This article explores the impact ‘Respect’ has on spiritual leadership, this includes an explaining respect of leadership and where it comes from. Respect is related to an individual’s character, which would include things like Ethics, Trust, Morality (ethics), and gifts of the Spirit.
If you are responsible for guiding others, how important is it that they have respect of your leadership? Barring those enlisted in the military, following leadership direction is somewhat voluntary. Even in the work place, individuals have the option of choice in that they can work somewhere else. In all cases, respect of leadership increases the likelihood that orders (military), assignments (workplace), and personal life choice guidance (church) are more likely to be completed as requested.
The dictionary definition for the word respect includes:
- the act of respecting or noticing with attention
- the act of holding in high estimation, deference, or honor
- a state of being held in honor or esteem
Our use of this definition simply stated: “My congregation/church respects me.” Or “My leader (teacher, pastor, bishop, minister, etc.) has my respect.” Is this congregation/church respect measured as true or false? Or, should it be measured on a scale from 0 to 100%? The answer comes from how you get the respect, read on and see if you agree.
Respect: Demanded versus Commanded
Respect can come to someone through either demanded respect or through them commanding respect. Demanded respect is produced by fear, an example would be a boss telling a worker, “You do job XYZ in 2 hours or I will fire you.” The worker respects the boss and so pushes through getting the job XYZ done on time. The entire time his respect come from fear of what is boss can and will do to him. This boss ‘demanded’ respect, his personal character traits were not involved at all. In this instance respect is measured by how much the worker fears the boss. Unless the boss is inconsistent in how he enforces his respect, it is either yes or no, he either has the workers respect, or he does not.
Alternately, if the boss commanded the workers respect, he would tell the worker, “I need job XYZ done in 2 hours.” The boss has earned the workers respect, so the worker knows that job XYZ is important, and that the 2 hour time is certainly reasonable. When he accepts the job, he is able to show his respect for that boss by the completion of the requested task. This boss ‘commanded’ respect because he earned it through his good character traits being known by the worker. Here respect is measured on a scale of none through completely (0-100%) based on how much the worker knows about the boss’s character traits. The workers response may vary some what based on that percentage.
Hebrews 13:17 Explained
The verse found in Hebrews 13:17 says “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account….” Church leaders frequently use this verse to justify the use of ‘demanded’ respect. They overlook the fact that church members have God given free will, and can choose which leader they want to follow. Jesus died to set us free from ‘demanded’ respect leaders. Part of the working out your own salvation described in Philippians 2:12 includes Choosing a leader that ‘commands’ respect by possessing good character traits. The Bible is not silent about what good character traits a leader should have, indicating that a spiritual leader should strive to have ‘commanded’ respect instead of ‘demanded’ respect for a proper respect of leadership to occur. Read our ‘Bible Character’ article to learn more.
Your Apostolic Leadership Team