How you see as a leader, shapes everything about your leadership. If you think in steps, that’s how you evaluate the effectiveness of a ministry or sermon. If you are highly relational focused on making people feel cared for, this will shape how you see things, how you lead and evaluate things. If you are a big picture, visionary, this will affect your outlook. If you care deeply about doctrine over everything else, that will also affect how you see things. The reality is, though no leader wants to admit this, no way is the “correct” way to see things when it comes to leadership. All perspectives are needed to lead an effective church.
The Old Testament establishes three primary leadership offices for the people of Israel:
- Prophets: God’s messengers to his people
- Priests: Mediators who approach God on behalf of his people
- Kings: Rulers who govern God’s people
In the New Testament, we see that Jesus perfectly fulfills each of these offices. He is our final and authoritative Prophet (John 1:1). He is our Great High Priest (1 Peter 5:4). And he is the conquering King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15).
The prophet is the Bible guy (I’m using guy because it is shorter, women have the same lenses). When a prophet reads the Bible, they ask, “What does this tell me about God?” They love verses, mission, doctrine, theology. All they need is a verse for it to be true. They don’t need feelings, just a verse. For them, it is all about the mission and truth. This person will often post things about their beliefs on social media, whether it is about vaccines, theology, gay marriage, abortion, being gospel centered, etc. They seek to argue people into the kingdom of God.
The priest is the relational guy. When a priest reads the Bible they ask, “How does this passage make me feel?” They are all about shepherding, relationships, making sure everyone is cared for. They are on the lookout to make sure everyone is connected, feels loved, wanted. They want to make sure no one falls through the cracks. This person can often sacrifice truth in the name of keeping a relationship. Willing people to continue sinning in hopes they will turn around from more time spent together. Priests often find themselves wasting time in meetings or counseling sessions that never seem to end.
The king is the systems and organizational guy. When a king reads the Bible they ask, “What does this make me want to do?” They want steps. They love excel, spreadsheets, things that add up, budgets. They want systems to care for people, systems to move people from one place to the other. They want to be organized and they want the churches they are a part of to be organized. Most churches aren’t sure what to do with kings.
What often happens is if you have a priest leading the church, they will be intimidated by the kings because they are more efficient. They will struggle with prophets because prophets have a clear picture of the future. Kings will get frustrated with prophets because they can’t ever get to their vision, only cast it. They will also get frustrated at a prophet preaching because there will never be any steps. Prophets will often say what the bible says and sit down, “letting the holy spirit do the work.” Prophets will get frustrated with kings because “they don’t get it” and want to talk about how a church will get there, so a prophet always wonders if a king is on board. A prophet gets frustrated at a priest because they keep talking about people who need help or haven’t bought in and are slowing the church down.
Which one is right?
All of them. They are all needed on a leadership team and to help a church become who God calls it to be.
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