“Pastor” defined and refined: Part 7

Ex14_21a Guy Saffold, an executive ministries director for Campus Crusade for Christ, is leading one of our courses this week on leadership.  He’s just one of those "leaders" who is "leading" me into a "leadership" quagmire right now.  He challenges George Barna, who once wrote that "Leadership is the most important thing for the church."  Dr. Saffold responds by offering a re-reading of Hebrews chapter 11, replacing the word "faith" with the word "leadership."  It’s funny.  This is from the "New Leadership Translation:"

"What is leadership?  It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.  It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.  God gave his approval to people in the days of old because of their leadership.  By leadership we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did come from anything that can be seen.  It was by leadership that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did… And although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us because of his leadership.  It was by leadership that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying…  It was by leadership that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood… It was by leadership that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land… It was by leadership that Sarah together with Abraham was able to have a child… All of these leaders died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God.  It was by leadership that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him… It was by leadership that Isaac blessed his two sons, Jacob and Esau… It was by leadership that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.  And it was by leadership that Joseph, when he was about to die, confidently spoke of God’s bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt… It was by leadership that Moses’ parents hid him for months… It was by leadership that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharoah’s daughter… It was by leadership that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground… It was by leadership that Rahab the prostitute did not die with all the others in her city who refused to obey God… Well, how much more do I need to say?  It would take too long to recount the stories of the leadership of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.  By leadership these people over threw kingdoms… All these people we have mentioned received God’s approval because of their leadership… Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of leadership, let us strip off every weight that slows us down…"

AND IT GOES ON.  It is funny.  But then why are we so tempted to replace faith with leadership?  It’s clear biblically, that faith may just perhaps possibly play kind of an important role in pursuing God’s plans for ministry.


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