10 May 2013

The Costs of Leadership

In our last installment on Christian Leadership (April 9) we looked at Calling. Today we move on to Cost. What exactly is the cost of leadership?

In Luke 14:28, this question is asked, "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"
Answering that question will not get us out of our leadership role in the church, but we do need to be aware of the costs of leadership. We ought to recognize that they are there, and be prepared for them. I guess it's sort of like budgeting. We need to be prepared to pay the price for whatever active role we take in people’s lives.

In Acts 13:1-3 we read of the commissioning of Barnabas and Saul. That’s the easy part. The work begins at verse 4, when they set out on their first missionary journey together. For the next two years Barnabas and Saul traveled (as we read in the next two chapters of the Book of Acts) from Antioch to Seleucia to Salmis & Paphos (on Cyprus); then to Perga, Psidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, then back to Lystra, Iconium, Psidian Antioch, Perga and on to Attalia and eventually returning to Antioch in Syria.

They traveled over 1,000 miles, averaging, ­on good days, ­16 miles. This
was over rough terrain; crossing the Mediterranean Sea several times in small, leaky
boats. They had no furlough; no email; no phone.

Along the way they faced:

* Opposition from a sorcerer (13:8)
* Abuse and persecution (14:45, 50)
* Threats to their physical well-being (14:5)
* Stoning (14:19, 20)

And this was only the first two years ­ of the first missionary journey! You will
not likely face many of these problems as leaders in the church, but you
may face some. You may face some other, equally threatening, problems. If you stand up for God’s Word, you will be tested. You will be disrespected. You will have people say things about you which simply are not true. These things I can guarantee.

Taking seriously the call on our lives to be leaders; to develop the gifts God has given us is a sacrifice. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” Being a leader is about love. Now look at this, back in 1 Peter 4:12-16.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
Not exactly what you'd see on most job postings, is it? "Come join our team, we guarantee that you'll be reviled, and experience suffering and loss." But, that is the reality. The world (including many in the church) does not cherish God or His Word. If you are going to stand up for it, be ready for the backlash. 

BUT, praise God that we are deemed worthy, because of the work of Christ, to share with Him the sacrifice!

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