Praying for our Leaders

After writing one of my previous posts about fighting against apathy in the Church, I realised that I had missed out a very important role that we (Christians) can play to make a difference.

That role that all of us who are members of any church should be doing on a regular basis is to PRAY for our leadership on an individual and corporate level.

Covering leadership in prayers

Especially in these times where we are witnessing more and more leaders (including secular organisations) falling under the bondage of sin, the more we need to pray for them.

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Ultimately, we need to recognise that by default we are embroiled in a spiritual battle that is waged and won through prayers.

We need more godly leaders

Apart from prayer being the change catalyst in fending off apathy in the Church, I also do believe when we pray for our leadership we are exhibiting the highest honour towards them.

With the kingdom of God always in great lack of godly leaders, I’m certain that such love and support towards leadership can only create a dynamic and favourable environment for more of such leaders to arise for the next generation. 

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Becoming “BIG” People

Being BIG refers to the magnanimity of our inner being; our capacity to love others and in being secure in our true identity.  

Our “BIG-ness” should not  be solely measured by our qualifications or size of our paychecks, but especially on how well we take care of  the poor and vulnerable around us.

10 Characteristics of Big People:

  1. Big People are GENEROUS
  2. Big People are ACCEPTING
  3. Big People FORGIVE and FORGET easily
  4. Big People EMPOWER others to be successful
  5. Big People don’t try to be BIG PEOPLE
  6. Big People treat “LITTLE” People well
  7. Big People LISTEN
  8. Big People honour LEADERSHIP and accept GUIDANCE
  9. Big People respect MANNERS and “SPATIALITY”
  10. Big People have BIG CAPACITY

I believe we should desire becoming BIG PEOPLE just as our God is a BIG God. My prayer is that I will be able to reflect His likeness. Amen.

Early April Fool’s Joke?

I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read the headline of the above article on the Straits Times dated 31 March 2009.

On the onset, please do not mistaken me for being disrespectful to our leaders. Nothing against them, but I am merely flabbergasted by the use of ‘depth of leadership’ here.

In my personal opinion, depth is built over many years of trials and challenges to mould a leader’s character, capacity and competence.

In Singapore, it seems our leaders are identified and measured mainly by their academic achievements over the ‘trials and challenges’ in our educational system.

Take a look at Barack Obama, Mahatma Ghandi, Lee Kuan Yew, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, they started right from the bottom and fought courageously to earn the spot on the top.

Honestly, what credible and proven track records are there in our present leaders to measure their quality of depth? And what depth of leadership do they exhibit when everything is so conveniently handed to them? 

Fighting Apathy in the Church

Two years ago, I wrote an article sharing my observation and opinion on Singaporeans’ general apathetic attitude towards politics.

My concern was how this general passivity and overly ‘trusting’ of our goverment leaders would pose as a threat that was awaiting to implode.

Today, it appears that the Church also suffers the same predicament.

Apathy in the church

“I believe they (pastoral leadership) know what they are doing”

“Things are not that bad and it won’t happen here”

These are common cursory responses that we too often hear from members within the ranks of a church in regards to their church’s leadership and governance.

I think we are in such a position because we believe or safely assume that the leadership in the church are people of high moral standards or even perfectly godly.

Perhaps some of us might be resigned to the fact that we cannot change anything as one person out of many. Thus, we accept the status quo since it is “not that bad” and stay out of engaging our leadership.

But who is to say that this happy situation will always be the case- when we know that these are also imperfect men like you and I that are operating in leadership?

Jesus was not apathetic

I believe God expects us as His followers to be actively involved and to take ownership of His Church since we are His sons and daughters.

We read in the gospel how this sense of ownership is displayed in Jesus when the holy temple became a ‘den of robbers’.  In Luke 19:45-47, it said that He drove those wrong practises out!

Though it was the main responsibility of the teachers of the law to uphold the holiness and governance in the temple, Jesus didn’t wait for them to do so as He saw the temple as His Father’s House.

Therefore, whether out of apathy, ignorance, indifference, resignation or complacency, I do not think Jesus wants us to blindly follow or to just “sit on the picket fence” and be apathetic.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

1 Peter 4:17

On the contrary, we should be deeply involved in not only supporting the leadership, but also actively engaging them when policies or decisions are made especially in terms of finances for the accountability of His Church.

In whatever positions of authority we may have in our church- no matter how little we think our authority is, we can contribute to the betterment of the church by highlighting possible errors or wrongs in policies or processes.

Five Myths on Leadership

A myth is something that is false, but believed to be true. As in many things in life, there are several myths surrounding the concept and practice of leadership.

Unfortunately, these myths prevent qualified people from rising to the top. By listing these leadership myths, it is my hope to dispel many of the false beliefs.

Myth 1 – Leadership is a rare ability only given to a few

Many people still think leaders are born not made. This can’t be further from the truth. Most people have the potential to become good leaders. Leadership is not like a diet pill.

Like most learned skills, it takes time, training, and lots of trial by error. The key ingredient making people good leaders is the ability to care about others. The second ingredient is a sense of purpose, vision or mission.

A good leader charts a course and provides direction to those they lead.

Myth 2 – Leaders are charismatic

Many leaders are charismatic, but closer scrutiny shows that most leaders are not. Some of the world’s most famous leaders had warts–some sort of shortcoming or personality issue.

In a leadership role, people skills are very important–more important than technical skills. However, the best leaders are those who work toward a goal. Your cause, your purpose and your mission in life will make you charismatic, not the other way around.

Myth 3 – The person with the title, most rank or the highest position is the leader

True leadership is not based on position or rank. It is based on action, performance, ability, and effectiveness. We all relate to working for those people who were placed in leadership roles who did more to demoralize and destroy the business than anything else.

People naturally gravitate to those they want to follow, respect, and work with. There are no limiting job descriptions, job titles, and few rules and regulations. If a person comes up with a new idea, he or she puts a team together of people who have the desire and knowledge to make it work

Myth 4 – Effective leadership is based on control, coercion, and manipulation

Leadership is about the future, not the past. Joel Barker’s has the best quote about leadership, “A leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go to by yourself.”

Good leaders gain followers out of respect and their ability to cause people to work toward a particular goal or achieve a destination. People follow because they can relate to the vision or goal personalized by the leader.

A good leader helps people become better than they are. A good leader creates a work environment that attracts, keeps and motivates its workforce.

Myth 5 – Good leaders have more education than other people

Educational degrees may mean you have a good education, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good leader. When it comes to leadership, experience is the best teacher.

The U.S. military has the best leadership development program in the world. In the military, you start out at the bottom. You are placed in leadership positions and closely evaluated.

As your experience broadens, so does your responsibility. This practical experience is reinforced with weeks and months of formal training throughout the individual’s career.

Leadership is Not a Position

Leadership is not a position.

People follow people, not positions. They respect people whom they trust.

They tag along with people in whom they believe in. They follow people who have demonstrated they deserve to be followed.

Using Jesus as a prime example, the magnitude of people followed Him even though He was a Nazarene and a carpenter by trade.

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law”

Matthew 7:28-29

Jesus wasn’t even in a position of leadership. He was not even part of the Jewish hierarchy of the teachers of the law, but yet this Man commanded the respect and the following of people.

Leaders puts others first

Being committed to His Body over the years, I have also learnt much about leadership. This time, I understoodd that the true essence of leadership is about “washing other people’s feet” or to serve others.

This lifestyle of service though easy to talk about, is not an easy way of life to live. This is so because it demands a total surrender of one’s rights by putting the interest of others first.

Having said that, to lead and to serve others should not be carried out because of a title like pastor, shepherd, cell leader, deacon or bishop. It should be birthed out of an identity as a child and servant of God.

Leaders walk the talk

Leadership is not a position. A leader is a leader not because of a title. Leadership is something that is earn from people on a day to day basis.

Examples of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi reflected this. They led with the “walk the talk” formula. Hence, they did not need position or title to lead.

It is what is inside a man that truly makes him a leader- His character or moral excellence, competence and intelligence.

No one will ever acknowledge a person as a “leader” till they have earn it.