THE DEMISE OF LEADERSHIP
Proverbs 26:2, “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.”
There is always a reason. There is in life recipes for every facet of life. Our God is such a meticulous creator. All one has to do is to observe and absorb all of natures’ wonders. The physical body of a human being certainly is wonderfully and miraculously made.
The curse causeless shall not come according to the word of God. Therefore it is necessary for those who lead others of us to realize the tremendous responsibility to succeed in that leadership.
However, there is a downward spiral that occurs among leadership that just must not happen. Too many literally sink their leadership and take with them their followers because of these steps of demise.
A LEADER IS CAPTURED BY A TRUTH
Passion cannot exist without an eternal truth to bring continual fuel to that passion. Leaders are passionate people immersed in a truth and are intrinsically motivated while being extrinsically challenged.
No challenge is too great and no obstacle too big that passionate beings living for a truth cannot overcome. Every one must have some thing that is bigger than themselves that will lift them out of themselves to do something greater than themselves.
Behind the success of every great leader is the being captured by a truth. The truth overshadows all conflicts and overcomes all struggles. Leaders cannot remain leaders without conviction baptized in passion. This passion will turn a timid man into a lion and deliver meekness without weakness.
A LEADER IS EXCITED BY A TRUTH
The truth goes to the very heart of the leader and he exudes emotion because of it. He cannot wait to share this truth and to excite others about this truth. The leader leads others to a truth that has captured his heart and life. He grows beyond the exhorting to exemplifying.
Those whom choose to be apart of this action are only initially involved because of the embodiment of truth in the life of this leader. The results begin to draw and the fascination of the incredible work makes the leader a hero to many.
THE LEADER DELIVERS THAT TRUTH WITH EXCITEMENT
The excitement and enthusiasm of the leader is internally based and needs not to have the validation of the external. To him the external is a bonus. To him the obeying of truth is in itself a reward. When he sees something come of his embracing of a truth it is so exciting he cannot wait to share it with others hoping they will enjoy not the fruits but the labor that brings such inward satisfaction.
The sad truth is though the ones who are attracted to him are attracted to the external result and not the internal resolve. It is the obeying of a truth and living for that truth that has brought about the blessings of that truth. The leader’s obedience has brought about in due time a result, but he still revels in the existence of the truth and his discovering of that truth.
HE EXCITES OTHERS WITH THAT TRUTH
This excitement is contagious. Unfortunately the excitement of the follower is based on the external and not the internal. Truth will set a man free through obedience so he cannot be fettered and bond by it so he is free to move on to the next truth.
Many a businessman has been enthralled with the life of a Russell Anderson or a C. T. Studd or an R. G. LeTourneau only to find it to be an elusive dream for him. The dream has turned into a nightmare for some.
The excitement of any leader is because he has discovered a truth in life that he is excited about which turns his work into his play. He then because of the eventually blessings of his labor in that truth attracts attention. The attention however is rarely to the truth, but to the results of the obedience of that truth.
Dr. Jack Hyles told me one time that thousands have come to his Pastors’ Schools and only a hand full actually caught the truth that captured his life and created his passion. The attraction is to that which became seen while many ignored the unseen that made it all possible.
A Dr. Hyles’ prayer life, hours of study, thousands of counseling sessions, fasting, observing great men, seeking the common denominator of the individual rather than the crowds, paying his bills ahead of time, 80 hour work weeks, organization of staff, hours of personal soul winning, organizing Sunday school staffs, overseeing the schools, and overseeing the college are usually unseen by the seeker of greatness.
THE FOLLOWERS RESPOND TO THAT TRUTH
It seems the work of obeying the truth is paying off and those who choose to follow are responding. The church begins to grow. The business begins to grow. The Sunday school class begins to grow. The Sunday school bus route begins to grow. The followers are responding and it is a joyful thing to see others see what you see.
This all comes about because the leader is captured by a truth and the truth develops passion in the leader. He obeys that truth and his work turns into play. He would rather work than eat or play. He gives his life to this truth and finds an inward satisfaction that needs no outward affirmation. He loves what he is doing for he is obeying the truth that captured him.
Soon as time moves along he sees results from his obedience to that truth. He is attempting to reproduce himself in those who have chosen to follow him in his quest to obey truth. The leader delivers his obedience to truth with excitement in his voice and his life.
Others see the excitement and note the enthusiasm. They are intrigued by what they see and the attraction is the results and not the truth. However, some are diligent and observant enough to investigate further to find out it is truth at the bottom of all of this excitement.
Then the “Amens” begin to come from the congregation to the pulpit. Soon, the followers are echoing a verbal response of excitement. This is new to the leader for he had never noticed them before because he was always focusing on obeying the truth that captured him.
He wanted others to become excited also, but he never thought about any thing big coming of this for his work had become his play. He enjoyed what he was doing via this truth.
THE LEADER BECOMES EXCITED ABOUT THE FOLLOWERS’ EXCITEMENT
Soon this leader becomes use to the excitement of the congregation or the followers. Soon he is excited about the excitement of others over the truth that captured him. He assumes they are all captured by the same truth when in reality most of them are caught up in the results of that truth.
It is so easy to become attracted to the attractiveness of results and not value the attractiveness of responsibility to truth. For the bottom line is the truth that captured the leader and the obedience to that truth that brought about the initial joy and satisfaction of that leader.
Many a successful pastor has built something great because of a great truth and allowed the results to become overwhelmingly the main thing. This all came about because of truth and the satisfaction that obedience to that truth brought to the leader.
THE LEADER THEN BEGINS TO LIVE OFF OF THE EXCITEMENT OF THE FOLLOWER
The preacher says after making an emphasis on a point in his sermon, “Well, somebody say amen?” However, one day there is a weaker response than normal. Over a period of time the pastor begins to question what is wrong with the congregation, when the truth is he has shifted his satisfaction from obeying truth to being satisfied with the followers response to his delivering the truth.
Example of a leader has far more of an impact on the follower than the exhortation of a leader. You see it all started with the leader discovering a truth and then finding satisfaction in obeying that truth. However, after living for that truth brought about results and the attracting of others to the results with few being attracted to the truth that started it all, demise began.
For 3 decades, every Sunday of the world, I had one of my converts down the aisle and baptized. I spent on an average of 15 hours a week giving the Gospel to 15 different people. I am not saying that all 15 trusted Christ, but I did have a goal of at least 5 converts lined up by Saturday night to come to church with me on Sunday.
In 1972 at a SWORD OF THE LORD CONFERENCE in South Bend, Indiana, I hit the altar, after hearing Dr. John R. Rice and Dr. Jack Hyles, vowing to be a personal soul winner. 45 years later I am still having on an average of one soul saved a day. I was captured by a truth, excited by that truth, impassioned about that truth, attracted others to the results of that truth, and some even were attracted to the truth itself.
I was always cognizant of the fact to allow the obedience to that truth is my passion and not the followers’ applause or Amens be the fuel for my passionate search for the unsaved.
THE LEADER THEN TRANSFERS LEADERSHIP TO FOLLOWSHIP BASED ON THE EXCITEMENT AND NOT THE TRUTH
I love the amens of a congregation, but I love the truth more than their response. You see truth is greater than family, friends, business associates, or position. I do not live for a position for I live for a purpose. You may and probably will not hold your position, but you can always hold on to a purpose.
Many a pastor has asked with deep concern how was I doing since retiring from pastoring. At first I thought there was something wrong with me for I did not have a sense of remorse or buyer’s remorse for I did what God wanted me to do.
I knew that when the church called my son, Dr. Bob Gray II, to be their pastor that they were in the hands of a man who already loved them and cared for them. You see for 21 years he was the best Youth Director in the nation and had a deep love for Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas.
When a leader lives for a purpose then the position does not really matter to him. Do you know congregations sometimes fire pastors? Do you know Mr. businessman that companies sometimes fire their employees? I simply state this for when you are so obsessed with your position and you live off of the excitement of the those who follow you one day if you lose your position you will die on the inside.
I refuse to live off of the response of those who follow me or listen to me preach for truth is more important than applause or accolades. One day you will have to decide would you rather have God’s approval or man’s approval and if you have begun to live off of the approval of man you will one sad leader.
THE FOLLOWSHIP HAS NO LEADERSHIP AND IT COOLS OFF
When a leader lives off of the response of the followship then he is no longer the leader. In the Bible there is a teaching of “mutual faith.” In this God gives us a little insight into the leader follower relationship. The leader is in love with truth and receives his satisfaction from obeying that truth. He looks around him and all of a sudden there is someone else who is looking up toward that same heavenly truth. You say to them, “You love soul winning too?”
They respond, “Yes I do!” Thus you have mutual faith. They are not attracted to you they are attracted to the truth. Let that be the truth of Sunday school, King James Bible, standards, prayer, missions, bus ministry, soul winning, etc., and you will find a crowd around you that was not attracted to you but to the truth that you were attracted too.
Then if the leader is not careful he will begin to live off of the follower’s faith and not his own faith in the truth that excited him to begin with. This whole scenario began with a leader being captured by a truth and in the obedience of that truth he found satisfaction.
The leader wasn’t worried about building the world’s largest church he was concerned about keeping the next man, woman, boy, or girl out of Hell.
However, the leader begins to cool off of his obedience to the truth because after all if he misses a week of soul winning there will still be converts down the aisle and baptized for he has so many more soul winners out on the streets now. Now the followship has not leadership and they begin to fall to the level of passion of their leader.
BOTH LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWSHIP BECOME COLD
When the leader ceases to be enthralled by the truth and cools his obedience to that truth he then loses satisfaction in proportion to his obedience. If the leader jumps 10 feet the follower will most likely jump 5 or less feet. That is the reason they are not the leader. Thus when the leader jumps 5 feet the followers will most likely jump 2 ½ or fewer feet.
The thing that determines the heighth of the jump of the leader is directly in sync with the obedience to the truth that brings excitement. I do not care how you craft this for it all depends upon the leader’s obedience to truth that results in enthusiasm that fuels the obedience to that truth.
The bus ministry will live or die on the passion of the leader not the follower. The godly music program will live or die on the passion that fuels the obedience to the truth of godly music. The soul-winning program will live or die based on the passion derived from the personal obedience to soul winning by the leader. The standards of the church will live or die based upon the personal obedience to the truth of Bible standards.
THE LEADER RESIGNS INWARDLY
There is nothing as pathetic as a leader who has a form of godliness, passion, conviction, drive, concern, and power while yet denying the godliness, passion, conviction, drive, concern, and power inwardly. It is sad to see a leader go through the motion outwardly and obviously is dying inwardly.
When the leader resigns inwardly he has to recognize it is not all over. I don’t care if the fat lady does sing you can still have fresh oil. It is the return to the truth that will invigorate the soul of the leader. It is the obedience to that truth that started this wonderful journey and adventure. It was the obedience to truth that brought with it internal satisfaction.
It really didn’t matter what the results were for you were obeying truth. It really didn’t matter what others said for you were obeying truth. You had an indescribable inner peace of satisfaction.
When it is you, the leader, and truth being obeyed, Hell itself cannot stop you. You may have transferred your obedience to truth to living off of the excitement of the followers to that very truth, but you can come back to that same truth and obey it once again.
Unfortunately some leaders have traded obedience to truth for fame, a platform, an honorary doctorate, a large love offering, famous friends, or applause.
· The leader is captured by a truth
· The leader is excited by that truth
· The leader delivers that truth with excitement
· The leader excites others with that truth
· The followers respond to that truth
· The leader becomes excited about the followers excitement
· The leader then lives off of the followers excitement
· The leader transfers leadership to followship based on the excitement and not the truth
· The followship has no leadership and the follower cools off
· Both the leader and the follower become cold
· The leader resigns inwardly
· Most of the time the leader resigns outwardly