I was rummaging through my laptop the other day and came across some notes from a Pastors' day conference I organised a few months ago. Stuart Olyott gave us a couple of sessions on Christian leadership. It was a powerful ministry and a precious day of Gospel fellowship.
Stuart Olyott is the Dick Lucas of English Nonconformity. His ministry is fresh, and highly original whilst being deeply faithful, and always aimed at Gospel repentance and faith. Like Dick, Stuart's warmth and humour are infectious, and are easy companions to a Gospel-seriousness. He is a natural and un-selfpromoting leader. Thousands across the world owe gratitude to the Lord for him. He is a great friend and mentor to many, and a very conscientious Pastor. Of course, we had a great day learning with Stuart.
So, here are some notes I jotted from Stuart's material in the first session, and I'll follow them in a day or two with notes from session two:
Leadership – ‘a leader is someone who can see which path to take, and who out of love to God and love to others spends himself in persuading and sometimes in coercing people to go that way.’
Seer – Worshipper – Carer – Worker – (what make a minister? John Elias – ‘industrious habits’) – Persuader (to go God’s way) – a Commander. Joseph, Samuel, Moses, Joshua, Jesus, Peter, Paul as examples of this.
Mark 10.35-45 – the principle aspect of Christian leadership is service. Always we ask of the people we serve, ‘what is in their best interests?’
We compared great secular leaders (General Douglas Haig, Sir Alex Ferguson, Winston Churchill) with great Christian leaders (William Grimshaw, George Whitefield, John Calvin, Lance Pibworth). Stuart emphasised that truly great leaders in the secular world always have some Christian components (eg willingness to work hard, and to serve others).
Why does God give us leaders? Because, due to the Fall, we cannot see. But, through regenerating grace and the gift of the Spirit, leaders can see what the majority of people cannot. What, above everything else, is primary for leadership? A close walk with God. So, failure within the leader is almost always within the area of spiritual integrity. Compare the requirements for Elders – almost all of the gifts are in the area of character.
Desire to lead. The problem is not desire, but wrong desire invested into the ambition for leadership – pride, insecurity, etc.
The Lord has designed the church in such a way that it cannot exist without spiritual mindedness!
‘Most problems are conquered by faith and perseverance.’
‘Awkward people are like pillars in the church; they hinder our vision and hold everything up.’