Leading with grace is rare today. I have noticed that whenever there is a rebellion from within the ranks that it usually comes from those who don’t think the leader is doing it right. There is a questioning of the leaders right to lead that often accompanies this type of situation. We have an illustration of this type of attitude in Old Testament Israel after they leave Egypt and take steps to enter the land that God promised them. Instead of staying the course and humbly following the leadership of Moses, upon whom God had many times given His sign of approval, these people took it upon themselves to steal the leadership from Moses.
If there is one thing I have learned as a pastor it is to be wary of those who question your call to be the leader. Now, here is what I am not saying: I am not saying that the Pastor should not have men and women who have demonstrated over a period of time their faithfulness to God and the spiritual fruit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. These are the people that I must listen to, those are the ones to whom I go for advice, they are in my circle of confidence. And (here is the difficult thing humanly speaking), I must be a servant of each person, whether I think they are on my side or not. Here is true confession time, it has taken me 20 years of ministry to reach this point. Unfortunately when I was younger I did not have that attitude and it cost me big time.
There are times when the leader is wrong. He is not serving unselfishly and he needs to be called out on that. But when it is obvious that the opposition is seeking to do personal harm to the leader’s reputation and his ability to function correctly, then the opposition must be called out. The story in Numbers 16, illustrates this truth. Between the time of the Exodus from Egypt and entering into the Promised Land, the opposition said about the leaders, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” Moses response to Korah’s rebellion is classic, “When Moses heard it, he fell on his face,” he knew that this was a matter for God to deal with.
I want to be the type of servant leader that puts God’s interests before our my own. I want to serve people out of a desire to see them become all that God has designed them to be, and what He wants us to be as His people as a group. I want to foster a spirit of love and genuine kindness among the people, not a sense of “have to” but rather, “we get to.” I want to be even kind to those who may oppose me, showing the spirit of Christ. I’m still learning these things, I hope to always learn until God calls me home.
It is a great a privilege and responsibility to lead, godly leaders do so with much prayer and patience, even in the face of unfair and uncalled for rebellion.