Christian leadership from its very definition connotes a call to serve. It takes discipline, determination and great courage for a leader to achieve great success. The Bible speaks of leaders who have served diligently and depicted qualities that have become the hallmark with which leadership is measured. From Nehemiah, who encountered all sort of obstacles in his quest to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem yet persevered to Deborah, the only female judge that Israel ever had, who although was head and shoulders above everyone else, depicted courage in difficult times, accompanying Balak in battle and explicitly trusting in God’s ability to grant them victory.
Christian leadership is not defined by the worldly notions of success, such as the love of power and money. It is not an avenue to oppress and overpower others with their authority, as the Gentiles practised. On the contrary, it is defined by the ability to lead the flock of Christ aright, steering them into living a life worthy of emulation and leading them on the path to heaven. It is defined by the ability to influence others out of Christ’s interest so they accomplish the purpose for which God brought them to the world.
More importantly, it is a call for obedience and humility, just as Christ humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:7-8).
Leaders are born and shaped by challenges. If you are in doubt, ask Moses who was specifically appointed by God to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of the Egyptians. Just like the peculiar challenge Moses was faced with, Christian leaders are confronted with another one – the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a ‘stay at home’ order from lots of countries including Nigeria. It was received with mixed reactions especially when the policy banning any congregation in public places, including the church was implemented. The major concern was how the switch from a traditional method of worshipping to a modern, online version was going to fare. Thankfully, God in his infinite mercy has caused the transition to be effective despite all challenges it is fraught with.
In the midst of all of these, the leadership within the body of Christ has excelled, by complying with the scriptures and the Bible as written in the book of 1 Peter 2:13-14 when we were urged to submit ourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
While encouraging members of the church to abide by the social distancing rules, the leadership within God’s Church has played critical roles in seeing to the welfare of the poor and needy by donating palliatives. They have also cooperated with the state by donating medical facilities and equipment (test kits, masks, ventilators, respirators, hospital beds, useful drugs, etc) to the body responsible for disease government in Nigeria. Their efforts have drowned the controversy surrounding the errant few who had to succumb only through a show of force.
While God’s Church has demonstrated effective leadership, more still has to be done. More than ever, Christian leaders have a bigger responsibility to watch and care for the flock which Christ has entrusted into their care. Leaders must learn to plan ahead for life after COVID-19.
Entrepreneurship committees which would be tasked with the responsibility of providing some ‘interest-free’ loans (and in some cases, grants) to finance micro-small businesses – especially for widows and other women who struggle to support their families should be set up.
Additionally, the mental health of believers at this time should be a priority for all Christian leaders.
May God spare us and may His protection and deliverance be upon us now and forevermore.
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