[ecko_quote source="1 Timothy 5:22"]Do not appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily.[/ecko_quote]
A few years ago, I attended one of the fellowship meetings where the leaders were discussing about adding more people to the leadership team. As the leaders started discussing this matter with the congregation, one of the leaders asked the congregation for their opinions. Taking this opportunity some have spoken and agreed to include new people into the leadership team. Since I was unsure about what they wanted to achieve through this move and wisdom beyond this proposal, I asked the leadership about what necessity they got to take up new people into the leadership team since everything was working well with the existing leadership. They did not give me an answer but defended their decision and ridiculed me for asking such a question. However, the fellowship leaders took a decision to include new members into the leadership team.
After a couple of months, the fellowship leaders started questioning each other and started political gimmicks instead of spiritual discernment to solve the problems. The new members of the leadership team proposed that the current fellowship leaders should step down and that each leader should take turns to lead the fellowship for a couple of months on a rotation basis. However, everyone from the current leadership did not accept rotation policy and objected it strongly. The power struggle started within the leadership team causing it to split, and eventually lead to form another fellowship. This resulted in a bitter rivalry between the members of the leadership team and further the congregation also joined their hands to support their choice of leaders. Believe it or not, the congregation became a scapegoat to the wishes and ambitions of the aspirant leaders. It affected the entire community, the seeds of bitterness sowed by the leadership caused rivalry amongst the congregation. This community now hardly comes together even for any blessed programmes. I strongly believe in my heart based on the scriptures that these leaders will surely pay for their actions. God will surely ask them accounts for what they have done with the responsibilities and talents that he gave unto them (Matthew 25:25). The congregation completely lost confidence in the leadership and living with discouragement.This community peoples' hearts are so hardened that now, they hardly come together even for funerals.
According to the Scripture, this way of living is not the pattern that God wishes. However, from the first human beings, Adam and Eve, until the last word in Revelation, people have been letting each other down throughout history. Relationships have been damaged. Leaders have failed. Before I go any further, one thing must be clear: just because the one who hurts you is a leader does not mean that leader is absolved of consequences. Some sins (abuse of all forms, moral failure, murder, and so on) require immediate dismissal from the position of authority. David sinned by taking advantage of Bathsheba and murdering her husband (2 Sam. 11). While he was repentant, his child still died as a consequence of his failure (2 Sam. 12:18-19). Sin has consequences, even for leaders.
How should we respond in our hearts towards such failings? Do you retreat, like me? Do you face it head on, refusing to be victimised again? Do you leave the church, fed up with hypocrisy? Do you cut off with the one who has hurt you? Failure of leadership is a grievous offence against God’s people. It stings, sometimes for years. It plants seeds of distrust that often grow into choking weeds that are difficult to remove. It muddies our judgment of all levels of leadership. It dulls our senses to true leadership because pain and betrayal have clouded our eyes.
With every failed leader in Scripture God was doing something powerful in the failure—he was showing his people that he alone is God. The same is true for us today. Like the Israelites before us, we are prone to worship what is in front of us (leaders) rather than the God whom our eyes cannot see. Moreover, when leaders fall or sin against us, our reaction toward their demise reveals just how much stock we put in their ability to save us.
Any discussion of leadership would be woefully incomplete if it failed to mention that we have a hope of the perfect one—Jesus. But looking to Christ, as the head of all things, including the church, is no mere platitude for weary hearts. It is the honest truth we can take to the bank when a failed leader has sucked dry the bank account of our hearts. No one faced more disappointment from leaders than Jesus (Luke 22:66-23:25). He was scorned and crucified by the political and religious leaders of his day. All for us. When all the leaders around us fail (parents, husbands, teachers, pastors, bosses, politicians, and so on) we have a leader who stands for us to the end. He died to secure us, his children, and he lives to bring us home safely.
In all our disappointment with those who lead us, we do not grieve their sin as people who have no hope. They are not ultimate; Christ is. They are not our saviour; Christ is. They will not fulfil us; Christ will. Leaders come and go. Christ remains the same, faithful and true to his sheep. We grieve failed leadership (and deal with it biblically). However, we find shelter from the storm of their failings in Jesus Christ, our perfect leader.