I saw myself in Christ’s shoes this week and appreciated where it pinched. “This is more than we can stomach! Are we soldiers that need military training? Why listen to such hard talk?”

These were the loud murmurs of my members during our meeting on Sunday. There were burning issues at hand.

As we deliberated on how to handle them, naturally, most of our members wanted us to take the easy way out. But on the contrary, we had laid down principles – as provided by our code of conduct – on how to handle such situations. I knew that a leader should never sink to the level of his followers, but should stay ahead and lead the way; even if it means standing alone. That’s the loneliness of leadership-the cost of leadership.

As you would guess, I insisted that we abide by the laid down provisions. This raised much dust as my people thought I was being unreasonably rigid. Most, especially the relatively new members, threatened to leave the home church. “We’ll rather go back to our former churches where we’re allowed to grow at our natural pace” they unanimously lamented.

Now, I felt like Christ in John 6:60-67, where most of His disciples left because they perceived His words as hard. I now had to choose between keeping my beloved members and upholding discipline-the foundation of our ministry.

Powered by my principle -based life, I looked them in the face and told them all to leave, for I can’t operate by sentiments. I told them that God would raise me discipline-loving people. “I don’t fear losing anybody; it’s only God that I fear to lose,” I emphasized.

I felt sad that I’d lost my members; for I deeply love them. Honestly, I do.

However, an eye- opening event happened this Wednesday as it was time for home church meeting. I expected none of them to come back. But, alas, everybody came.

When asked why they came back, Chioma said “I saw that I couldn’t leave. At home, it dawned on me the huge difference this home church has made in my life in so short a time, and I figured it would benefit me most, if I submit to the principle-based leadership of this ministry.”  To show her commitment, she brought a large sum of money for the support of our projects. She also came with her friend who was full of admiration of how our home church is run.

Every other member made similar thought-provoking statements. This incidenT opened my eyes to these leadership principles:

  1. People, in their naturally weak state, are looking for whom to follow; and they follow the strong.
  2. As a leader, do not need people to like you; rather, go for their respect. You’ll benefit them most if they respect you.
  3. A thing is truly never yours until you’re ready to lose it.
  4. Principle-based leaderships create strong systems; sentiment-driven leaderships breed weak systems.
  5. Whatever is given to you by God will always remain with you, as the apostles did with Christ (John 60:66-71).
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