Christian Leadership


Not to Control Other Men's Lives

Reveal God's Love—We must not strive to mold people to our own ideas and inclinations and practices. By unselfish, consecrated lives, through the power of the Holy Spirit working on our minds, we are to reveal, not our own ways and wills, but the power of the love of Him who gave Himself for us that we should be drawn out of and away from our own traits of character to the perfection of Christ's character. He died that we should cultivate the attributes of his character, and elevate, purify and gladden the hearts and lives of others.—Letter 2, 1898, pp. 1, 2 (March 17, 1898, to Leading Men in Our Churches). ChL 36.1

Sensitive and sympathetic—There are men, better, far better calculated to till the soil than to deal with human minds; they are not sensitive nor sympathetic. Those who would do the best and highest service for Jesus Christ must copy the Pattern in all their associations in business deals, and in spiritual things. God sees as men do not, the result of this hardness of heart toward one another and it is an offense to Him and dishonors His Holy Name.—Letter 16d, 1892, p. 3 (May 7, 1892, to Brother Haskell). ChL 36.2

Molding Other Men's Minds—How my heart aches to see presidents of conferences taking the burden of selecting those whom they think they can mold to work with them in the field. They take those who will not differ with them, but will act like mere machines. No president has any right to do this. Leave others to plan; and if they fail in some things, do not take it as an evidence that they are unfitted to be thinkers. Our most responsible men had to learn by a long discipline how to use their judgment.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 304. ChL 36.3

God is Willing to Teach Others—The idea that one man's mind and judgment can mold and direct important interests, and that he can be regarded as a voice for the people, is a great evil, and has, and still continues to endanger the one who is placed in a position of responsibility, and those also who cooperate with him. God has not given to any one man all the wisdom, and wisdom will not die with him. Those placed in positions of trust should modestly regard the opinions of others as worthy of respect and likely to be as correct as their own. They should remember that God has made other men just as valuable as they are, and that God is willing to teach and guide these men.—Manuscript 55, 1897 (June 3, 1897, Development of Workers). ChL 36.4

Credit Others With Some Sense—I have been shown that there is one practice which those in responsible places should avoid; for it is detrimental to the work of God. Men in position should not lord it over God's heritage and command everything around them. Too many have marked out a prescribed one which they wish others to follow in the work. Workers have tried to do this with blind faith, without exercising their own judgment upon the matter which they had in hand. If those who were placed as directors were not present, they have followed their implicit directions just the same. But in the name of Christ, I would entreat you to stop this work. Give men a chance to exercise their individual judgment. ChL 37.1

Men who follow the leading of another, and are willing that another should think for them, are unfit to be entrusted with responsibility. Our leading men are remiss in this matter. God has not given to special ones all the brain power there is in the world. Men in responsible positions should credit others with some sense, with some ability of judgment and foresight and look upon them as capable of doing the work committed to their hands. ChL 37.2

Our leading brethren have made a great mistake in marking out all the directions that the workers should follow, and this has resulted in deficiency, in a lack of the care-taking spirit in the workers because they have relied upon others to do all their planning, and have themselves taken no responsibility. Should the men who have taken this responsibility upon themselves step out of our ranks, or die, what a state of things would be found in our institutions. ChL 37.3

Leading men should place responsibilities upon others, and allow time to plan and devise and execute, so that they may obtain an experience. Give them a word of counsel when necessary, but do not take away the work because you think the brethren are making mistakes. May God pity the cause when one man's mind and one man's plan are followed without question. God would not be honored should such a state of things exist. ChL 37.4

All our workers must have room to exercise their own judgment and discretion. God has given men talents which He means that they should use. He has given them minds and He means that they should become thinkers, and do their own thinking and planning rather than depend upon others to think and plan for them.—Letter 12, 1885, (October 28, 1885, To Brn. Butler and Haskell). ChL 38.1

Position No Authority to Dictate—Every branch of the work of God is to have recognition. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11, 12. This scripture shows that there are to be different workers, different instrumentalities. Each has a different work. No one is required to lay hold of another's work, and, though untrained, try to do it. God has given to each according to his ability. One man may think that his position gives him authority to dictate to other workers, but this is not so. Ignorant of their work, he would enlarge where he should retrench, and retrench where he should enlarge, because he can see only the part of the vineyard where he is working.—Testimonies for the Church 8:170, 171. ChL 38.2