Dear Salvation Army, When Leadership Fails

 “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)

The calling of Samuel is a tragic story.
It should not have happened this way.
When we think of Samuel we only remember him anointing David at God’s behest, but many times we don’t think of why Samuel was called in the first place.

The short version:
Eli (High Priest at the central sanctuary of Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept) and his sons had failed within their leadership responsibilities.  Eli had turned a blind eye to his sons wickedness.  In a way Eli allowed their activities to continue by not dealing with the situations.  A personal/painful note: dealing with situations and sin issues is hard enough, when it’s within the family it can be even harder.

Samuel is called by God, because Eli and his sons had failed.
It is actually a very tragic tale that could have been avoided, but this story should also serve as a lesson in leadership, integrity and accountability to all of us who are serving Christ within The Salvation Army.

No, I am not calling anyone out…but sometimes if the shoe fits…

Heart Attacks And Leadership…
When someone has a traumatic cardiac event (heart attack), there are usually warning signs before the actual event:  Extreme fatigue,  a feeling of suffocating, trouble catching ones breath, dizziness, profuse sweating, a sudden flu or cold days before, panic attacks, chest pains.
-These are just a few warning signs that could indicate someone ought to have their heart checked.
Becoming attentive to these warning signs could potentially save someone’s life.
Ignoring such signs, well, I’m sure you get the picture.

Just as there are warning signs with failing hearts, there are also warning signs with failing leaders as well.
To ignore such signs could become very tragic indeed.

3 Warning Signs The Indicates Leadership Failure:

1. When Leadership Becomes Lethargic and Stale: apathy
When I say “lethargic” I wish to convey the notion that apathy and laziness is a real killer to organizations!
We, as an Army, have no room for apathy and laziness.
We, as an Army, cannot afford to NOT care about the souls of the lost.
We, as an Army, cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of people…EVER, regardless of who they are, where they’re from and what they currently stand for.  We cannot ignore this warning sign if it is present within our ministries.  Lethargic leaders are dead leaders walking.  Organizations and Churches have seen far too many of these leaders, we cannot keep the mission while entertaining such a failed form of leadership.  Apathy will lead to God selecting others to replace us if we allow it to become our identity as leaders.  Such leaders are not godly.  Such leaders will be removed.  Such leaders will be held accountable to God.

shallow2.  When Leadership Becomes Anorexic: 
You know the devastating effects of anorexia on the body.  It is a sad disease that robs people of their dignity and ultimately their lives.  In the same way, there is such a thing as anorexic leadership.  It is the “spiritual” leader that has no spiritual depth.  It is the leader that lacks integrity.  It is the leader that says one thing but does another.  It is the leader who isn’t willing to do the hard work but expects the hard work done by other people.  It is the wasting away of the spiritual body that leads to the death of the spiritual body.  Anorexic leadership will kill an organization.  It can kill The Salvation Army.  If leaders are appointed, who have no spiritual depth, but instead are simply climbing the ladder and are in search for power and personal gain, it will kill an organization!  It will kill the mission!  Please, please, please, note this warning sign, dear Army.  Anorexic leadership is very real and, dare I say it even exists right now within our Army in various forms.  Don’t allow it to waste you away!  Don’t allow it to hollow us out.  Don’t entertain such folly.  It. will. kill. you!

3.  When Leadership Becomes Amaurotic: blind
Eli, the High Priest, turned a blind eye to the actions and activities of his sons.  He was guilty because he did nothing to intervene and to stop the sins taking place.  Let’s call sin for what it is.  Let’s not beat around the bush.  If we see a brother or sister stumbling or falling back into old sinful patterns WE MUST DO SOMETHING to save them!  Dare I say (and dare I will) that if we turn a blind eye to their activities, we too are just as guilty!  The word “Amaurotic” is related to a medical condition of the eyes.  It is what happens when damage takes place to the eyes that causes blindness of one kind or another.  Amaurotic leadership, is blind leadership.  It is leadership that is gutless.  It is a “do nothing” leadership that does not hold people accountable and does not keep the standards high within the body of Christ.  We are called to be set apart.  blind1We are called to be a city on a hill.  We are called to be salt and light.  But what happens when that light begins to dim?  What happens when that “set apartness” is all meshed back up with the old sinful ways so you can’t tell them apart anymore?  We need clear vision.  We need solid soldiers.  We need solid officers.  We need solid leaders who can see even into the difficult things and not turn a blind eye.  If we lose the vision, the body will fall apart.  If we fall apart, God will chose someone else.  God will appoint someone else to replace us.

The Warning Signs & Organizational Observations:
Organizations can sometimes overshadow the mission, it can become too big for its own good.  It can develop so much that the “developing” aspect eventually replaces the original mission and reason for being.  Eli and his sons, lost their way.  They became too important in their own minds.
Organizations can sometimes play politics instead of practicing prophecy.   mouth
I don’t mean “fore-knowledge” like predicting the future.  What I mean is that a prophet of God is to be the very mouth piece of God.  One who speaks for God.  One who leads others to God.  One who ushers souls and lives to be transformed by God.  A mouth piece of God practices holiness and lives holiness.  Sometimes, I fear, The Salvation Army is better at playing politics than practicing prophecy.  I don’t mean everyone, but sometimes we can lose our way.  Sometimes we can become lost in the mix of “business”, policy, “law keeping” instead of life changing, heart reconciliation, “Holy Spirit moving us once again to our knees” kind of  practicing.

Questions to ponder today: 
Have we become lethargic in our ministries?
Have we become anorexic with our spiritual depth?
Have we become amaurotic with our mission?
I don’t offer this pondering today to accuse or provide some sort of “guilt trip”, I merely wonder if it’s time once again to kneel before Father with a spiritual check-up and possibly become reconciled to Him again.

God replaced Eli and his sons, he could very well do the same with us if we are not living as we should!
May this be a sobering reminder to us all today.
Perhaps this is a wake up call.
Perhaps this is a warning to our hearts by the Holy Spirit to continually seek repentance and live out His calling upon our lives.

-Something more for this Army to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

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1 Comment

  1. leadership never makes mistakes. It’s always the field officers that do. Leadership also stands firm on its decisions and never apologizes for that would show weakness. Leadership always will defend the institution at the expense of its greatest assets.

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