LEADERSHIP IN HIS FOOTSTEPS
LEADERSHIP IN HIS FOOTSTEPS
BEING A KEYNOTE ADDRESS
PRESENTED AT SYNERGY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
JOYOUS INITIATIVES: LET THE NATIONS BE GLAD
EDE. OSHUN STATE. NIGERIA
REV PROF ‘PONNLE GIDEON ADETUNJI (PhD)
DEPARTMENT OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
NIGERIAN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
OGBOMOSO. OYO STATE. NIGERIA.
NOVEMBER 12, 2016.
Greetings and Introduction:
All protocols observed.
Greetings to you all in the most precious name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus. the Christ from whom all blessings flow. Glory be to God the Creator, the Sustainer and the Controller of the universe. We bless God’s holy name for His redemptive plan in His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ who has called us from darkness unto His marvelous light. We thank God for ordaining today for this programme on leadership which aim is to resolve leadership generational gap in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our contemporary world.
Glory be to God for “Joyous Initiatives: Let the Nations be Glad.” This is a Christian organization, a non-governmental organization (NGO) seeking to resolve leadership generational gap in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this post-modern time. I thank God through His Son Jesus Christ for the lives of Rev Engr Oladeji Oriyomi and my own doctor of philosophy graduate from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Rev Dr Adenike Oladeji who went through the drilling and grilling of the Doctor Philosophy degree under me and other faculty members. I was glad to be the Chairman of Dr Mrs Oladeji’s Committee of Supervision for her research. Today, Dr. Mrs. Adenike Oladeji, it is hearty congratulations to you! And more powers to your elbows! The theme of this conference is, “Leadership in His Footsteps.” The Keynote Address focuses on “Leadership in His Footsteps.” Whose steps? It is in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, our common Master and Lord as we to lead His people aright.
Tan’s study expressed well the phenomenon of leadership as one of the most observed and least understood phenomenon on earth. For many years, leadership has been an important topic to the fields of administration, organizational behaviour, industrial and organizational psychology and has now come to stay in the church. Leadership has long been a subject for study and, as a result, many thoughts and ideas exist about the subject.
It is observed that many of our denominational leaders, Christian organizations and institutions’ leaders, pastors and ministers of the gospel do not know how to lead their people especially the oncoming generations in participative leadership teamwork. The identification of a problem is the beginning of a viable research. I think that was the problem of the research of Dr. Adenike Oladeji for her PhD dissertation titled, “Influence of the Nigerian Baptist Convention Youth Programmes on their Leadership Involvement in Church Functions in Oshun Baptist Conference.” The study is an answer to the concerns of this conference.
It is clearly observed that many pastors and Christian organizational leaders do not know how to administer the people of God, or conduct meetings with Roberts Rules of Order of Parliamentary Procedures very well; whereas their job descriptions involve all these. Many Christian leaders do not even want to mentor, guide or equip younger generations who would become future leaders of this country, our churches, institutions, organizations and firms.
Some definitions of leadership: Someone said that it was at the middle of the last century (20th century) that people started to comprehend the qualities and traits of leaders. It could be broadly said that a leader is one who guides a group of people or gives advice to them toward a certain goal or project so that the goal or project would be accomplished.
Ordway Tead’s definition of leadership is classic. He defines leadership as the activity of influencing people to cooperate toward some goal which they come to find desirable. A leader is one who is chiefly responsible for the strategy, programme and the unfolding plans that lead to achievement for a group of people. A leader is defined by a group of Baptist ministers in the United Kingdom as one responsible for formulating policies, administering programmes, and discharging individual responsibilities demanding initiatives and skills.
Ted Engstrom defines leadership as, “the development and articulation of shared vision, motivation of those key people without whom that vision cannot become a reality, and gaining the cooperation of most people involved.” Vision is very important to leadership in general, Christian leadership in particular if one will truly lead in His footsteps. Leadership is a shared vision or a series of shared functions, any of which may well be performed by any member of the group who shares and catches the vision.
Leadership at its best is never revealed by the front man who by his words and actions seems to say, “Here I am, come follow me!” But rather he says, ”Here we are in this group or church or institution or organization or management, what is it to be done that we want to do together? How best can we do it together to achieve our mission and vision?”
Christian leadership: Leadership in a local church, organization or institution is the noble art of cooperatively planning and unitedly achieving the goals God Has for humankind in the life, teachings, suffering, death, resurrection, and the Coming back of Jesus Christ as followers of Christ try to obey the Great Commission. In the life of the church, leadership is far more than methods, machinery and techniques or holding an office.
In essence, the Christian leader is a Christ-like personality whose wisdom, and labour cooperate with others in finding and doing the will of God. The kind of leadership required by any church or Christian organization will depend largely on the size, membership, the nature of its community, the extent of its programme and the range of its opportunities.
Leadership present trends globally and locally: Today, we have leadership confusion in the whole world. Today’s world is harassed and molested by wars, terrorisms, natural disasters in form of earthquakes, floods, kidnappings, ritual killings, sales of human parts especially women. We face everyday ineptitude in leadership, incompetence and mediocrity in leadership brought about by dirty politics in all walks of life including the church. We live in a world with leaders who are unfit to, who are unsuitable to lead the people aright. Ours is a world of leadership cancer.
Just the other week, October 15, 2016, precisely, the United States of America and its allied forces went to war against the ISIS of Iraq. Only God knows when the war will end. The war in Syria, which started about five years ago is still on. Assad of Syria, in collaboration with Russia, has refused to end the war, preferring the killing of his own people is the best for him. What a bad, wicked leader! The United Nations has not been able to do anything to stop the wars going on around the world. Why the United Nations if they cannot help us have peace?
When we come back again to Nigeria, the Boko Haram terrorist group has been harassing and molesting the country that we have been dissipating energies to the direction of war against terrorism. Over two hundred and fifty Chibok High School girls were captured and taken captives in April, 2014; only a couple of weeks gone, Monday, October 17, 2016 were we told that twenty one Chibok girls have been released to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorist group and sixty one of them are married to the terrorist men. Where are the remaining girls? Leadership!
We hear every day on television stations, radios, social media of ritual killings of human beings being slaughtered and cooked for ritual meals because of position, power, and money. We are warned everyday not to go to certain areas of Lagos state, Ogun state, Kwara state because of kidnappers and ritual money makers. Zoka place in Ibadan where for over ten years people were captured, taken and slaughtered was visited by the Oyo State governor, Ajimobi, but nothing came out of it. I have read a lot in world political history but I have not read in the history of the world and empires of people being killed like goats or chickens or like rats and leadership could not do anything about it to stop it. The period of the Roman empire was marked and known as pax romana, meaning the “the peace of Rome” when Rome ruled the world; there was peace; roads, lives and property were safe and secured by the then leadership of Rome.
Economically in Nigeria, only twenty seven states out of thirty six states are paying salaries right now as we are in this conference. Why? I am not a trained economist, but my knowledge of economics is that when salaries are paid, the economy rolls on. Payment of salaries is the wheel of any nation’s economy which will make a nation grow as money circulates around and people are happy. Life is very hard and unbearable for millions of Nigerians who are groaning and dying for non-payment of salaries and pensions by the leaders of the people. The economic pains being undergone by the citizens of this country from the leaders of the people who voted them into power by the people is inexplicable.
Let these leaders in this country and around the world be warned by the Word of God. Malachi 3: 5 – “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers . . . against those who oppress the hired workers in his wages (salaries), the widow and the fatherless and against those who oppress and thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me says the Lord of Hosts.”
The President of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari, recently wanted the National Assembly to approve about thirty billion dollars (precisely $29.96 billion USD) foreign loans to carry out certain projects in the country. This is terrible! Nigeria is a country where a few aristocratic individuals who have stolen the nation’s wealth have more than what Nigeria wants to go and borrow. What types of leaders are we having in this country? Two or three people have that money in Nigeria that we want to go and borrow. The country where we want to go and borrow should not lend us the money.
The United States of America on social media released the names of people in Nigeria, the amount of money stolen and the banks where the monies are kept in the United States. It is titled, “US Unveils 16 Richest Politicians from Nigeria and Names of US Banks They Starch Away Public Funds.” What a shame to the leadership of this country! Nigeria is a country where over one hundred and seventy million people are wallowing in poverty and the leaders live in affluence with silver spoons in the mouths of their wives, children. goats and dogs.
The tragedy of it all is that the corruption and economic recession, the stolen money are all in the church too! Church leadership is involved in the game of corruption and bad leadership in leading and administering God’s people. The tithes and offerings of God are being stolen by many church leaders (Mal. 3:6-9). Indeed, the church of the twenty first century needs genuine transformation if it will glorify God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Leadership in His footsteps presupposes Christian leadership after the mind of Jesus Christ, in His ways, in His mind and for Him. Biblically, the Christian leader is a great servant. The Master of men expressed the ideal this way: “And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Jesus’ concept of leadership is “servant-ship.” Jesus went further in Mark 10: 35-45 about leadership among His followers. In the minds of many, greatness or leadership is always a problem. According to Markan narrative, James and John went to Jesus to make them leaders, great people in Christ’s kingdom. In Matthean pericope, it was their mother who went to Jesus. This aroused resentment among the other ten.
Jesus called them to order to give them the greatest understanding of leadership. He made it clear to them the different standards of leadership between the Kingdom and those of the world. In the kingdoms of the worlds, the standard of greatness was power. How many people does a man control? How great an army of servants has he at his beck and call? On how many people can he impose his will? How many people can he compel to be obedient to his word of command and to do things for him? Once upon a time, Galba when he became Emperor summed up the heathens idea of leadership and greatness when he said that now he was Emperor he could do what he liked and do it to anyone.
In the kingdom of Jesus, the standard was and is service. Leadership consisted, not in reducing other men to one’s service, but in reducing oneself to their service. The test was not, What service can I extract? But, What service can I give? We tend to think of this as an ideal state of affairs, but, in point of fact, it is the soundest common sense. It is in fact the first principle of ordinary everyday business life.
The basic trouble in the human situation is that men wish to do as little as possible and to get as much as possible. It is only when are filled with the desire to put into life more than they take out, that is to serve others that life for themselves and for others can be happy and prosperous. The world needs people whose ideal is service — that is to say the world needs people who have realized what sound sense Jesus spoke.
To clinch His word Jesus pointed out to His own example. With such powers as He had He could have arranged and dictated life entirely to suit Himself, but He had spent Himself and given all His powers to the service of others. He had come to give His life to serve and save others. He gave His life a ransom for many.
Leadership in His footsteps is to follow the leadership principles and practice of Jesus Christ. He lived by the best example in His life. Jesus is the true and final embodiment of the reality of God. By His example, He trained, mentored, equipped, and sent out His disciples who were young people. How many Christian leaders today train and mentor those who are coming after them who would take the mantle of leadership tomorrow? One of the contemporary issues in leadership is succession of the leaders after he or she might have finished his or her tenures in a firm or company, or institution or Christian denominational leadership. If the leader leaving office cannot produce a successor from among those inside, it is believed that such a leader is a failure. He or she has not succeeded in office. This is in line with the focus and direction of this conference.
It is my hope that in this conference you will address such issues as: Leadership and Christo-centric Principles against corruption in the church and society; Christianity and Leadership Challenges of our Time; Christian leadership and the Current Economic Challenges; Leadership and Mentoring; A Focus on Young People; Power and Authority in a Local Church; Leadership, Conflict Resolution and Administrative Problems in Christian Organizations and other issues that will reduce or completely remove leadership generational gap in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our contemporary world. I wish you happy deliberations!