Imperfect Leaders

Having sat under the excellent ministry of Dr David Coffey for a few years, I must say his wealth of wisdom and depth of insight is unsurpassed.

There’s more.

The primary gift of Dr Coffey (UK and world Baptist Supremo – my phrase not his) is in his pastoral integrity and love for the Church of Jesus Christ.  He is a leader of leaders and is in himself a most excellent example of what a leader, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, is like.David Coffey preaching Congress 05

David spotted something within the pages of Scripture that few people would dare to see.  That when God calls a person, they are incomplete, imperfect, sinful, even rebellious.

He writes, “It seems God only calls people who have struggles with faith.  Having called them, he gets to work on the parts of their lives that are not yet perfect.”  

Here are the examples he cites:

  • Moses the reluctant leader (Exodus 3 & 4)
  • Esther the courageous leader……eventually (Esther 4:12-17)
  • Jonah the reluctant missionary
  • John the Baptist – the preacher with doubts (Mat 11:1-3)
  • Mary the homemaker with a ministry (Luke 2:19; 41-52)
  • Martha the manager whose work was a distraction (Luke 10:38-41 & John 11:17-27)
  • Peter the fisherman who nearly threw everything away (Mat 16:13-20 & 26:69-75)
  • Apollos the gifted preacher who needed deepening (Acts 18:24-28)
  • Philip the fisherman who lacked confidence (John 6:7; 12:20-22; 14:9)
  • Paul the great Apostle to the Gentiles who battles with his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-10)

My dear Christian brothers and sisters, God doesn’t call perfect people because He doesn’t save perfect people.  He calls sinners because He saves sinners.  Our job is to say ‘Yes’ to God and see what He does with our lives.  Perfectionism has no place in the Christian life.  Making us perfect is His job, and ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the Day of Christ Jesus’ (Phil 1:6).

Christian ministry and the Christian life is Cross-shaped for a reason.

The reason is Jesus Christ.  Perfect people need not gather at the Cross (because they don’t exist)!

The only Perfect One was on the Cross.

He was broken so we would never have to be.

He is Perfect, for that is what we will be.

Sideways Cross

Christian Leadership

Nouwen bookI have just finished reading a gem of a book I received yesterday (81 pages of large print).  Henri Nouwen In the Name of Jesus, reflects on Christian leadership as he considers his transition from academic teaching to serving with mentally disabled adults.  Here’s a snippet towards the end:

“The task of future Christian leaders is not to make a little contribution to the solution of the pains and tribulations of their time, but to identify and announce the ways in which Jesus is leading God’s people out of slavery, through the desert to a new land of freedom.

Christian leaders have the arduous task of responding to personal struggles, family conflicts, national calamities, and international tensions with an articulate faith in God’s real presence.

They have to say “no” to every form of fatalism, defeatism, accidentalism or incidentalism which make people believe that statistics are telling us the truth.  They have to say no to every form of despair in which human life is seen as a pure matter of good or bad luck.

They have to say “no” to sentimental attempts to make people develop a spirit of resignation or stoic indifference in the face of the unavoidability of pain, suffering and death.

In short, they have to say “no” to the secular world and proclaim in unambiguous terms that the incarnation of God’s Word, through whom all things came into being, has made even the smallest event of human history into Kairos, that is, an opportunity to be led deeper into the heart of Christ.

The Christian leaders of the future have to be theologians (he has previously written about the utter importance of truly knowing God’s love and of contemplative prayer), persons who know the heart of God and are trained – through prayer, study, and careful analysis – to manifest the divine event of God’s saving work in the midst of the many seemingly random events of their time….

….This is a hard discipline, since God’s presence is often a hidden presence, a presence that needs to be discovered.  The loud boisterous noises of the world make us deaf to the soft, gentle, and loving voice of God.  A Christian leader is called to help people to hear that voice and so be comforted and consoled”  (p.67-69)