In the previous post looking at Paul’s leadership in the book of 2 Corinthians, we looked at five ways Paul connected with the church in Corinth and exemplified a godly leader.
Remember, we all lead in some way and have a responsibility to lead in a godly way. In this post, we will look at five more ways Paul led the church and how we might apply them to our areas of influence.
6. Paul encourages the Corinthians with the testimony of other believers (8:1-15)
Paul recounts the generosity of the churches in Macedonia as a way to nurture and challenge the Corinthians. By using the example of other churches and the way the Lord had used them through their giving, Paul urges the Corinthians to give generously as well. Paul does not outright command the people to give. Instead, he encourages them, based on their faith and mutual love to generously provide for the cause of Christ. We can lead by sharing testimonies of the faithfulness of God and other believers.
7. Paul is proactive and takes initiative (9:5)
Paul is proactive in positioning people so that all parties win. The gift is given to those who need it, the Corinthians are seen in the correct light, the other churches are blessed, and Paul and his companions are proved trustworthy. All of these things are accomplished because Paul takes the initiative to send brothers ahead of him to make arrangements for the gift. The theological foundations that Paul preaches overflow into his practical ministry. We can lead by being proactive to help others and take the initiative in areas of responsibility.
8. Paul defends his ministry and is confident in the ways the Lord has gifted him (10:13-18)
Paul boasts about the “area of influence” God has assigned to him. In other words, Paul is honest about his strengths as a leader and qualifications as an Apostle of Christ. Paul defends his ministry and sets a solid foundation for why he can write the way he does to the Corinthians. In doing so, he firmly establishes his competency and ability to be in a leadership position. But Paul also invites the Corinthians into his ministry as partners and hopes to see the Gospel spread through their increased faith. These things are not stated in arrogance but in humble submission to the Lord and His mission in the world. We can lead by being confident in how the Lord has gifted us and exercising that gift among the body for the edification of others and the glory of God.
9. Paul finds that even his weakness is a strength when in the hands of God (11:16-12:10)
Paul boasts in his weakness. This statement must have seemed counterintuitive to Paul’s readers. It does not speak to his strengths or his status. In his weakness, he boasts because he knows that in his weakness, Christ is shown as strong.
By boasting in his weakness, Paul displays a counter-cultural leadership tactic that allows for others – especially and primarily Christ – to demonstrate their power.
This may happen by God using other people to fill in where a leader is weak. We can lead by being honest about our weaknesses and allowing God to work in our lives to display His power in them.
10. Paul rebukes the Corinthians with firmness and love and points them to Jesus (12:14-13:4)
Paul expresses his desire to be with the Corinthians and discuss matters of faith, love, and life with them. Yet, he is honest about his reservations – citing the possibility of quarreling and anger, among other things that may be present if he were to return to them. He even speaks of his mourning over their unrepented sin. This is a challenging aspect of leadership – calling out others when they have failed. Yet, their failures are met with the person and work of Christ. Paul points them to the hope of redemption and forgiveness that is found in Christ. We can lead by addressing sin with seriousness and grace. We must root out sin wherever it is found and continually remind each other of the grace, love, and power we have in Christ.