Thursday, November 09, 2006

To Lead is to Serve

So, there are big changes in the American government, with the Democrats now taking the lead in the House of Representatives and possibly also the Senate. Suddenly a Republican President is going to have to work together with others of a different political perspective. But isn't that a good thing? Doesn't it make sense that politics should include a wide spectrum of opinion and the checks and balances of having to share power?

I am increasingly convinced that effective leadership must include the ability to carry along with you those who disagree with you. The kind of autocracy where the leader does just whatever he or she thinks is right and expects others to toe the line is surely out of place in Christian leadership anyway. It simply cannot be right to ride roughshod over others opinions and refuse to listen to the warnings of people we should respect, even if we disagree with them.

There is a lot of talk about the place of authority in the New Testament church, but it should not be overstated. Apostles started churches in some cases, then left them to get on with it pretty much straight away, with an occasional visit or letter, if at all. Elders were always in the plural so that nobody was allowed to be a petty dictator, and were required to show character rather than gifting during the selection process. Deacons were real servants, whose hearts were moved by the needs of the people whom they served. In all this, the real example is Jesus, who laid aside all his reputation and glory to become a servant and washed his disciples' feet.

Maybe those who claim that President Bush is now a 'lame duck president' should consider that possibly his best decisions lie ahead.