Saturday, February 28, 2015

Zambian Leadership

Recently I was doing some research and I came across these two African proverbs about leadership. I couldn't resist sharing them with you.

He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. ~ Malawian proverb
 An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~ Ghanaian proverb


The first proverb gets at the heart of the fears of many Zambian leaders, I think. There is insecurity in the church about effectiveness. Pastors and other leaders seem always worried that they will be accused of lacking spiritual power and that nobody is following them... that they are just taking a walk. They see all these supposedly Christian leaders on television and holding huge meetings around the city, and they imagine they have to fit into that mold. Preaching the gospel, they think, is not enough. They must have "power" and "fire" to give to the people. People yell a lot.

This attitude trickles down through the whole society. Everybody seems to be pushing someone else around. It's hard not to let it influence your attitudes as well.

The second proverb prompts me to ask:  are leaders supposed to be powerful or humble? The Swahili word for lion is "simba" and people will use the word also to mean "power." The proverb suggests leaders must only be fierce and powerful, quick and decisive. And then maybe take a nap after they've had their fill.

So many pastors and leaders here are much more interested in being a lion than a sheep. Because respect and status, wealth and success, are of such high value, people have a tendency to "lord" their authority over others, even though Jesus certainly preached against that. He told us that those who want to lead must be the humble servants of all. He washed his disciples feet and told us to do the same. So do we?

But the Bible speaks of Jesus as both the lion and the lamb. He is certainly powerful and will come again in power. So power and boldness are not bad. But the question is:  what are you powerful for? What are you bold for? Who are you lifting up? It must not be yourself. It must always be our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Because really, who wants to be a powerful lion leading a whole flock of sheep to hell? If you are not humbly leading your flock to Jesus and to him alone, then your power is just serving the enemy. In the end you'll be crying, "Lord, Lord," and he'll say, "I never knew you."

Let us pray for our Christian leaders in Zambia, and all over the world, that they would be Christ-like leaders. Serving in humility as another sheep in the flock of our great Shepherd. But let us also pray for power and boldness for them in preaching the truth that Jesus is the only Savior of the world, who lived and died and rose again for our sake. Let them be like our Lord, LIONS and LAMBS.



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