Maybe you've seen the movie White Christmas. Do you remember the scene in which a bunch of the men that General Waverly led in the war gathered from around the region for a surprise banquet in his honor? Remember the look on the general's face when he walked in and saw them again, as they broke into this song:
We'll follow the old man wherever he wants to go
Long as he wants to go opposite to the foe
We'll stay with the old man wherever he wants to stay
Long as he stays away from the battle's fray
Because we love him, we love him
Especially when he keeps us on the ball
And we'll tell the kiddies we answered duty's call
With the grandest son of a soldier of them all
While this was a tongue-in-cheek song, the movie showed the principle of love at the center of leadership, especially between brothers in arms. While I haven't experienced combat myself, I recently read several interviews of enlisted and commissioned military men in William Bennett's The Book of Man. Several times while talking about the men under their command, the officers talked about how much they loved their guys and how they would have done anything for them. With leaders like that, I'm sure the enlisted men would have gladly done anything for their superiors.
How does this connect to the church? Intimately. I believe if leaders miss this, they've missed it all, and shown they don't understand what they're called to do. And without love, what makes people think they really are leaders? These are questions for you and for me to answer:
Do you honestly care about the people you are leading?
Are you available to help them?
Do you discipline out of love? Do you care enough to do hard things?
Are you willing to do the things you ask of those you are leading?
Will you inconvenience yourself for the sake of others?
Is your love conditional or unconditional?
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. — Jesus (John 15:12-15)Do you want people to follow your leadership? Love them.