Understanding Church Leadership 8

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By Pastor Raphael Adegoke

16Woe to you, O land whose king is a youth, and whose princes feast in the morning. 17Blessed are you, O land whose king is a son of nobles, and whose princes feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. (Eccl 10: 16-17)

We bless the name of the Lord for the grace to be alive to have fellowship with Him once again today. May His goodness never depart from us! Amen! Last Tuesday,, we began to consider the servant hood of Christ which is servant leadership and explained the difference between a servant and a servant leader. We shall now begin to discuss some of the characteristics of a servant leader mentioned last week..

Foremost of these is active listening. There is difference between hearing and listening. You can hear a word and not listen, but you cannot listen without hearing. If there is any skill a leader must develop, then it should be listening skill. Anyone whose speaking is faster than listening may not be able to lead well. This is because there is a need for a just processing of the people’s word before any response.

It is always disheartening seeing leaders make rash decisions or conclusions without ever taking time to understand what people mean when they speak.  A leader does not make conclusions on any matter based on what he feels or thinks another means, not until he really gets to know and understand what another really means. Leaders don’t live on assumptions.

In communication, just as much as a speaker can determine meaning, so can a listener. How do I mean? Everyone that speaks has something in mind. A word may mean differently from the intention of a speaker. Imagine in a typical Yoruba family where a mother tells her child, “Make sure you break all the items in the house before I return from office”.  A Yoruba person will understand that the mother actually means that nothing must break in the house before she returns.

Also, we tend to process people’s words based on our different world views. So, it is inimical when a leader’s worldview is shallow or not wide. This will make him highly critical and judgmental. It will also make him easily make conclusions that will be detrimental to his followers, disciples, mentees and in the long run, himself.

In addition, every word has got life of its own. Words have meaning apart from the meaning probably given to it by the speaker or the meaning given to it by the hearer or listener. That’s why thorough exegesis of a word needs to be done before arriving at any conclusions.

We learnt from Jesus, the manner of listening. There was never a time Jesus misunderstood anybody or apologized for misconceptions. Though He is God, yet it was is his human nature that He presented to humanity. Jesus listened to the rich and poor, children and adults, the sick and the healthy, kings and subordinates. Even till now, Jesus listens to us.   So, if you desire to become a great leader, listen actively than you speak.

Pastor Raphael Adegoke is a Pastor in Christ Apostolic Church (Nigeria & Overseas) and a Lecturer in Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary.

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