- Revd Daniel Kirk
Good biblical leadership
A review of 'Remember your Leaders' by Wallace Benn.
Reading “Remember your Leaders” alongside Hebrews 13 is a very good way of spending an hour of your life. For those who exercise any kind of leadership within a church, the benefits are obvious. Gifted Bishop and Bible expositor Wallace Benn digs into the last chapter of Hebrews, where ‘leaders’ are mentioned three times, in order to show the vital importance that Christian leaders are formed by God’s word and gospel rather than the imperatives of current secular society.
After mentioning some of the key pressures facing the church today (secularisation and materialism in the West, poverty and extreme militant Islam in the South) he asks ‘what kind of leaders do we want?’ Without rejecting the ‘common sense’ benefits derived from non-Christian leadership models from Moses’ father-in-law Jethro to the modern day, Benn explains how Hebrews 13 sums up much of NT teaching on leadership and so is invaluable for Christian ministry.
Benn continually rejects novelties that the church is tempted to adopt to make it more relevant; insisting that just as Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, that God has shown us all we need in his word to be good under-shepherds to the one Good Shepherd. In this fifteen page condensed exposition of scripture he identifies nine key principles that good godly leadership should follow. They are divided into two sections headed up by ‘Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God’ (13.7a) and ‘Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith’ (13.7b)
The principles are taken from across chapter 13 of Hebrews and are held up as a mirror for leaders to evaluate their Christian faithfulness. There is much to challenge and encourage all here. However Benn finishes off by addressing those who don’t see themselves as leaders, by looking at all Christians’ responsibility to their leaders - which obviously applies to clergy too as they think about their relationship with senior leadership within their denominations! I trust that this small booklet will help us reflect on the importance of good biblical leadership, whether we are trying to exemplify it or encourage it in our local churches or beyond.