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Spiritual Leadership In Dangerous Times
Stats: 3,239 words / Reading Time: 16.20 mins

Published: Monday 23rd March 2020

Spiritual Leadership In Dangerous Times is read 693 times on CentreNDL.org 693

Spiritual Leadership In Dangerous Times

What Should Be The Right Response?

I have taken my time to observe keenly how leaders of faith across Nigeria responded to government directives as to the need to reduce the size of their meetings to a limited number of not more than 50 persons or less in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. While many Pastors did all they could and obeyed this direct instructions, it was reported that others did not comply, especially those that we know and refer to as "fathers of faith" in the country. I also saw a video how a renowned Muslim cleric defiled the order of the government and held his regular meeting, telling his followers that nothing will happen and he will continue to hold the said meeting. His claim is that Coronavirus is a Western conspiracy.

 

Those who obeyed the directive, especially in the Christian faith; held their services (as many as they hold regularly on a typical Sunday) online and asked their members to watch from home. I was even surprised to watch Pastor Adeboye preach without people in the auditorium. He had earlier instructed his church members that they should all watch the service online because the government has asked that public gatherings should not be more than 50 people. Interestingly, apart from Nigeria, I also observed that many churches across the globe, especially churches with Pastors that people revere, held their services online as well. For example, I saw Jentenzen Franklin did an online service, same with Bishop TD Jakes and other anointed and respected men of God in the world.

 

What I really find so amazing is how a Pastor (a spiritual leader) will go against a direct government order even when the Bible says we should obey constituted authorities. Romans 13:1-3 tells us: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same."

 

Sometimes I wonder really, if some of our so called Bishops, Apostles, Reverend Fathers and Mothers that we all obey, skip this portion of the passage. Or, can it rather be said that this passage only applies to the flock and not to them? I am sure this part of the Bible isn't to church goers alone, but to church founders and Bishops as well. The Bible says that all authority (which I believe include those from the government) are appointed by God. That means when a man of God goes against the government or any directive from the government, he or she have just resisted God by his or her actions, and this I believe was exactly what happened when these men of God went against a direct instruction of the government not to hold services of more than 50 people or less in attendance.

 

Be that as it may, I want to focus on the main crux of this article which is: Spiritual Leadership In Dangerous Times: What Should Be The Right Response? The world is passing through a dangerous moment and I believe that if leadership at the world's stage fails the people, those in spiritual leadership should never fail, and I want to show every spiritual leaders out there, what their response should be in dangerous times like this. Spiritual leaders are not meant to flout orders and further escalate the problem. But if they don't know how they ought to respond and what they are meant to be doing, I am afraid what we witness on Sunday may continue, despite government orders and restrictions.

 

A spiritual leader is that man or that woman who has been given a special responsibility by God to cater for the need of the people, first, to their spiritual needs, and then their physical needs as the case may be. God said in Jeremiah 3:15 (AMPC): "And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment." A spiritual leader is meant to attend to the spiritual need of the people first and then to other needs. Also, 1 Peter 5:2 (AMPC) tells us what a spiritual leader does. It says: "Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;"

 

So, from those passages above, we can see clearly that part of the responsibilities of a spiritual leader is in guiding, feeding, nurturing a people that God has committed into the hands of such a spiritual leader. And this is why it is very imperative that those we see and deem as our spiritual leaders, spiritual fathers and mothers understand what their responsibilities are and so that they can be able to adequately do what they are meant to do well. There cannot be danger ahead and then you as a spiritual leader lead your people directly into the danger. When the constituted authorities says people should avoid crowded places for now, you don't say because you are more spiritual than God, ask the people to gather and disobey orders. It does not speak well of you as a spiritual leader.

 

I saw some videos online how certain police officers disrupted church services in some states in Nigeria. I mean, things should never have gotten to this level if those pastors involved had obeyed simple instruction. How would you be that condescending and allow the state apparatus disrupt a spiritual meeting? I believe God was not even present in those meetings in the first place because you have disobeyed a direct government order. God does not thrive in such an environment. His word says in 1 Corinthians 14:40 (AMPC): "But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion." You cannot convince me to believe that God was present in a meeting where uniform policemen came and disrupt. I tell you, God never showed up in the first place.

 

Spiritual leaders must never be seen to be behind disorderliness. Even though the Bible says we are not under the law, I believe you know it was not talking about the law of the state. If it was talking about the law of the state, then I believe your ministry should not have gone for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in the first place. As a spiritual leader, you are not bigger than the law of the land and so, you cannot be seen to be flouting it. When you do that, you are simply setting a bad precedence. In times like this, you are meant to guide your people in the right direction and not be seen as the one going against every government instructions in order to stem the spread of Covid-19.

 

 

Spiritual Leadership In Dangerous Times: The Right Response (Biblical Case Studies)

 

DANIEL

For Daniel, it was at the time when his nation was in captivity in the land of Babylon. The Bible recorded that Daniel understood by the books how long they were supposed to remain in captivity until the bondage is over. Daniel gave himself to much reading, and when he finally understood, the Bible recorded what he started to do in order to secure the release of his people. In Daniel 9:1-5, the Bible says

 

"In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments."

Daniel 9:1-5

 

I believe the least any spiritual leader across the world can do at such a time as this is to pray really, just like Daniel did. You may not have any political power to be able to do much, leave that to those in government to handle. But you have spiritual power which has given to you by God and you can use that power to make certain things happen in the realm of the spirit and the tide of Covid-19 will reduce till it is fully contained. Even though Daniel was in captivity, he knew he may not have been able to do so much to command the release of his people from bondage, though he had influence with the government at the time because he works in the Babylonian government, but he decided to take the matter spiritually instead.

 

He prayed to God and God began to orchestrate events in his favor and in the favor of his people. As a spiritual leader, the right response right now I believe is for you to go on your knees and intercede on behalf of the land. James 5:16 (AMPC) says: "The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]." Your duty right now as a spiritual leader is not to go against government order, but you can change the course of things and stem the tide of Covid-19 in the place of prayer. You can announce a dedicated time of the day where you and your members would pray, even though they are in their respective locations. You can also meet them online, thank God for technology really.

 

The right response I believe is to pray and God will hear us from heaven when we do so.

 

MOSES

"And the people spoke against God and against Moses, Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water, and we loathe this light (contemptible, unsubstantial) manna. 6 Then the Lord sent fiery (burning) serpents among the people; and they bit the people, and many Israelites died. 7 And the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that He may take away the serpents from us. So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent [of bronze] and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on a pole, and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of bronze [[a]attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze], he lived."

Numbers 5:9 (AMPC)

 

One of the things I believe every spiritual leader must do at such a time as this is to point the people to God. If you read that story from verse 5, the Bible recorded that the people spoke against God and Moses and that is why He sent fiery serpents among them to bite them. Now, I know many people believe that it is God that is punishing the world with this Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. If we even erroneously believe that this is true, however as a spiritual leader, it is your responsibility to point your people, the people of the world to the direction of God, the same way Moses pointed his people to the bronze serpent on the pole. That is what spiritual leadership should be all about.

 

There has been a problem, just as we saw above. There was not time for Moses to start blaming God for sending the snakes into the camp in the first place. The first thing he wanted to do was to stop the people from dying and probably ask God later, why He did what He did. As a spiritual leader, you should not glory in the fact that God is killing people through Coronavirus (if you believe it is God who sends it). What you should glory in is how many people you are able to point to the direction of God through this incident. Many people are afraid right now, and they are looking for assurances that they would be fine.

 

As a spiritual leader, don't further escalate panic and create fear in the hearts of your followers. Don't create unnecessary tension in their lives. This time too shall pass, and your duty is to guide the people through this phase. Don't lead your people to rebel against the government, and don't also disobey the government. Even though the people following you perceive you as being "larger than life", don't allow that attitude to derail the people and make them rebel against the government.

 

I believe governments across the globe are doing all that they can to stem the tide of this pandemic. Your duty as a spiritual leader is to offer assistance to them where necessary, which include obeying their directives, disseminating the directives to your large congregations and most importantly, praying for those in authority. 1 Timothy 2:1-5 (AMPC) tells us this:

 

"First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, 2 For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. 3 For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior,

 

Thank you!


Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Obayomi Abiola Benjamin!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony with me in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!


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Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.



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