Archive for June, 2015
“A man who says he is leading but has no one following is only taking a walk.”1
Pastors use this saying often. It is both humorous and truthful. Leadership implies followers. Leadership implies the ability to convince others to pursue a specific goal. Great leaders throughout history have shared this quality. Missionaries, political leaders, pastors, military commanders, teachers, and business people are only true leaders when people follow.
Leaders Rise to Rally Others to a Better Future
In my new book, Forward: 7 Distinguishing Marks for Future Leaders, I state: Leaders rise to rally others to a better future. Leaders lead people to go places they would not go on their own.
In the church context, “leaders set the example and call others to follow God.”2 Church leadership, whether paid or volunteer, pastoral or non-pastoral, should call others to follow Christ. This is both an opportunity and a responsibility. In the kingdom of God, we all should be leading people into deeper discipleship. In this sense we all are charged by our Savior with calling others to step forward.
Leaders Rally People to Move Forward Together
This is the call from Jesus to His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”3 The call has a direction and a purpose. It is a call for others to move forward together. History records the mighty working of God in the lives of these who responded to Jesus’ call.
The Apostle Paul also called others to step forward. Timothy and Titus were men Paul equipped and unleashed for ministry. And it didn’t stop with those he touched personally. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul wrote, “And what you [Timothy] have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (HCSB). The entirety of the New Testament strategy is based on people who have been saved, telling other people how to be saved, and helping them mature in Christ.
Leaders Need to Be an Example to Others
Near the end of the book of Joshua, the leader of Israel challenged the people to follow his example:
“Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh. But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh. The people replied, “We will certainly not abandon the Lord to worship other gods!”
In the spiritual realm, true leaders inspire others to follow Christ. Leaving the crowd behind and stepping forward, followers respond with a resounding, “We will follow God!” This kind of response is what all Christian leaders yearn to hear! Our hearts burn within us to see disciples we have trained passionately following Christ.
The Apostle John recorded how leaders feel when others step forward, “I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”3 So may it be with us and those we lead.
Leaders Rally Other People,
Ronnie W. Floyd
1– An “old saying” attributed to various cultural sources.
2– Bible Studies for Life, Be Strong and Courageous, Paul Jimenez
3– 3 John 4
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to speak at two wonderful gatherings in Washington, D.C. While I was there, each morning after my time with God and moments of study, I ran through our National Mall. There is nothing like running through this impactful city. Everywhere you go are reminders of our history and power as a nation.
The Marriage Moment in the United States
On my final morning, I focused some of my running in the region of the Supreme Court building of the United States. I thought about this significant moment in our nation. Since 1973, Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion, I do not believe our Supreme Court has dealt with a more watershed case that has the potential to change the trajectory of the moral direction of our nation.
I prayed for a long while as I ran. I prayed for our Supreme Court. I prayed for God to move their hearts toward the biblical and traditional view of marriage. I prayed for the mercy of God for our nation regardless of their ruling.
Unquestionably, the outcome of their ruling not only impacts marriage, but also has the potential to restrain religious liberty in our nation. This is a moment when the church needs to cry out to God for His leadership, but it is also a moment when we must stand, forwarding a strong biblical worldview.
Timidity needs to be replaced with fearlessness. We need to resound what God’s Word says about marriage. We cannot be silent now or in the future. We must be faithful to proclaim the biblical view of marriage.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “The definition (of traditional marriage) has been with us for a millennia. And it’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh well, we know better.’” I could not agree more. We do not need the Supreme Court or anyone else attempting to redefine what God has defined already.
The Southern Baptist Convention in This Marriage Moment
In our great confession of faith, The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, we stand on these words:
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.
This statement is a message to our churches and to the world. On this message we stand.
Our churches need to be resolved not only on the uniting of one man and one woman in marriage, but also understand that marriage is a covenant commitment for a lifetime. We need to call all of our churches to stand for this biblical standard. Our own testimony in this realm needs to become much more biblical.
Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision relating to same sex marriage, we need to know God has the final ruling on marriage. The Bible is God’s final authority on the issue of marriage and He has already spoken.
Furthermore, we need to prepare for what may lie ahead in the future. While some of our churches have ministries for those dealing with same sex attraction, for those who may come to us and are already in same sex relationships, or for the families that are dealing with the challenges relating to this issue, we need all of our churches to prepare to minister effectively in this area of need.
While truth must always be shared in love, we need to also insure the tone with which we share the truth is not one of judgment, but one of compassion and love. We need to hold the truth of God in one hand and the love of God in the other hand.
Our churches need to become a mighty testimony not only for truth but also for compassion and ministry. This is why we want to help prepare our churches at the Southern Baptist Convention. On Wednesday afternoon, we have scheduled a Presidential Panel on The Supreme Court and Same Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future. By the end of the Supreme Court’s session this month, their ruling will be communicated.
Whatever the Supreme Court Ruling
Whatever the Supreme Court ruling is:
- We need to believe in and stand for biblical marriage.
- Our churches need to be ready.
- Ministries need to occur in our churches to help those who are struggling with the same sex issue in various ways.
- We need to hold the truth of God in one hand and the love of God in the other hand.
- Pray for the Supreme Court and all of our nation’s leaders, as well as for the future of our nation.
- Forward the life-changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are fourteen days and counting until our Southern Baptist Family converges on Columbus, Ohio for our meeting on June 16-17. Until then, please join me in prayerful preparation.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.
To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.