The so called “millennium generation “ has seemed to develop certain presuppositions that are presently a huge challenge that can hinder the continuation of the present apostolic reformation in North America and beyond.
Being involved with pastoral and apostolic-type ministry for more than three decades, I have attempted to prioritize building relationally through covenant, and mentoring. This experience has shown me that in order to be successful I must discern between three types of people: protégés, partners, and parasites.
The following are my observations regarding these three kinds of people:
Many years ago I was shocked when I realized that not all pastors have a strong gift of leadership. While that is okay, it is important to understand this to avoid confusion or frustration because of pastoral expectations and limitations.
Of course, technically, anybody who has a follower is a leader but that doesn’t necessarily equate to the gift of leadership as shown in Romans 12:8. Those with this Romans 12 leadership gift, in my opinion, have the ability to influence people way beyond the reach of the four corners of a church building. Many pastors who only have the grace to function with hands-on ministry approach to personally touch those who are part of their congregation are sheep pastors. In contrast, leader pastors have a grace and vision to develop leaders who will in turn develop other leaders and beyond. The difference between these two types of pastors is in their goals, objectives and methodologies, not in their love for people, which is great. (If a pastor in either category doesn’t love their congregation, they are not a true pastor or shepherd.)
After being in the pastorate for more then three decades, I am convinced that in every church there are prototype leaders that best express the heart, intentions, and characteristics of the overseeing visionary of a church and or organization. This prototype is able to think like the visionary leader and be trusted when it comes to representing them in most situations. These are also the most loyal, faithful and trustworthy of all leaders. In some churches, there is more than one prototype; however, in most cases there is one person above all who embodies and carries the DNA of the main leader. (It is also possible that a married couple may embody a prototype – and or that one spouse does and not the other)
I have been striving since the early 1980s to help the church follow in “the way of Jesus and the apostles”. That being said, one of the earmarks of the first century apostolic church is how the church edified itself in love (Ephesians 4:16) and was led by a team of leaders whose primary purpose was to equip the church to perform the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11,12). Read this second half of the article which delineates traits 5 through 11 of the personality driven church.
5-The leader draws attention to himself
Paul warned of leaders who would arise drawing disciples after themselves (Acts 20:30). This takes place even today even in spite of the fact the Apostle Paul said that in all things Christ should have the supremacy (Colossians 1:19). There are some leaders who brag so much about the great things they are doing that the people’s attention and emotions are drawn more to them than to the Lord or to the church. When a leader does this, ultimately, danger and a huge fall is not far away since God humbles the proud and exalts the humble.
6-There is no room for other leaders to develop
In personality driven churches, people with a high upside regarding their leadership capacity usually get frustrated because there is no opportunity for them to use their gifts. Especially, those in the congregation called to the five-fold ministry as found in Ephesians 4:11. In these churches, there is a culture of “serving the pastor” (to the exclusion of serving the church) and enhancing “his ministry”, more than being equipped for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). In healthy churches, the lead pastor is constantly strategizing to develop and release people to their divine assignment in the church and marketplace.
7-The lead pastor has no accountability
Usually, a personality driven church is led by a narcissistic and or insecure leader that shies away from personal accountability. Even if they have denominational or structural accountability, it is not functional. These leaders do not want to be told what to do in their personal life or church. The very fact that they created the environment for a personality driven church lends to the fact that they have lifted themselves up in regards to self-importance, which makes it difficult for them to listen to anyone else.
8-The government of the church is autocratic and highly centralized
In personality driven churches, there is strict control over what is said, what is done, what is marketed as well as the appearance of all things. Of course, even healthy churches are careful about their communications, public persona and marketing but personality driven churches have “over the top” control in all these areas. Consequently, there is a “top down” leadership style that is autocratic, highly centralized and very structured. When dealing with the leaders and department heads of their ministries, the senior leader of this kind of church just gives direction, presents his vision, and expects everyone just to follow orders without being a vital part of the strategic process.
9- There is no room for critical thinking and creativity
Personality driven churches discourage open dialogue about the true condition of their congregation, as well as critical thinking and creativity. By critical thinking I am not referring to being critical about the church; even healthy churches should discourage the spirit of criticism in their congregation), I am referring to the ability to learn how to think logically, to analyze, and to problem solve. Thus, personality driven churches do not encourage people to be self-aware, and think for themselves. All major thinking, strategy and creativity has to emanate from the senior leader or it is not viewed as legitimate.
10-The lead pastor leads a narcissistic lifestyle
In personality driven churches, the lead pastor attempts to live a lavish lifestyle because they have a sense of entitlement that everyone owes them something because of their “greatness.” Instead of being motivated to serve and feed the flock, the primary motivation of the personality driven leader is the desire to be served. (Whether consciously or unconsciously.)This is of course in direct contradiction to the clear teachings of scripture as found in Jeremiah chapter 23; Ezekiel Ch. 34 and John chapter 10. The godly shepherd will lay down his life for the flock; the personality driven pastor will sacrifice the church for their own benefit and pleasure.
11- The church doesn’t outlive the lead pastor
In personality driven churches, the likely hood that the church survives after the lead pastor is gone is very slim. This is because the whole ministry was built upon the gifts and abilities of the lead pastor. It may have been a mega church; however, it did not have a foundation of strong secondary leaders with a pool of potential successors that can take the reins of the lead pastor role. (Which is why some mega churches do not last beyond the first generation of their founding.) Even in the case of denominational churches where they choose a replacement for the lead pastor, usually said successor does not have the charisma to keep the church moving forward, resulting in a great demise in attendance and vision. In healthy churches, there is a multi-generational vision, which perpetuates the life of the congregation, way beyond the years of the tenure of the lead pastor.
In conclusion, while there is no such thing as a perfect church on this side of heaven, my prayer is that this article will inspire churches to become healthier and pursue the way of Christ and His apostles in regards to local church culture.
To read part I of this article, click this link …
The following are eight of the most important leadership principles I have learned as a senior leader over the past three decades. I have found that each of these leadership principles is vital to the success of any organization, whether it be faith-based or not.
I have been striving since the early 1980s to help the church follow in “the way of Jesus and the apostles”. That being said, one of the earmarks of the first century apostolic church is how the church edified itself in love (Ephesians 4:16) and was led by a team of leaders whose primary purpose was to equip the church to perform the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11,12).
One of the greatest needs in the Body of Christ is to release the spirit of sonship (Read Romans 8:15) Since both the nation of Israel and the church were modeled after the biblical family structure it’s leaders were supposed to function more as spiritual parents than corporate executives. The apostle Paul said that we only have few fathers even though we have numerous teachers (1 Cor. 4) those who have not been properly “fathered” in the natural can tend to walk with an “orphan spirit”. Unfortunately, many leaders in the church and marketplace still function emotionally with an orphan spirit even though they have been adopted as sons into the family of Father/God. Leaders with orphan spirits are limited in their capacity to make disciples and maximize their Kingdom purpose.
I write this article to shed light on this vital subject so leaders can become more self aware, and go to the Lord and others to be healed;
The following are 10 traits of Orphan spirit leaders:
1-They are hyper sensitive
Those with an orphan spirit walk around with a spirit of rejection. Hence, they are hyper sensitive and have an unconscious assumption that people are against them. Consequently, they are easily offended and overreact to minor infractions and or experience continual misunderstandings when inter-facing with others.
2-They don’t know how to be a spiritual parent
Pastors and all mature leaders in the body of Christ should first and foremost function as spiritual fathers that can nurture younger believers (I John 2:12-14). When new people come into the church, they intuitively yearn for spiritual parents who will care for them. Many people are hurt because there is no opportunity presented to them in the church for personal nurture and development.First and foremost, the body of Christ needs their leaders to function as spiritual parents, secondarily preachers and leaders.
3-They are always in competition with other leaders
Those with an orphan spirit have never been affirmed by a father; thus, they are always striving to prove themselves to others. Consequently, in their striving, they find themselves in competition with other gifted leaders (including peers not within their organization).
4-They are driven by a search for significance
Due to the lack of affirmation from a father growing up, those with an orphan spirit are constantly striving to succeed. Hence, they rarely rest but are on a quest to elevate themselves amongst others so they can feel good about themselves. Orphan spirit leaders are driven more by personal ambition than by the Holy Spirit. Hence, it can leave much destruction in their wake as their ambition rather than the Holy Spirit is motivating and directing their work.
5-They don’t know how to emotionally connect
Orphan spirit leaders may be very capable at dispensing tasks out to their followers but may by handicapped when it comes to emotional intelligence. Affirmed sons are better able to connect emotionally with other people since they have already experienced (and developed) an intimate relationship with both their heavenly and spiritual father.
6-They do not feel good about themselves
I have observed that even highly accomplished leaders may have low self-esteem. They desperately try to compensate for this self-disdain by their achievements. Some of the most successful people I have ever met were laden with self-hatred. All this is hidden behind looking good physically with a great public persona but it comes out in one or more of the traits mentioned in this article
7-They do not know how to treat others
Leaders with an orphan spirit often mistreat and or abuse those under their leadership. This comes out sometimes because of the deep subconscious resentment and anger (from being abandoned by their father) embedded in their soul
8-They do not interpret reality correctly
I have found that those who carry an orphan spirit interpret everything through the lenses of their abandonment, rejection and disappointment. Consequently, they interpret reality differently than other people which causes others they hurt to think these leaders are either liars or delusional.
9-People are objectified to obtain their goals
Leaders with an orphan spirit often use people for their own agenda rather than viewing their leadership assignment as a way to love and empower others.
10-They are always looking for approval and recognition
Those with an orphan spirit have a huge void in their heart that only God can fill. Until and or unless they allow the Lord to heal their woundedness, they will live life seeking the approval of others. Their pain is so great they look for temporary (superficial) relief by getting people to notice them so they can receive their accolades.
11- They do not know how to submit to spiritual authority
Those with an orphan spirit have a very difficult time understanding how to be a son to another father. Hence, they have a difficult time trusting anyone enough to receive correction and truly submit to authority and spiritual leadership. I have found that most “lone rangers” are really people with an orphan spirit.
12- they have a difficult time with their own family
Those with an orphan spirit are so driven they often do not keep boundaries. Consequently, they do not know how to relax and spend quality time with their family. Work and accomplishment are always at the center of their life. Also, because they have never been fathered they do not understand how to be a parent and emotionally connect to their biological and spiritual children. These two issues cause great friction between spouses as well as the alienation of children.
13-They have a difficult time relating to God as their Father
Those with an orphan spirit either view God as a harsh taskmaster or as a distant father who cannot be fully trusted. This is because growing up they experienced abandonment from an authority figure and they transferred this view into their relationship with God.They need to have a spiritual experience with God that permeates their soul and revolutionizes their view of Father God. Also, they need a spiritual father in their life who will represent God to them and restore their soul.
In conclusion, nobody has been fully healed emotionally this side of heaven. Every leader (including me) has deep emotional issues and need continual transformation by God. Hence, there are no perfect marriages, children and leaders. (As well as no perfect churches and or organizations)
May the Lord use teachings like this to open our eyes, help us be self aware, and look for Him to bring people, situations and His word to conform our heart, mind and soul into the image of Jesus the only perfect Son of the Father.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest motivator and example of living a purposeful life that the world has ever seen! He lived by the scriptures since He is the living Word of God (John 1:1), this is why all the greatest books on leadership and management operate with latent biblical principles whether intentional or not.
Unfortunately, in every level and realm of life we have all witnessed serious leadership failure! It is no longer a surprise when we read about a high-level pastor, celebrity, sports figure or politician who is disgraced because of ethical or moral failure.