I BELIEVE IN LEADERS!

by Andrew Strom


SOMEONE WROTE TO ME RECENTLY:-

"The NEW WAVE I believe the Lord wants to bring to our leadership 
in the end-time church takes center stage to give voice to what 
the Lord wants to say, but withdraws to let the Lord take over when 
He is finished.  Letting the rest of the people glory in the light 
Christ generates.

"A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

"The way I could best describe it is in a personal experience I 
once had when my brother asked me to lead a meeting for the 17-22 
age group while he was away, (this happened about ten years ago.)

"I shared, encouraged, exhorted, and got the young people praying 
and ministering to each other, oversaw it, helping along, and 
eventually the Spirit was moving so wonderfully amongst them, and 
they were ministering so well they didn't need my help.

"I quietly slipped away from the meeting, and they didn't even 
notice I was gone.  I increased only for a moment, and then began 
my decreasing until there was only God and them left.   This was 
not an absolving myself of leadership responsibility, but having 
the goal in mind to bring them to Christ, and not myself, when that 
was accomplished, they were able to continue with Christ...

"Jesus only spent aprox.3 1/2 yrs. with His apostles.  Only three 
and a half years to equip the men who were going to lay the 
foundations that Christ gave them for which the church could 
continue to build on for thousands of years!

"THE LEADERSHIP GOAL AND PURSUIT:

The greatest accomplishment of a leader is to work themselves out 
of a job. That very attitude has to be there all the time and 
working into every situation.

"So yes, there of neccessity needs to be a type of stage, or should 
we say, a rock to stand out on; but only temporarily, until the 
rock is all we see and each of us are fully acquainted with the 
feel it, and the certainty of it under each of our feet."
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ANDREW STROM REPLIES:  While I would certainly agree with much of the 
above, I would also like to address this whole "He must increase and 
I must decrease" area. There is some very important truth in this 
saying, but I want to give an example from the other side of the coin.

In 1904, one of the greatest and most powerful outpourings of the 
Holy Spirit in history occurred in the tiny nation of Wales. The 
Welsh Revival that resulted is famous to this day. But not a lot of 
people realize that this Revival lasted JUST ONE YEAR, and that it 
was basically destroyed because the leader took to heart this whole
"He must increase and I must decrease" philosophy. You see, there
are times when this applies and times when it does not. It sounds
so good and humble, but if it can destroy a Revival then we had 
better take a second look.

Evan Roberts was the God-appointed and anointed leader of the Welsh 
Revival. There is no dispute about this. He was also under immense
personal pressure because of his leadership position. Wales was aflame 
for God, hundreds of thousands were repenting deeply and being saved, 
the courts were empty, the criminals were being converted, and the 
glory of God reigned supreme. Evan Roberts' sermons were being 
reported by secular newspapers around the world.

It was at this juncture that one or two of Evan's friends came to 
him and told him that they believed he was "stealing glory from God"
because he was such a public figure and so well-known. Being a
humble man by nature, 27-year-old Evan was horror-struck by this,
and he literally hid himself away (in the house of Jessie Penn-Lewis), 
saying that he would give himself to prayer but that his public 
ministry was over. His attitude was: 'God must increase, and I must 
decrease.'  What a disaster!

Within a very short space of time, the whole Revival was beginning
to fall apart, as the devil gleefully attacked it both from within
and without, with counterfeits, disputes, deception, excesses, etc.
And there was no longer anyone with the anointing or the authority
to combat all these destructive forces and keep the whole thing on
the rails. The man God had chosen for the job had decided that he
must "decrease", and so had hidden himself away, just when he
was most needed. How happy the devil must have been!
And so the famous Welsh Revival, which could have lasted for years
and could have spread to many nations, ended somewhat ignominiously 
after just one year. Excesses flooded in and thousands of young 
converts were lost. (Though tens of thousands still remained. It was
not a complete fiasco by any means).

Please note that the same thing would have happened if Moses had
suddenly decided to hide himself away and not lead the children of
Israel. Or if Joshua had done the same. Or David. Or Gideon. Or
the apostles Peter, James and John in the Jerusalem church. Or Paul 
with the Gentiles. Or John Wesley with the Methodists, etc, etc.
What on earth would have happened if these men had suddenly
decided that they must "decrease" in the middle of a move of God,
when their leadership was so crucial? After all, God Himself raised
them up to LEAD, right? Is it "humble" to hide yourself away
when God has called you to lead? I think not. I think it is a 
disaster. If God calls you to lead, THEN LEAD. Don't be ashamed
about it. Just go ahead and do what God has called you to do:-
LEAD the people of God out of slavery and into war or into freedom.
And don't hide yourself away unless GOD HIMSELF VERY LOUDLY
TELLS YOU TO.  

Some people are called to pray. Others are called to lead. And woe 
betide us if we abandon our post. 

This is why I feel that the "He must increase and I must decrease"
thing can be very dangerous if it is mis-applied. It sounds so
'humble', so "servant-like" to disappear or hide oneself away - to
be self-effacing and to run from the limelight. But when God needs 
leaders - REAL LEADERS - to stand up and tell it like it is, and 
to take responsibility, and to speak the hard  words, and to 
really LEAD, then it is not "humble" to hide oneself away. It is 
disobedient and it is wrong. Actually, true 'servanthood' can 
involve taking all the heat and the battering that comes with
leading from the front. This is no easy job. But someone has to 
do it. GOD NEEDS REAL LEADERS TODAY. Hiding can be the easy 
option. Leading can be very tough.

There is a whole "anti-leader" thing in the individualistic, 
hyper-democratic West today. It is not of God. It is anti-authority
but it sounds so "spiritual". But God is into authority. And God is 
into leadership. I believe He spoke to me once and said: "NO LEADERS, 
NO REVIVAL". I really believe that. As one social analyst has said, we 
live today in the age of the "anti-leader". And this same spirit has
infected many Christians. They don't want anyone 'up the front'.
They don't want anyone in authority. They don't want anyone to
lead. "Everyone for themselves" might as well be their motto. And
yet they say they believe in Revival!

I tell you, the coming apostles will be men of authority. They will 
be men who take responsibility. They will be used to keep the
Revival on the rails - to reprove, rebuke and exhort where necessary.
And they will not hide themselves away UNLESS GOD HIMSELF CLEARLY 
SAYS SO. And yes, some of them will be well-known.  Some will 
often be heard reported on TV or radio, just as the NT apostles 
would be if they were alive now. WHO CARES? I myself will rejoice. 
I tell you, this anti-authority thing is the root of half the 
West's problems today. And a lot of Christians tend this way 
too (though theirs is a "spiritual" version).

To sum up, instead of "decreasing", I'm going to be encouraging
those who are called as leaders and apostles to REALLY LEAD. Yes, 
they need to be truly humble, avoiding self-glory, but they also 
need to be real leaders. And not be ashamed of it.

-Andrew Strom.
-BACK TO 'NZ REVIVAL BULLETIN'
Copyright (c) Andrew Strom, 1998. Feel free to download or photocopy.