Page 3 - May 2023 - Truth & Tidings
P. 3

eactive leadership. It’s possible that  perse and have no contact. Proactive leaders
              you are in a local church where  communicate.  And since we live in the age
        Rit’s been an issue for a long time.  of instant messaging, we have no excuses
        And if so, it becomes exponentially dif-  for lack of communication. A quick text,
        ficult to correct the cycle. The elders’ time  email or call can quickly get everyone up
        is consumed with dealing with problems,  to date or on the same page, making it
        whether relational, doctrinal or moral. Very  possible to move together in leadership
        little time and energy are left to think about  more effectively. Elders should not only
        (let alone plan for) the long-term health of  communicate openly with one another but
        the assembly. But crises don’t generally  with the assembly, not leaving everyone in
        pile up under proactive leadership. And so   the dark about what’s being planned.
        as quickly as possible, reactive leadership   It is critical to realize that proactive leaders
        needs to find a way to turn the corner and  engage. As overseers are “given to hospital-
        become proactive. With the Lord’s help, it  ity” (1Ti 3:2), this assumes a certain level
        is achievable.                       of engagement with the Lord’s people. It
          What specifically does proactive leader-  should go without saying that shepherds
        ship look like? For one, proactive leaders   spend time with the sheep. Staying after
        meet (Act 20:17-38), and not only when   meetings to talk and interact with assembly
        there are troubles to address and people   believers is a great opportunity to assess
        to interview. A regularly planned and fully   need and encourage. Going out for lunch
        attended elders’ meeting (21:18 – “all the   or coffee just to chat may prove to be ex-
        elders were present”) is a good place to   tremely valuable. The more you develop
        start to foster proactive leadership. Prayer   relationships with the believers under your
        and Scripture reading help bring needed   care, the more freedom you will have to
        focus to an elders’ meeting and should be   lead them.
        fervently practiced.                   We also learn from Paul that proactive
          But it isn’t enough to simply meet, pray   leaders watch (Act 20:31; see also Heb 13:17).
                                             Just as shepherds are constantly alert to any
        and read; proactive leaders plan. Anything   danger which might threaten the sheep,
        we do well requires planning. When   so will overseers “watch over our souls.”
        together, elders primarily discuss the   A reactive leader acts when the harm has
        spiritual needs of the flock and how best   already  arrived.  The  proactive  leader
        to address them, not simply how funds are   watches to ensure such harm never comes.
        to be used. Specific teaching can be orga-  Assembly leadership is likely the great-
        nized as well as potential gospel outreach.   est need of our day, and so we have devoted
        Good planning also ensures there are op-  this entire issue to the topic. May the Lord
        portunities for the use and development   use these articles to encourage, strengthen
        of spiritual gift in the assembly. All of this   and even raise up godly proactive assem-
        requires hard work. No wonder Paul refers   bly leaders.
        to the elders’ “labor” more than once (1Th
        5:12; 1Ti 5:17).                     ¹ Note the role elders played at the Jerusalem
                                             Council in Acts 15 and the letter that was
          Elders can meet and plan, but then dis-  circulated, clearly communicating the decision.

                                       I  May 2023  131
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8