Ponder and Pray

[ 0 ] May 22, 2009 |

Poignant statement: A leader takes the people in his heart and leads his people with humility, courage and vision.

Subject: How and why have the mighty fallen

Scripture: Acts 20:17-38


In India election is now a long drawn affair with endless speeches and rallies. When the final result was declared on the 16 of May 2009 there were many surprises. No one expected the Congress party and its allies known as United Progressive Party to do so well in this election and the jubilant party gave thanks to the people of India for the victory. Being a Christian my mind went to ponder the reasons for such a stupendous victory and can we as Christians and particularly as Christian leaders learn something from this event? Yes, we can learn some precious lessons and here they are. Please remember, this is not to glorify a particular party or ideal but simply to cull some lessons.

– Don’t take your people for granted. Increasingly people are aware of their rights and privileges in society. Many politicians took it for granted that the people will vote for them as in the past. In the same way today an average church folk is not just a dumb observer but very smart participant. The leaders will have to take notice of this positive factor and then plan their strategy to win the confidence of the people among whom they claim to serve. They must serve to win.
– Reject ‘hate mentality of anyone’. The people of India have rejected the politics of hate. The virulent attack of BJP candidate Varun Gandhi won him his own seat but in a large way became an instrument of defeat for his party. At times the leaders in churches create an environment of hate and thus try to win over people to his side. This is despicable as well as not a good strategy.
– Don’t believe in muscles of money and power. Many politicians who were bahubali (mafia) of their areas lost to fresh candidates. Some of these mafias are in jail and they put up their mothers and wives to fight on their behalf and they all lost. It was rejection of the politics of mafiaism. Our church leaders are by no means mafias but there are leaders who think they are powerful people and attitude of humility is not their lifestyle. We do not control people as if they are our subjects. They are our brothers and sisters among whom we are given the privilege to serve. Some leaders I know have totally ruined their ministry due to misuse of money to win over people to his side. Once the flow of fund is over these people leave such leaders as fleas run away the moment a dog dies.
– Emphasis positives in life and speech. The people of India rejected the politics of negativism and voted for positivism. While the likes of Modi ridiculed the Congress as Buddi and Gudia and Advani called Manmohan a nikamma (useless) PM, the star campaigners of the Congress most of the time talked about development and progress of the country and this brought harvest of vote for the UPA. I think the church leaders need to learn the habit of positive thinking and thus minister to the people. By attacking others we actually show what sort of person we are and that makes people lose faith in us.
– Have a clear vision for your people. The people of India mostly voted for the UPA because they had a vision of building a nation while the opposition had no clear agenda except to attack other people. This is a crucial matter of concern today. The leaders of our churches need to have a clear vision to see where the church is and where they want to take the church. Without vision we flounder and fail.
– Touch lives of individuals. The people found that people like Rahul were touching the lives of the people. Rahul himself went to the mass without fearing for his life He sat and supped with them and let them know that new way of leadership is being launched. It will no longer be ‘they the public and us the politicians’. I think this is one of the most crucial aspects of leadership in church. The higher we go up in the rung of leadership the more we grow aloof from the people in the church. We as leaders must be conscious and make deliberate decision to be in touch with the people as much as possible so that we know the joys and sorrows of each individual among whom we claim to serve.
– Have substance rather than speech. In places like Delhi and Uttrakhand the Congress swept, leaving not a single seat for BJP and in Bihar the party of Nitish Kumar prevailed. One of the reasons we see is that instead of giving great speeches they were working to better the lives of the people. And so substance is more important than speeches. How many of us talk about love and tolerance from the pulpit but find if hard to practice and the people are watching and judging us based on who we are rather than what we are saying.
– Be a mentor to younger leaders as you grow old. Many voters of India are young people who are bright and visionary and they voted for the Congress and almost all the young candidates won. To project Advani as the Prime Ministerial candidate who is 81 years old was a wrong move by the main opposition party. Also in the middle of the election campaign the party floated Narendra Modi as another possible candidate and that proved to be worse in some ways. The leaders of churches need to learn serious lessons. We need to not only encourage the youth to learn the ropes of leadership but also give them actual role in leadership. We the older ones should be very much behind young leaders not taking up positions but just mentoring. The visionary enthusiasm of the youth and the well tested wisdom of the old are two great components of true leadership in any place but it is vital in our churches. When I see younger leaders take up responsibility and perform well I encourage them and when they fail I counsel them. One thing I never do is to take back the leadership from those to whom I have given the leadership.
– Never be opportunists. Some of the former UPA alliance deserted the UPA just before election believing that there is hardly any possibility of them coming to power. When the UPA came to power and their own vote bank miserably shrank they were taken by surprise. Now they are jostling to extend support in order to garner the lost ground and perhaps acquire some important posts. The likes of Lalus and Yadavs are a bunch of pitiful lot. If we find a fellow leader at a low time of their lives let us pray, visit and support them. If they have fallen let us just sit with them and cry with them but never leave them. When they are vulnerable they need us the most and we should be there no matter what. Be loyal to the people among whom you serve and not run around to seek better pastures. Most times grass is not greener on the other side, it just has the mirage of looking green.

While in Kathmandu last week I was surprised to hear that there are around 700 pastors in the Valley. I cannot verify the claim but do rejoice in this exponential growth of leadership. It is wonderful to know how the Lord is working in our lovely nation. But equally I hear that there are frictions in the church, false teaching is rampant, many leaders are more money conscious and hoards of other problems. Well, even in the days of Paul and all through the centuries, there were such people and it should not surprise us. We must not have any part with such people. But then let me ask myself with bare sincerity as to how sincere am I as a leader of the church or organization. Am I there for money, prestige and lots of side kicks? Let us all examine ourselves.

Beloved fellow leaders, let us be people of vision, compassion and love. Let us bring positivism in our speech and attitude and let us be an instrument of peace. Let us set aside the desire to have name and money instead let us serve the Lord and His people even if we are unknown person in a corner. Let us just be conscious that we are ministers of God which means we are called to serve the people and not lord over them.

Poignant statement: A leader takes the people in his heart and leads his people with humility, courage and vision.


Prayer: Lord, I need your grace to serve the people of God you have placed in my care. Help me to look unto you at all times to seek all needed spiritual strength and lead as a shepherd leads the flock.

Republished in new layout on 8/6/2013

Previous Comment

The Elusive Nepali Mentor
written by Bhojraj Bhatta , May 22, 2009

I read your postings with great interest and this one is by far the best in my opinion. But my quest for a Nepali Christian leader as my mentor has constantly alluded me ever since I came to know the man called Jesus of Nazareth. I hope and pray that our pioneering leaders will be bold enough not only to tell the younger leaders as what they should do but also confess the mistakes they have committed so that they would go down in history as the real men and women of God who were there not for money, prestige or power but for the love of God and his people.

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Category: Devotion