Challenges of Being a Christian Leader

Continued from here.

Why do people shy away from being Christian leaders? My textbook for my Global Missions class, Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey (Encountering Mission), lists several reasons for this reluctance.

First, people see the role as fatiguing. The leader has to fill in the gaps when others won’t do a task that needs to be completed, so Christian leadership can be tiring. In other words, leadership seems like too much work to many people.

Second, the leader is responsible for sorting out conflicting duties. I’ll share an example I have dealt with as leader of a Bible study in my local church. One priority is ensuring access to studying God’s Word to everyone. Another priority is ensuring the needs of the participants are met. I was leading a women’s Bible study that a man wanted to join because he was interested in the topic, and the church did not offer any men’s Bible studies at the time. Several women in the group were not comfortable with having a man in the Bible study because they wanted to talk about topics were not appropriate in mixed company. As the leader, I had to make the decision about which priority outweighed the other.

Third, people don’t want the responsibility of being the “bad guy.” In the example I just shared, I had to be the “bad guy” either to the man who wanted to join the group or the women who did not want a man in the group. No matter what I decided, I bore the responsibility of sharing the “bad news.”

Fourth, leading people is not always fun, particularly when they make the job a chore. This is why the Bible tells us to behave in a way that leading us is a joy and not a burden.

The fifth point ties into the second – the leader is responsible for making decisions in times of crisis. While those being led react to their floods of emotions, the leader must stay calm, despite how s/he feels, and make tough decisions in less-than-ideal circumstances.

The final point made in my textbook will be the topic of my next blog entry: bearing the pain of others.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cover of Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey (Encountering Mission). Courtesy Amazon.com.]