RELATIONAL LEADERSHIplesson 4 -INFLUENCING with VALUES
INFLUENCING with VALUES
“They are…late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots.” Jude v12 Good leadership produces good fruit. Bad leadership has no roots. Trees without roots produce no fruit.
LEADERSHIP WITH CHARACTER
Christian leadership is a relationship of trust where commitments flow from our character. Good character produces good fruit. It is impossible to produce good fruit without roots.
The COLOSSIAN CHURCH: A COMMUNITY of CHARACTER
The church of Colosse was a picture of diversity of people, “Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11 To have different kinds of people in our church demands that we learn the grace of accepting others who are not like ourselves. Diversity means differences of opinions, and differences bring conflict. Conflict is a necessary by-product of a diverse Christian community. No conflict in an organization may be a sign there is no diversity and no growth. Uniformity is not the same as unity.
HOW SHOULD WE HANDLE CONFLICT?
Paul believes a caring attitude of love should dominate all Christian relationships. “If anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you must also do. But above all these things put on love.” Colossians 3:13, 14 He expects confrontation, but insists it be conducted in a caring relationship. We should care enough to lovingly confront people, but never criticize them. Criticism attacks a person without love, whereas loving confrontation holds people accountable to live out their Christian convictions while providing them with loving support.
Criticism destroys trust Confrontation seeks positive growth
Criticism expresses hurt Confrontation seeks resolutions
Criticism focuses on my conflict Confrontation focuses on your benefit
PAUL AND PHILEMON
Paul cares about Philemon. He identifies with Philemon’s problem of the runaway slave. Paul accepts Philemon’s values and believes they will cause him to do what is right in this matter. He avoids using his apostolic authority to command Philemon. Instead he humbles himself and offers to pay any wrongs Onesimus has done. Finally, Paul builds accountability into the confrontation by saying he is coming to see Philemon.
THE FRUIT OF A CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Good leadership produces good fruit.
The first fruit is CHARACTER. Character is the core of Christian leadership. It connects one’s voice with one’s touch.
The second fruit is CULTURE. Over a period of time an organization develops a culture or an unconscious way of doing things.
The third fruit is VALUES. Values are the things which are of utmost importance to us.
LEADERSHIP IS A RELATIONSHIP OF CHARACTER THAT SHAPES THE CULTURE OF AN ORGANIZATION
Every organization has a hidden culture. Culture is the value system by which we live. In creating culture, actions speak louder than words. The leader’s lifestyle becomes the values of the organization. The culture of an organization shapes the behaviors of the members. This is where leadership has its greatest influence. Over time these behaviors become traditions.
THE CONFLICT OF CULTURE AND VALUES
It is easier to talk values than it is to live them. Values are the things we say we believe, but many times we fail to walk our talk. We say one thing, but do another. Many churches are filled with people who are trapped between what their leaders say they believe and what they actually do. As Christians we are called to model our faith in our community values. Our touch should match our voice. We should behave in a way that matches what we say we believe.
VISION, VALUES AND VULNERABILITY
A leader must cast vision and set an example of the values of an organization. However, leaders are people and people make mistakes. There can be no Christian leadership without forgiveness. Leadership demands we make decisions even when we don’t know what to do. Though we give our best effort we still fail because we are not perfect. Without forgiveness there is not hope for leadership. Forgiveness is a prerequisite of empowerment. No one can be empowering others without giving them the freedom to fail. This does not mean we are not responsible for our actions or that we do not hold our followers accountable for what they do. It means:
It is impossible to live the Christian life without grace.
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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton
Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry.
He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.