According to Oxford dictionaries a control freak is, “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” Leaders should not be control freaks and Christian leaders in particular should not demonstrate these obsessive qualities.
However, all true leaders should be in danger of being called control freaks. Why do I make that assertion? It is because true leaders care. They care about who and what they are leading. And in their leading they want the right direction for who and what they are leading. There is a sense in which a true leader must take control of the situation to achieve this.
So let us think of leaders, elders and pastors in churches. If you are in such a position you are there because you care for the church and care for the members of the church. You want the best for both. Accordingly, you want God’s hand on both. And as a Christian Leader you have convictions about God, His ways and His Kingdom. You have studied His Word, you have reached conclusions about how God’s work should go forward. You share something of the desires Paul had for His Lord,
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Col. 1:28-29).
All of this means that we do not want people or the church itself to go in a wrong direction. We will want to steer in a right direction and our seeking to guide in a right way can so easily be construed as being a “control freak”.
But we do not want to obsessively exercise control. We are not for heavy shepherding. But can we say that our longings for people and the church necessitate that we are in danger sometimes of overstepping the mark?
The caring heart of the true elder puts him in this danger. Even when we are not overstepping the mark many may perceive us as having done so and we then have the “control freak” label attached to us. Such a label is not to be gloried in, but you may have received it solely because your heart and longings are right.
If you are a Pastor / elder and are in no danger of being a control freak then probably you should examine your heart as to whether or not you care enough for God, His people, His Word and His church.
(Originally Published at Venabling on 18th September 2013).