Leadership delusions


“Delusion is seeing things as they are not. An effective leader is able to see things as they are. He has a humility that breeds honest awareness of himself, his people and situation.”

ONCE IN A WHILE I hear of pastors, as well as church leaders, make remarks which, in truth, are just the opposite of what they say. Here are a few samples.

“My people love me!”

This is a trap deluded leaders often fall into, as if they are “my” people. The use of the possessive pronoun often betrays self-absorbed and self-serving leaders, who are out of touch with reality. There are those who do love you, but there are also those who do not, and those who do not care one way or another.

“We have a great team!”

On the surface this remark is meant to be assuring and affirming. I once heard a leader saying this. But unknown to him, some members of his team had been so frustrated with his leadership that they had begun working on getting a new leader.

“I am OK at being number two; I don’t want to be PIC (Pastor-in-Charge).”

Or chairman, president, or bishop, for that matter. The comment is supposed to reflect the person’s humility in that he is not jockeying for power. The truth might really be that he is fearful that he would fail in that role and would rather let someone else take the responsibility. Or, it could simply be sloth, not wanting to pay the price of bearing the extra demands required of a leader. Or, it could hide a secret desire, revealed in this next one.

“I will make a good PIC” (or chairman, president, or bishop).

I have not heard this articulated often because it sounds politically incorrect. One pastor told me that all those colleagues he had asked would only say they did not want to be PIC, but deep down inside he believed they all secretly desired it. Paul affirms that is a good thing to desire (1 Timothy 3:1). But the reality is this: a 1,000 cc engine cannot perform as a three-litre one. A Mini-Cooper should not go into battle against an M1 Abrams tank. Certain destruction!

What do you see?
Delusion is seeing things as they are not. An effective leader is able to see things as they are. He has a humility that breeds honest awareness of himself, his people and situation. Armed with these qualities, he will then be able to have greater clarity as to where and how he is supposed to be leading his people.

The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.


Christian spirituality and being a Christ-like human

CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY begs a fundamental question: “What does it mean being a Christian?” My reply: It means being a more genuine human person. It follows that the more spiritual a Christian is, the more genuinely human he would become. Christian spirituality and genuine humanity are inextricably linked.

I am convinced of the truth of this truth because all Christians are called to “having the mind of Christ and walking as He walked”, to use John Wesley’s favourite expression. As Jesus is the new Adam (and Adam in Biblical Hebrew generically refers to mankind), whoever is called is indeed called to be a genuine human. Hence, the aim of any Christian in practising all sorts of spiritual exercises developed in our rich Christian traditions is not to become a super human but a genuine human, a Christ-like human.

What does a Christ-like human look like? One important realisation that I came to from my research days in London is that the earthly Jesus had only two kinds of disposition which generated all his words and deeds. Facing God, Jesus was obedient to His demanding will to embrace the extreme humiliating death on the cross. Facing men, Jesus was so compassionate to their desperate cries to the extent of even willing to lay down his life for them. His whole life was completely shaped by both his uncompromising obedience to God and his unconditional compassion for others. A Christ-like human is thus an obedient and compassionate person. Jesus’ life was shaped by nothing else but his uncompromising obedience to God and unconditional compassion for others.

Since my realisation of this truth, two questions have become my yardstick to examine my spirituality: Do I love God by willing to seek and obey His will uncompromisingly? Do I love others by willing to identify with their crying needs and serve them unconditionally? Obviously, I still have a long way to go but my gracious God is my strength. By Wilfred Ho