I’ve spent the morning reading and researching some lectures that I shall deliver early next year for The Light Projects foundation degree in Theology and Evangelism.

In my reading I came across this simple table on empowering or exploiting. It may be way old to you, but wow, it really challenged me in how I lead and what I do as a Baptist minister.

In what way do I prefer the ease of managing and control of the second list, rather than the permission giving life of the first. Challenging…

How to empower others               How to exploit others

let them function                                                         give them functions

believe in them                                                            make them believe in you

delegate authority                                                       require submission

further God’s plan for them                                     make them part of your plans

invest in them                                                              use them

love them and say so                                                love the task more than the people

give them what you have                                            take what they have

discuss with them                                                       preach at them

spend time freely with them                                       require appointments

give them the keys now                                              hold back until you retire

serve them                                                                   let them serve you

praise them                                                                  accept their praise graciously

transfer masterhood to them                           demonstrate masterhood to them

Taken from Wolfgang Simson, Houses That Change the World: The Return of the House Churches (Emmelsbull, Germany: C & P Publishing, 1999), 32-37.

In a way the list encourages me as I consider those who have studied with us and what they’ve gone on to achieve, not building our own kind of light project empire, but rather launching into doing what God has called them to do…

For blog

9 thoughts on “How to empower others or how to exploit others

  1. Like you probably can, I can think of several church leaders who need to read this. But then they won’t think it applies to them will they? After all, it means giving up part of your “I’m in charge role” doesn’t it?

  2. Hi Chris, I know exactly what Brian Drury means. But I wanted to say that from the little I know about you I can see that you naturally tend to the right hand column. So don’t mark yourself down on this one. You are going pretty well 🙂

    PS – Have you met Wolfgang? He doesn’t pull his punches. This list is very true to character! Another guy worth checking out on this is the Indian, Victor Choudhrie.

  3. I would have no respect for a leader who acted from the left hand column….. whereas someone who operates from the right hand column looks like someone I could put my confidence in….. I respect pastors who are in position because they meet the standards for eldership in 1 Timothy… I would have zero respect for anyone who is influenced by trendy ideas of dialogue… after all, a young person needs to be TOLD what is right, not do what is right in his/her own eyes. The world may have appropriated the left hand leadership model, but i find no authorisation for it in the bible…… SUBMISSION is not a dirty word to Christians! And don’t people need to be able to FOLLOW, if they are later to lead?

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