It is a privilege to serve as a leader in the kingdom of God. It is an honor to be entrusted with the gift to teach and disciple the people of God. Yet with this gift, leaders are held to a higher standard. James 3:1 warns us, “Not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
It is important that we teach well, but we must be very careful that our lifestyles don’t let people down. Will we be perfect? No, we will not be perfect. Nevertheless, let us be the type of leaders who lead not only with our words, but also with our lives. Let us be able to say with confidence like the Apostle Paul, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing” (Philippians 4:9, emphasis added).
For example, abortion is one of the most talked-about subjects in the evangelical church. It is the deciding factor in elections, the topic of many sermons, and the reason some choose to protest with pictures of unborn babies that would cause even the toughest man to squirm. The church is screaming “pro-life,” but I contend mainly in propaganda and not in action. What do I mean? It is easy to be pro-life or pro-anything behind a computer screen or in speech. However, the world needs to see consistency. It needs to watch our lives and say, “Yes. Yes, they truly do care about this issue.” As leaders, our followers need to see beyond our words and witness our actions. Are you that kind of leader?
I recently discovered that type of leader. I was talking to some friends recently about our mutual friend, Pastor Odai. We were discussing his love for the people in his congregation and in the community in which he serves. Pastor Odai had a meeting a few years ago with a family in deep emotional distress. The wife was pregnant and the family wanted to abort the baby. The couple already had children and felt they could not afford one more mouth to feed. Of course, the pastor told them that he could not support an abortion, but the couple was adamant. They didn’t know what to do! They felt they had no other alternative. The wife was in tears as she agonized over her dilemma. They told him that they knew abortion was wrong but had no other choice. Pastor Odai then told the couple that if they would choose to have the baby, he would adopt the baby and raise it as his own child. The man began to cry and probably thought to himself, “What manner of love is this?” The family decided to keep the child.