Dictators make poor role models for Christian leadership. Oh, they get things done. Their orders get followed– or else. But they are not the example for what God wants for pastors, teachers, parents or any others who aspire to lead like Jesus.
The cautionary story of Rehoboam in I Kings 12 serves as a reminder that dictatorship is a poor replacement for true servant leadership. Remember the advice given him by his wisest, most experienced counselors? “If you will be a servant to these people and serve them, and if you respond to them by speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants forever.” (1 Kings 12:7)
Good advice rejected.
Somehow young Rehoboam thought he would be a better leader if he demanded and threatened and cajoled. (And, let’s face it. Who doesn’t enjoy a little cajoling?) But, to his great surprise, the folks didn’t respond favorably.
Young leader, choose to lead by service. Serve your family. Serve your small group members. Serve your church. Choose to lead by example.
Servant leaders are still leaders. They provide insight and direction and influence. But, instead of demanding leadership, they earn it. Instead of threats, they provide examples. Instead of anger, they lead by love. And, their leadership becomes something others want to follow and learn to emulate.
The Christian community needs strong leadership. We need it in our homes, churches, small groups and ministries. But we need our strong leadership lathered in a servant’s heart and provided on bended knee. We need strong leaders who will wash feet and pick up trash. We need strong leaders who will love us and set an example for us.
Dictators need not apply.