“You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, he said, and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you.” ~ Mark 10:42,43 The Message.
It’s crystal clear from the life and teaching of Jesus that leaders are servants, not Kings. Yet it’s easy to slip into the role of King and desire sitting on the throne. Chuck Lawless shares some painful, but valuable insights on not letting this happen.
Guest post by Chuck Lawless
Too often, a leader who was once a servant of others wrongly transitions into being the king of his own kingdom. Here are some signs that a leader has become the “king”:
- Even if he invites discussion from church leaders, he does not change his mind. The “discussion” is in name only, as his decisions are already made.
- He sees everyone else as expendable. If he’s worried about church members leaving, you’d never know it. In fact, he can usually hyper-spiritualize the reasons that others leave.
- He is seldom, if ever, wrong. Kings somehow convince themselves that nobody can do things as well as they can. Everybody else still has something to learn.
- Staff members tend to stay for only a short time. Kings are good at recruiting strong staff members, but not so good at keeping the best of them. Kings want dependents more than co-laborers.
- He seldom allows others to preach. The pulpit becomes his platform, and he’s most unwilling to share that space with gifted speakers he might perceive as more gifted than he.
- He treats others as “subjects.” That is, people become a means to an end: tools to help him build his kingdom more than brothers and sisters in Christ.
- He demands unquestioned loyalty. Even the slightest sign of disagreement is considered rebellion.
- He expands his kingdom broadly, but not deeply. After all, deeply-developed kingdoms require serious discipleship – and genuine disciples would recognize the problem with a king’s leadership style.
- Often, those who know him best question his spirituality. They know who he really is when others don’t see him.
- He does less and less “get your hands dirty” ministry. He may once have led the way in serving others, but kings aren’t required to serve. Rather, others are to serve them.
- Prayer is hardly a priority for him. That’s not a surprise, though. Kings depend on themselves, not God.
- He is accountable to no one. He’s the king. Kings don’t report to others.
- He is often the center of his own sermons. And, the light he paints himself in is usually self-glorifying.
- He regularly tears down others who lead effective ministries. Kings want no threats to their kingdom, so they mock others who are increasingly known.
- He does not consider leadership succession. He might talk about retirement at some point, but it’s often just talk. Kings don’t give up their position easily.
Lest we judge the “king” leader too seriously, though, all of us are susceptible to moving in this unhealthy direction. Pride is always a temptation for Christian leaders.