and by the power of the Holy Spirit! Emotions are great, but they cannot substitute for a real commitment and the work and effort that the Christian life calls for, which is essential for leadership.
Too many Christians neglect the basics of the faith, and replace it with new teachings or neglect teaching all together. They forget who God is, and who we are in Christ. If we do not know who God is and what is our call and responsibility, then how can we lead others in the direction that God calls? We can't. The opposite of maturity is immaturity, and this is the result of no direction brought on by no knowledge. This leads us in rebellion against God, and as leaders, we will lead others away as well. We will be leading people in hopelessness and despair, because most people cannot discern the difference. Thus it is the leader's responsibility to lead with correct knowledge based on God's Word.
We can learn by reading biographies of great Christian leaders as an example to follow, and the biographies of rock stars and celebrities from cable TV to see what happens when we follow our own way.
Knowledge also encompasses the ability to run the show you are in charge of. So if you are a new board member, you should not be its lead unless you have the experience to do so. Allow yourself to be mentored in a subordinate position first, before taking control. If you are on a board, such as finance, but have no knowledge of accounting then you are in the wrong position. If you are on the evangelism committee but have no direct experience in leading evangelism campaigns or the willingness to go and learn then you are on the wrong team.
A leader must know his gifts and abilities and be realistic with them to be serving the best for the glory of our Lord. If you desire to be on a committee or team in which you do not have the experience, then learn about it, take a course at the local college or even a correspondence course, and allow yourself to be mentored. If you truly have the desire for a position, then you must also have the desire to pursue the knowledge it takes to make it work.
Be careful that your knowledge does not puff you up as Paul warns. Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. A lot of Christian groups have rebelled against knowledge and education because of the arrogance they perceive, and for good reason from their perspective. Personal corruption can take on the form of knowledge, because knowledge is power and control. We need to heed to the responsibility of wisdom and humbleness of the knowledge that God gives us, not its power trappings to put down others with.
We can be assured that what Christ did is relevant and impacting, and is a reality that must be accepted and committed to. The Sovereign Creator of the universe must transform our lives and nowhere else are we to find our lead. He will pursue, and we are to respond and surrender to His sovereignty. Then our purpose will be unfolded before us and the impact we have will be beyond our dreams and expectations.
I Timothy tells us, "Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." I Timothy 4:15-16
© 1994, 2001, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org