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Strong leaders needed now

Published: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that with 21st century technology some Christians believe leadership is not as important as it used to be.

However, the past is filled with stories about charismatic leaders who have led their congregations to an amazing growth and have become nationally or even internationally known. Just to name a few: Bill Hybels, Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. So how can we refute their leadership ability?

Today, social media and the Internet have changed the perception of local church leaders. Platforms are no longer the exclusive property of large churches and celebrity pastors, but are available to anyone who is capable of downloading or uploading the information available. Being an authority on a subject isn’t limited to professionals anymore. In fact, the professionals are sometimes viewed with skepticism because they are paid to do what they do.

The Book of Acts is the biblical ideal for the community-based leadership. But there are a number of leadership models that we wouldn’t want to follow. After all, we’ve seen some poor examples ... leaders who have isolated themselves, abused power and led toward themselves.

Consider some of the leaders people have experienced: self-serving leaders, impotent leaders, isolated leaders.

Self-serving leaders ... are leaders whose organizations are failing, but their resumé has never looked better. Leaders who interpret loyalty as blanket permission to bend the rules to their needs, according to Pastor Bobby Gruenwald. Leaders who abuse their power by taking advantage of those who have none.

When leaders become isolated and set themselves apart from the people they lead and serve, it’s common to see erratic decisions and moral failures. And we have to remember that relying on the wisdom of the crowd is no guarantee of success. Selfishness leads people to manipulate others for their own purposes, but that’s not true leadership.

We’ve always needed leaders, and we always will. We have significant things to accomplish, and the same cultural trends that can steer us away from leadership can also empower well-led churches more than ever. We need strong leaders who can rally support and champion causes. Leaders are defined by how they use their influence. Are we serving others or serving ourselves?

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