When leaders fail
The more management experts write and teach on good leadership, the more we see bad leadership in many areas of society, it seems.
Many of the best academics and practitioners teach the importance of integrity - being the same character in all circumstances - and leading by example. We reproduce what we are. It is a natural law in creation and it is true in leadership of churches, businesses, organisations, and nations.
What we say matters because it often reflects who we are. But whatever level in society or business, we influence those around us more by who we are than what we say.
Sadly there are many examples of people saying one thing, even requiring others to do what they say, when they themselves live in a completely different way.
It is tragic when leaders fail - or more often what we mean is when the long term failure is exposed. Poor character leads to poor choices and they lead to poor behaviour. Then their failure starts to become public! It is usually to do with money, sex and abuse of power (or a combination).
We Christians cannot just blame others for ungodly behaviour - it happens in churches too and has been since New Testament times. I could mention a lot of examples in recent history.
We may not experience (yet) the power and presence of God in such a powerful way that people lacking integrity fall down dead, like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. But throughout church history there have been men and women failing to live up even to their own words, let alone the expectations of leaders in scripture (in 1 Timothy 3 for example).
So what do we do about it?
What we don’t do is gossip and complain, however tempting it is! That is why I do not want to give any named examples. Gossip is a cancer that makes things worse not better. And we are part of a new creation - we have a new life-source - so we do not need to respond the complaining way our non-Christian neighbours do.
The best thing to do is to pray.
Pray for the victims, for healing and restoration.
Pray for the church that the damage to our testimony to who God is will be limited.
Pray for the fallen leader, for perspective and tenderness towards God so that repentance may be real and not just regrets at being found out.
Pray for ourselves, that we will keep our hearts open and tender to God and to those He has placed around us to speak into our lives. Pray for grace to be real. Pray for humility to accept correction and challenge.
As Paul wrote in 1 Cor 10:12, “If you think you are standing firm be careful you don’t fall!”