Christian Leadership

In other words, a leader is somebody who is in charge of others. Leadership is more than simply skills. It is based on call and character. There are three main things that make a good leader. The first is that a leader must practice what he preaches. The second is that he has to look after and protect those around him. The third is that he must be able to develop other good leaders. The Bible quote above states that, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present word. What should a Christian leader be like?

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There is no finer example for Christian leadership than our Lord Jesus Christ. He declared, “l am the good shepherd. The DOD shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). It is within this verse that we see the perfect description of a Christian leader. He is one who acts as a shepherd to those “sheep” in his care. Christians and Christian leaders should use Christ our Lord as an example and behave like He would. The campaign, ‘What would Jesus do? ” fits perfectly in this notion. As a Christian leader, you are held to high moral, ethical, and social standards.

As a leader, you are held to high standards, but as a Christian leader, that bar is raised even higher. This is because both the Christian and non-Christian social environment has tended to expect that Christians measure up to their self- proclaimed moral and ethical standards, as they rightly should. As a Christian leader, much is expected from you. Others may look up to you for direction and as an example. It is essential that you live up to what is expected of you. However, that being said, there are several challenges that Christian leaders face in Africa in this day and age as would anyone.

We will examine the social, cultural and economic challenges. Theology can be defined as the field of study and analysis that treats God and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity. In this report I will give a Theological response to some of the challenges a Christian leader encounters in Africa today based on the Bible. 1. Social challenges Social challenges are challenges relating to human society and how it is organized. They relate to the way in which people in groups behave and interact.

Some of the social challenges are issues relating to family life, marriage, homosexuality, drugs and alcohol abuse, war and violence, abortion, prostitution and many more. Africa is a continent filled with people of various cultural backgrounds and ethnic groups. This diversity can be problematic. The reasons of the growing tide of ethnic conflicts in the world and in Africa include a reaction against over- centralized, corrupt and exploitative governments, a search for cultural identity amid the constant changes and confusion of modern society and alienation, which threatens the very roots of community.

In Africa, the conflicts are also being driven by profound forces of change in the economic and political spheres, by increased human migration and by resentment of injustice, both real and received. According to Samuel Sunshiny, when economic growth slows, ethnic identity becomes more salient, this is due to competition over scarce resources. In many African societies, competition for power and wealth involves groups that are divided on ethnic backgrounds, cultural or religious lines. In Kenya, the post-election violence in 2007 can attest to this.

Some groups of people felt marginalia, whether this was real or perceived injustice is another matter all together. As a Christian leader, that was challenge manner of us faced. It was a dark time in our nation. All most of us could do was lock ourselves up and pray for peace and normalcy to return. For a moment there it seemed like Kenya had forgotten God’s grace. Anger overtook them. Christian. It is important for a Christian at such times, to try and bring people together; to try and remind others that we are all one big family with God as our Father.

Injustices affect millions of human beings, reducing them to sub-human condition. Oppressed turn on their oppressors. An example is that of Egypt revolution in early 2011 when thousands took to the streets demanding change. Most of the demonstrations in Egypt were peaceful and violence was kept at a minimal. When conflicts arise it is all too easy to resort to violence in attempting to solve them. Violence is the most natural response. We all want to hit back at our enemies. It also communicates our emotions loud and clear and forces a response.

It is also the only option left after dialogue and diplomacy fail to produce results. However violence begets violence. Currently, there is so much violence in Libya as the oppressed fight for what they believe is rightly theirs. Violence is never a right option. Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence…. (Martin Luther King) Violence has never produced peace. It is counterproductive and self-defeating; it does not solve conflicts but creates more problems than existed before. “You have heard that it was said, ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist and evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two lies. ” (Mathew 5:38-41) Seek healing and reconciliation, promote justice, practice loving and forgiving our enemies. The refusal to accept violence does not mean that we passively accept whatever is done to us, nor does it mean that we cannot use of force to protect ourselves when attacked.

We must not accept the use of force as a means of solving conflicts. Instead we must encourage non-violent but active resistance when dealing with such conflicts. This is what Jesus said in Mathew 5:38 Drugs and alcohol abuse is also another social challenge that affect Christian leader. Addiction takes many forms. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. Almost all traditional communities worldwide have produced and consumed drugs and alcohol. Jesus’ time is no exception. The most common drug in Africa was tobacco. However consumption of alcohol was subject to strict community control.

The elderly were free to take alcohol whenever they pleased, but the younger people were not. According to Joseph Francesca, Director of Clinical Neuroscience, addiction can be defined as repetitive behaviors in the face of negative consequences, the desire to continue something you know is bad for you. Some of the aspects of NY addiction are excessive behavior, a drive to do it again, persistence in the behavior, negative social consequences, uncontrollable drug seeking behavior, and a need for increasingly large doses of whatever one is addicted to, regardless of the consequences.

As a Christian leader it is essential to understand why people abuse drugs and alcohol. There are several reasons why people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Most important is that the drugs relieve pain, whether physical or psychological, and provide temporary pleasures such as relaxation, euphoria, excitement, boldness, satisfaction, a sense of peace and serenity. These are highly desirable to those seeking to escape from frustrations, depression or boredom. In a Christian context, the Bible condemns drunkenness but not drinking of alcohol. However the bible warns us about the dangers associated with alcohol. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. ” (Romans 14:21. ) ‘Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he van gaze on their naked bodies. ” Here, the Bible clearly states that we should not advocate for drunkenness and alcoholism. Although this can be argued to be different from enjoying the occasional glass of wine, Christian should remember that these substances have a direct spiritual effect on our bodies, which are the spiritual abode of the Holy Spirit and so should be treated as holy (1 Core 3:16-17. As a Christian leader there is a lot of challenges in terms of alcohol and drug abuse especially from peers. A large number of people abuse alcohol and drugs in the name of having a social life. These pressures for a Christian are no different. A Christian leader should be able to resist the urges and follow God’s law. It is also important to have friends who have the same ideologies and principles as you so as to help each other resist temptations. Homosexuality is a very controversial issue in Africa. Many have argued that it is anti-African and should never be legalized in Africa.

The bible mentions homosexuality and forbids it. The bible states that it is unnatural. Genesis 19:1-11 and Romans 1:26-27. “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice emotionality’ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). A Christian leader should be wary of such activities. Spreading the gospel is also encouraged in these times. Christian leaders should advice their neighbors and people close to them of God’s will.

This should be done in a sympathetic way without passing judgment on others. Excessive secularism is another challenge to Christian leaders. The music around us and the television shows that we watch influence the way we act, think and live. We might not want to agree to this but it is true. A Christian leader should try as much as possible to avoid such worldly things wand lifestyles. There are pressures to conform, pressures from family and friends and pressures of having a sense of belonging. As a Christian leader one must remember that they are looked upon to be a role model and should therefore live life to please God.

Other social challenges include marriage and divorce, abortion and prostitution and many others. In whatever we do as Christian Leaders we should do it for the glory of God. The Bible should be our guide whenever faced with such challenges. 2. ECONOMIC CHALLENGES Business can be a source of most of the economic challenges Christian Leaders face in Africa. What is the purpose of a business? The question is deceptively simple, but the answer is not. If you believe that the purpose of a business is to make a profit, then this belief will guide your decision making.

If you believe, however, that the purpose of a business goes beyond making profit, then you have a different decision-making guide. Different perceptions can lead to conflicts” (Chon, 1995, p. 10). A lot of people would agree that business is for profit. “Business must fight as if it were at war. And, like a good war, it should be fought gallantly, daringly, and above all, not morally/’ (Levity, 1958, p. 3). Another view point is that business is for profit and others. Business organizations and business people need to look beyond the profit alone. They have a responsibility to all those who might be affected by the business activities.

Be it suppliers, consumers, stakeholders and the rest. Christian leaders are business men and women all over Africa. Their businesses are a source of income for them as to any other Nan-Christian individual. Business is primarily for profit. There are several ethical issues that come up when running a business. Some are dealing with stubborn employees, irate customers, disappointing suppliers and the like. But as Christians and Christian leaders we can stretch that to cater for others associated with our business. Christians should try as much as possible to be their brother’s keeper.

Corporate Social Responsibility project are also essential in that they are a platform for us to give back to the community. It is almost impossible not to link business with corruption as these two go hand in hand in Africa. On of the biggest economic challenge facing Christian leaders in Africa is corruption. Corruption is featured in Africans social, political ND religious life. Corruption has disastrous effects. It slows down economic growth and affects everyone in the continent. Corruption manifests itself through bribery, extortion, fraud, nepotism, shake-downs, kickbacks and many more.

In Africa, corruption is rampant and can be witnessed in the day to day life of all individuals however corruption is illegal in all African countries. Corruption increases poverty by enriching a few individuals and many others are left poor. Corruption leads to oppression of the weak. The powerless suffer under the hands of the rich and powerful individuals. It leads to erosion of moral values -Nothing about corruption is right. It perverts the people’s sense of what is right and what is wrong. It becomes so normal that people forget corruption is against God’s will and purpose for us. It is evil.

Webster Dictionary defines bribe or bribing as anything, especially money, given or promised to induce a person to do something illegal or wrong and/or anything given or promised to induce a person to do something against his or her wishes. Corruption occurs in various ways in Africa; tax evasion, bribing of government official, registration of companies and many more. In the bible, the use of bribes is strongly condemned. “Do not accept a bribe for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous” (Exodus 28:8. ) “Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart” (Ecclesiastic 7:7. “Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them” (Psalms 62:10. ) The Bible condemns corruption as morally wrong. It also recognizes its harmful effects on those who accept the bribes. Christian leaders should proclaim publicly that corruption in all forms is unacceptable. They should also call on the authorities to prosecute those found guilty of bribery and corruption. 3. CULTURAL CHALLENGES Culture can be defined as the beliefs, behavior and characteristic of a particular social, ethnic or group of people.

Africa is known for its diversity in culture. In Kenya we have about forty tribes. All these tribes speak different language and have different cultures. Although some cultural ideal are now being eroded due to westernizes, many people practice cultural beliefs. Some of those beliefs and practices are contrary to Chrism’s teachings. Dowry is one of the cultural practices in Kenya and the rest of Africa. It is immoral simply because the man and woman who enter into marriage are equal and the man needs the woman as much as the woman needs the man.

In my view dowry commercialese the holy and God-ordained and initiated institution of marriage. It is definitely not as rampant among Christians as it is among others, but it is nevertheless present among Christians also and often it just takes different names and forms. Another cultural practice that is popular is witchcraft. Almost all African countries believe in witchcraft in one form or another. It is the traditional way of explaining he ultimate cause of any evil, misfortune or death. Africans believe in witchcraft because they have heard several stories on the same.

African Christians who are trying to be relevant to their Cutter must first begin by accepting that there is something such as witchcraft, by which we mean the general power of Satan and his evil cohorts to bring suffering and misery to humanity. The bible explicitly warns us to have nothing to do with witchcraft. “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spirits, for you will be defiled by them” Leviticus 19:13. “Let no one be found among you… Who practices divination or sorcery, interprets men’s, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spirits or who consults the dead.

Anyone who does these things is detestable to god” Deuteron 18:10-12. In Africa polygamy is still common place. It is practiced by old and young, educated and uneducated, religious and pagan, Christians and non-Christians. It is important to dismiss one false reason that shallow thinking often suggests: polygamy is not driven by unrestrained sexual impulses. Contrary to popular belief, polygamy actually fulfils a number of functions such as bearing of many children so that the status and property may be passed on and the family may come extended in space and time.

It serves the prosperity and growth of the extended family and provides status and support for women in societies where they have no vocation other than that of marriage and bearing children to their husband’s lineage. It is a way of catering for unsupported women in a society that does not tolerate independent women. It also provides a solution to a wife’s infertility. Nevertheless, this is arguable. The bible has no clear cut statements condemning or prohibiting polygamy. Most of the biblical data on polygamy comes from the Old Testament in Mathew 19:2-9 and Mark 10:2-11. Monogamy is, with no doubt, god’s ideal for marriage.

God created only one wife for Adam and can be found in Genesis 1:28; 2:24 in the creation story. Another verse on marriage is “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. ” (Matt 19:8-9. ) Some have applied this verse to both divorce and polygamy. Other cultural practices include female genital mutilation in some communities, belief in ancestors and some other African cultural rituals.