THE NEED FOR FATHERING LEADERS

There are many leadership roles to study in Scripture e.g. kings, priests, shepherds and the Ascension Gifts of Ephesians 4.

Let’s look at one that is absolutely essential to our understanding of both God as Ultimate Leader and our own leadership role and function:

 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.  1 CORINTHIANS 4:15,16 NKJV

Paul is saying here that there are many instructors but fathers are much rarer and on a wholly different level. He says “Imitate me.” That is because fathers model behaviour and this is what leadership is truly all about.

I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one. 
1 JOHN 2:12-14 NKJV

There are three stages of growth mentioned here – childhood, adolescence and maturity  – represented by children, young men and fathers.

Clearly, fathers represent leaders. Maturity is essential for leadership. Novices should not be appointed to leadership roles as they can get puffed up with pride and fall into condemnation of the devil (see 1 Timothy 3:6).

In the passage in 1 John 2 here we see children walking in the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins and young men (youths) growing in their consciousness of authority over the wicked one. But fathers know Him who is from the beginning.

Maturity is not sonship; maturity is fatherhood. True fathers raise fathers, not sons. We must mature beyond knowing our sins are forgiven and our ability to wage spiritual warfare and overcome the wicked one.

Some people want to stay in the warrior life, fighting demons and binding strongmen. But there is more to life than conflict. There is modelling peace in the home which, if implemented properly, can radiate into the community. Leadership is not about constant warfare; it is about building communities in peace.

God’s Kingdom is one of peace, not strife. A father will bring peace to the home and to those around him.

Fathers know Him who is from the beginning. This means that fathers see the big picture and know the purpose of God in time. Sons that are engaged in fighting the wicked one see only the battle, not the purpose of the battle. That purpose is peace.

There remains a rest for the people of God. That place of rest is full maturity i.e. fatherhood. In times of war the nation looks for young men of strength to go out and fight the battles. The fathers stay at home. It’s not that they haven’t the vigour to fight but a father’s job is to be in the home. He is the source of wisdom, strength and comfort. He is the man of peace.

We have enough warrior energy. We need more father energy. That is why Paul said “You have not many fathers.” Father energy is rare.

There are thousands of instructors and military captains teaching us how to wage war and be strong Christians. Much of that is activity – more praying and studying. But time spent sitting with a father is much more precious than time spent listening to instructors.

A father’s maturity can be transferred to you if you will honour that father and purpose to absorb his energy. It’s not about receiving information; it’s about receiving impartation.

True fathers raise fathers, not just obedient sons. You can train a man to be obedient – like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal – but all you have is a resentful son. A good father is not looking to raise slave sons but mature, capable fathers.

Men must leave their fathers and mothers and cleave to a woman. This means a man must be the source in his home, not the dependent. All men must be fathers. Even if a man is single, he is called to be a mature father.

A mature father only has to sit in his house. Thieves and destroyers will not seek to enter a home where a seasoned warrior dwells. Seasoned warriors are those who have moved beyond the phase where they have to prove their prowess in battle. They can live in peace because enemies will step warily round them.

Maturity takes time in the natural. But in the spirit, there is no time. Spiritual maturity comes through revelation. By that I mean that maturity is developed in us in this temporal realm by revelation. It is revealed to us who we are!

Yes, there is a growing into. Yes, time is part of the process. However, you can mature very quickly (from a time perspective) by purposefully and actively spending time with God. And by spending time with mature fathers.

Leadership must be fathering. Armies need Captains and Majors leading the soldiers in the field. But they also need Generals and Field Marshall back at Headquarters. Their role is to be fathers.

Men must be led by fathers. That is why Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. Fatherhood must permeate everything. The Father must be all in all. The enemy’s attack on manhood is because of this. Satan hates man because man is made in the image of the Father.

Children of God must come through sonship to fatherhood. Many choose to stay in sonship. Sonship is the place of being zealous for the things we have learned. Yet sonship is a phase. While we are always children in that we came from a father and mother, we must leave childish things behind. If we don’t, we get stuck in a place where our zeal for truth mutates into trying to impress others with how good sons we are. We become like the elder brother, seeing ourselves as competing with other sons to be the Father’s go-to son.

Fathers transcend; that is their role. A father sees all and loves all. A father knows all that is going on in his house. Fathers are the heart of the home. That is why everything goes toward and through the father. The home must revolve around the father.

To be an authentic leader, be a father. Be mature. And raise up sons to be fathers.

In Isaiah chapter 22, the mercenary leadership of Shebna is contrasted with that of His God-ordained replacement, Eliakim.

The Lord’s commendation of Eliakim is summed up in verse 21: He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”

God’s depiction of the ideal leader is that the leader will be a father to the people. This is the way that He chose to be revealed through Jesus – as Our Father. Authentic leadership will always be fathering.

 

NOTE: FATHERHOOD HERE, WHILE USING MASCULINE EXAMPLES, IS NOT A NEGATION OF WOMEN AS LEADERS AND IS USED PRIMARILY AS A METAPHOR FOR MATURITY.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close