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Mims: Pastors need to turn to Bible for leadership


WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Leadership is a hot topic in many churches today, according to Gene Mims, but the Bible is not usually the source of discussion.

“The Bible speaks a lot about leadership, but we don’t hear a lot about it,” said Mims, president of the Church Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Mims was the first keynote speaker for the three-day Spring Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, an event that is co-sponsored by Southeastern and LifeWay.

In his message, Mims focused on the Biblical example of leadership given by Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18. In the passage, Jethro warns Moses that in order to provide good leadership to the nation of Israel, he must learn to delegate responsibility.

Church leaders today hear a lot about leadership, Mims said, but much of it comes in the form of “discordant voices” from business, industry, and psychology.

Pastors need to return to the Bible, the ultimate source of good leadership skills.

“We don’t get our models of leadership from Jack Welch or Bill Gates or people like that,” Mims said.

Mims said Godly leaders should be catalysts for change. Moses led the Israelites from being a band of former slaves to a single nation with a goal and a purpose.

“A leader is always involved in change, and a leader is always involved in transitioning people from what they are to God’s best,” he said.

Godly leaders, Mims said, are also go-betweens — they stand before God on behalf of their people and before their people on behalf of God. Moses, he said, was willing to beg God’s mercy for the Israelites but was ready to preach God’s law to them as well.

Godly leaders also know how to choose the right people to accomplish the right tasks, he said. Mims said Jethro was right in advising Moses to seek out godly men to help him with the burden of leadership.

Leaders who try to do everything by themselves are bound to burn out and quit, Mims said.

Leaders also begin and end their days with prayer, Mims said, or they will not be effective.

“A leader’s life begins with an intercessory posture,” he said. “You’ll never lead anybody you don’t pray for.”

Finally, a godly leader catches God’s vision, Mims said. Though he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, Mims said, Moses was responsible for preparing the people to enter the land.

Godly leaders, likewise, should recognize what Jesus has called his church to do. The church does not need new vision statements, Mims said. It has one, called the Great Commission.

Churches need men and women who will lead out in executing the vision, then equipping others to do the same.

“Choose the right people, give them the right task, and then let them do the task,” Mims said.

The conference featured LifeWay staffers who came to the seminary’s Wake Forest campus and led seminars on issues related to church administration and education. A wide variety of topics were covered, from church growth and Bible translation to health services and personnel administration.

James T. Draper, president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, was the keynote speaker for the second and third days of the conference.
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  • Jason Hall