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11.01.2024 17:54:36 109x read.
INSPIRATION
A Call to Authority and Governance (Bro. Augustine Kubdaar, FIC General Superior)

A Call to Authority and Governance

Bro. Augustine Kubdaar, FIC General Superior

 

Depending on who, where, when, and for what, authority and governance (leadership) can be conceptualized in a variety of ways. Leadership is one of the most studied and least understood phenomena on earth (Burns, 2003). God bestows authority and the power to govern on religious leaders as a gift and call to serve. The call comes through the discernment and decision of individuals who placed leaders in a position of service. It is to carry out specific apostolic tasks and guide people toward achieving common objectives. Religious leaders must foster the growth and loyalty of fellow Religious to the congregation's charism so that it remains appealing to future generations. According to our Holy Father, a vocation to authority and governance is a call to lead others to conversion and to be mediators for others in their encounter with Christ (15/10/2015). 

God is the Source of all authority and governance. Therefore, leaders' deep relationship with God is not a choice. Using authority and power effectively should be desired at all times and circumstances. When you disconnect something from its source, it either breaks down or dies. Similarly, when a leader distances himself or herself from God, he or she naturally malfunctions and loses the gift of authority and governance. When a leader substitutes the source of his authority and power, he becomes a burden to himself and those he leads. 

Our Saviour Jesus Christ turned governance/leadership upside down. He taught the disciples that in the Kingdom, they were not to lead people as those in the world; they were to be radically different. As such, the governance module Jesus adopted was neither about command and control nor status and power. He did not teach techniques but developed the character - a character centred on a Christ-like servant heart. He modelled leadership on servanthood and challenged his disciples to follow that example to be like him. From the Kingdom perspective, this leadership model of Jesus, centering on his indwelling character, is superior to all secular leadership styles.

Christ's governance module was characterized by compassion, love, and servanthood. Jesus was a servant-leader and a good shepherd, ready to die for his people (Nyabwari, 2013). Are we ready to die for our followers as leaders? The idea of leading others begins in the heart, which leads to pleasing the heart of God. Jesus, in his leadership, exhibited some inspiring characteristics by showing grace and forgiveness, empathy and wisdom. Obedience, truth, and humility were the character traits of Jesus at all times.

Jesus was a listening leader because he loved others perfectly and listened without condescending. A great leader listens not only to others but also to his conscience and the promptings of God. Jesus was a patient, pleading and loving leader. He led out of his character and heart for the world. As leaders, we are to be reflections of our Lord, who had a clear vision. Jesus' leadership was evident in John (17:20) when he said, "I pray not only for these but also for those who believe in me through their message." Jesus was living beyond the moment.

It is also true that every human being is born with an innate proclivity towards leadership. We are born with the instinct to govern our lives and situations, to make our own decisions, and to exert domination over our co-creatures (Gen. 1: 26-28). When we are not in charge, we want to be in charge. We are fundamentally given authority to control and govern our own and in some circumstances, the lives of others. This is true regardless of age, experience, wealth, gender, race, education, or lack thereof. Only by learning, cultivating, and practicing who you were born to be can you completely realize your inherent leadership potential. Realizing your intrinsic leadership potential is essential for leadership in any form. A title, position, power, race, age, education, or family name cannot create a true leader.

Self-glorification undermines human authority. The extremely powerful God of the universe sets an example by lovingly caring for his creation (Matt. 20:28). By surrendering his appropriate position of leadership, Jesus "made himself nothing" (Phil. 2:7). When he was a man, he was rejected by his people at the time and even now (Is. 53:3; John 1:11), and he subsequently died as the substitute offering for sinful humanity. As a result, humility is an important characteristic of authority and governance.

Adding value to others is also fundamental to leadership. In other words, leaders give people something valuable, and motivate them to engage in and contribute to the congregation's common goal and mission. How do we add value to our fellow brothers' lives as religious leaders? We must do this through our gestures that we are there for them. As religious leaders, we need to give them real-time help and our full attention. We should constantly show that we are listening, ready to offer help and care deeply for them. True leadership gives people a reason to live, a feeling of purpose, and a reason to be thankful. Effective use of authority and governance over persons helps individuals find meaning in life and feel desired and significant in their membership of a group, society or organization. Therefore, strong intrapersonal ties between leaders and those they lead is necessary. How a leader values and treats others reflects how the leader values and treats himself or herself. Leaders must first have a deep, and healthy love for themselves to lead others effectively.

In conclusion, it is obvious that if a plant is removed from the ground, you do not need further action to destroy it. It will wilt on its own. If you remove a fish from the water, you do not have to kill it. It will perish from suffocation(Munroe, 2005). Similarly, when a leader drifts away from God, he or she forfeits the gift of authority and control according to the will of God. Authority and governance are gifts from God, and given for the sake of humanity. Finally, a word of caution for religious: Here is what God says in Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Munson, 2013).








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