Rebuilding Happy Families-Part 4

John H. Ogwyn

In unhealthy families, the leader either abdicates his responsibility to guide or else seeks to control all the other members. What is a healthy leadership style? The early New Testament Church provides an interesting example.

Achieving Balance

"Balance," it has been said, "is a razor's edge!" Overcompensating—going from one extreme to another—seems to be the human tendency. Substituting different extremes does not promote balance.

Some family systems are so rigid and controlling that they stifle family members. Others are so loose and permissive that they produce a sense of chaos. Neither of these is a healthy balance. If one mate is too strict, lenience from the other mate does not produce balance. A structured environment, on the other hand, produces proper balance in the home, in which each family member is still able to flourish as an individual.

In unhealthy families, the leader either abdicates his responsibility to guide or else seeks to control all the other members. What is a healthy leadership style? The early New Testament Church provides an interesting example. After all, the Church is called the "household of God" (Ephesians 2:19) and has many of the characteristics of a family.

From Acts 6:1 we learn that the number of the disciples in Jerusalem had multiplied greatly. Next, we learn that problems arose with certain ones feeling that their needs were being neglected. How did the leadership respond? They could have called everyone together and "chewed them out" for voicing complaints. They could have become defensive, responding that they were doing the best that they could, and putting a guilt trip on those who complained. They did neither.

A structured environment, on the other hand, produces proper balance in the home, in which each family member is still able to flourish as an individual.

Instead, they listened to what was being said! After listening, they called everyone together and established the parameters of a solution. They next delegated, to those closer to the situation, the responsibility for filling in details. In this case, the problem was resolved by preparing a list of individuals who met the qualifications the apostles had enumerated. The result was received positively, and the Church grew even more (v. 7).

The apostles avoided making several of the most common mistakes that cause people to be frustrated with their leaders. They did not stifle communication by becoming angry with those who brought them unwelcome news. Neither did they frustrate the Church by going to extremes of either failing to respond and provide leadership or else trying to micro-manage and control every facet of the solution.

This is a clear picture of how healthy leadership works, and how it applies to the home just as much as to the Church. Listening, establishing parameters and guidelines, and then giving people room to work out specifics are all-important keys to balanced leadership.

Rebuilding Happy Families - Part 1

Rebuilding Happy Families - Part 2

Rebuilding Happy Families - Part 3