An Excellent Resource for Peacemaking Leaders of All Kinds
In a recent conversation with church leaders, we wrestled with some of the challenges associated with shepherding the people in our churches.
I suggested that this year we might read and discuss A Christian Leader’s Guide to Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch.
Of all the books on leadership I’ve worked through in my years as a peacemaking pastor, few have made a greater impact on me than this one. The publisher bills the text this way:
This book provides leaders and teachers a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about love. This understanding is essential to you as an individual leader and to the church as a whole. It will significantly improve your relational skills, enhance your effectiveness in ministry, diminish senseless conflict and division, build a healthier church, and promote evangelism. If you lead or teach people in any capacity in the body of Christ, this book will help you become a more loving leader or teacher.
Strauch accomplishes those aims by working through the details of the Bible’s great love chapter–1 Corinthians 13–in parts one and two. Part three focuses on The Works of a Loving Leader.
These include practices like Caring for People’s Needs, Laboring in Prayer, Protecting and Reproving Loved Ones, Disciplining and Restoring the Wayward, Managing Conflict a “More Excellent Way,” and Practicing Hospitality.
Regarding hospitality for example, Strauch argues from Romans 12:10–“Love one another with brotherly affection”–that leaders must create loving community by bringing others into our homes.
Brotherly love entails knowing one another and sharing life together. Unless we open the doors of our homes to one another, the reality of the local church as a close-knit family of loving brothers and sisters is just one more empty religious theory. It is impossible to know or grow close to our brothers and sisters by meeting for an hour a week with a large group in a church sanctuary. It is through the ministry of hospitality that we provide the fellowship and care that nurtures true brotherly and sisterly love (100).
For an illustration of the effect produced by practicing hospitality, Strauch cites research conducted by a news reporter measuring church friendliness.
Each visit resulted in a rating based upon a point system. Greeters at the door–two points. Welcome form letter from the pastor–three points. Coffee hour–five points. Warm greeting from individuals–ten points. Personal invitations to dinner?” SIXTY POINTS!
Such is the power of hospitality.
If you lead others in your church in any capacity–but especially as a pastor–I urge you to include Leading with Love on your 2019 reading list.
Question: When have you been loved well by a leader practicing hospitality?
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