Affectionate Leaders

Acts 17:1–9; 1 Thessalonians 2:1–8

As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but instead we were like children among you. Or we were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children. We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. (1 Thessalonians 2:7–8)

Good leaders have affection for people. Paul writes, “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God . . . ” (1 Thess. 2:8). Is that great, or what? Paul didn’t shrink from sharing his emotions with his flock. That strong man, an apostle of Christ, looking back on the Thessalonians said, “Oh, what an affection I had for you. How dear you were to me.” Those are affectionate words of intimacy.

To keep this simple and easy to remember, I want to suggest that affection for people can be demonstrated in two ways: small yet frequent acts of kindness and stated and written words of appreciation. Those you lead should have a few notes of appreciation and encouragement from you by now. They should be growing accustomed to your expressions of affection that include small yet frequent acts of kindness. No one is so important that he or she is above kindness. That aspect of leadership takes courage and a spirit confident in God’s grace.

I came across a couplet that summarizes this point nicely:

Life is mostly froth and bubble. Two things stand in stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble. Courage in your own.

I’m grieved by strong leaders who consistently walk over people. We wonder how people like that make it into significant places of influence. Here’s some free advice: If you don’t enjoy people, please, do us all a favor, don’t go into leadership. Choose another career stream. Everyone will be better off. Say no when you’re offered an opportunity to lead.

Neither the world nor the ministry needs more bosses. Both need more leaders—servant-hearted souls to lead as Paul led, with sensitivity and affection toward others. Love and affection, when appropriately given, fills the gap when words alone fail to comfort. If people know you love and value them, they’ll go to the wire for you. Paul told the Christians at Thessalonica that he loved them. They never got over it.

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com

Posted in Leadership, Pastors and tagged , .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.