ETHOS: A LEADER LIVES THE LOGOS
The title of a blog in ChurchLeaders.com caught my eye, and so I read on. Here is what the author wrote: “PreachersNSneakers is blowing up on Instagram right now. It started just a few weeks ago with zero followers and now has over 136,000 followers as of today. It’s controversial because it’s taking Instagram photos from celebrity pastors that they posted themselves, and putting the price tag of the shoes they are wearing next to them. These pastors are wearing shoes that cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for a pair of shoes! A lot of people are shocked. Some are outraged. How can these pastors wear such expensive sneakers? People are calling these pastors false teachers. They’re calling them hypocrites, slamming their churches, and saying that they’ll never tithe to the church again”.
I am not one to judge those pastors who were caught wearing those shoes. But one thing we must not miss is this-- a leader may have the right logos and is passionate about it, but he may end up in mediocrity if his life is not consistent with his message. A leader’s life is the most crucial pillar of effective leadership. Logos reveals a leader’s mind, passion unveils the leader’s heart but action proves his total commitment to the message.
Sadly, this area has been the waterloo of countless leaders. In recent years, we have witnessed the fall of one mega-pastor after another. They had the right message (the Gospel), they were burning with zeal in preaching it, but their lives violated their message. Such stories have played out in numberless churches and ministry groups.
In the political and corporate worlds, the same story is repeated with grating regularity. At every level of a corporation or government office, there are leaders who mouth the official party line, but their actions proclaim the opposite.
Studies and practical experience have shown that people follow the deeds, not the words, of leaders. The leader’s life should be an example that his people would want to emulate. Paul can therefore say, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
In an article in the Forbes Magazine website entitled, Why What You Say As A Leader Does Not Matter, here is what Louis Efron has to say: “As most people know, “Do as I say, not as I do” simply does not work around children… Like children, employees will quickly adopt their leader’s behavior when it serves them best. If you tell someone you will do something, then don’t do it, people will feel it is okay to do the same to you when the time comes. If you speak poorly about others, are dishonest, or disrespect those around you, your employees will behave the same way… Your words may be heard, but your actions as a leader are watched, judged, critiqued and emulated. The culture you model at the top of your institution will be the culture of your entire organization.”
Thus, a Christian leader’s life must show what it means daily to love God above all, and one’s fellow humans as himself (see Matthew 22:37-39). In this section, we will explore what it means to live the message. For the Christian, the whole Bible is her guide in life. So in one sense, living the message is living what the Bible says. This little book will not exhaust all that the Bible says about our character. What I will do is highlight key character traits from the Bible illustrated with practical experience.