Proverbs 29:18 says, â€œWhere there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the lawâ€ (NIV). The general meaning of this verse is that without someone explaining Godâ€™s Word, holding it with great regard, and directing the people to look to it for answers, then the people will perish. They perish because they turn away from God and His law and begin to do what they feel is right in their own eyes. The Hebrew verb yipaara` means ‘are dissipated;’ also ‘revolt,’ ‘become unbridled,’ and so perish. This unbridled, and consequently ruinous state, is opposed in the parallel clause, “happy;” as “the law” stands in contrast to “no vision.” The following principle can be drawn from this passage of Scripture: If a ministry within the church does not have a leader, then the ministry will plateau and decline. Weekly objectives will not be met, and the overall quality will diminish. As people involved in the ministry begin to do things as they think best due to a lack of direction; there will be disunity, confusion, and decline.
Therefore, before a strategy can be developed for any ministry, there must be someone to champion the ministry within the church. This leader must cast a vision of a desirable future and see that the Sunday-to-Sunday objectives are accomplished, along with hundreds of others items that need to be addressed on a weekly basis. Clark says:
Effective leadership is essential for progress. Someone must be responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and making decisions. Some groups operate in a leaderless structure with group members sharing responsibility equally. However, unless individuals are skillfully trained and experienced, they need leaders to motivate them towards goals to be accomplished. The leader acts as a guide to show the way and to coordinate activities.
A lack of this characteristic of seeking to improve by casting vision and goal setting is analogous to the carpenter who uses a piece of wood as a way to measure another piece of wood to cut. When the carpenter has cut the wood, he then casts the original measured wood aside and substitutes it with the new cut piece of wood. This process continues for some time, until he realizes that when he measures the pieces each is a different size. If he had used one piece as a standard, instead of using each new piece with a slightly different cut size, he would have been able to accomplish his task. But the carpenter has to go back and start over. In ministry if everyone is ministering the way they feel is best, or referencing the analogy above, â€œa different size,â€ then nothing really fits together; but if they are all the same size, it is much easier to build the ministry and Christâ€™s kingdom. A leader needs to make sure that standards are kept and bars are raised in order to improve the ministry. Otherwise people tend to do what they think is best; there is a lack of uniformity and purpose; and decline becomes inevitable.
For the purposes of our discussion, Blackabyâ€™s definition of leadership will be used. This definition of leadership is, â€œspiritual leadership is moving people on to Godâ€™s agenda.â€ He explains that spiritual leadership has not occurred if a person has not left their personal desires and plans and if they have not been influenced to move towards Godâ€™s plan. A leader in any ministry seeks Godâ€™s plan for the ministry and then leads the rest toward this God-ordained purpose and plan. In Luke 9:33 Jesus brought Peter with Him to a mountain in which God chose to transfigure Jesus so that He had a glorious appearance. Peter, not understanding what was going on, says, â€œMaster, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three sheltersâ€”one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijahâ€ (He did not know what he was saying) (NIV).
In any ministry people will want to do things that are counterproductive to Godâ€™s agenda, and do things that just do not make sense. It is the leaderâ€™s role to have clear instructions from the Lord and to explain these instructions to others. Otherwise, everyone is trying to build shelters and miss their mandate to transform the lives of others. A leader keeps his team on task and does not allow them to become involved in activities that distract them from their task of directing others towards God.