In Galatians 5 Paul underlines the need to have strong ethical leadership with a set of strong principles which guide in making right decisions about moral decency (Northouse, 2013), while also calling his readers to an authentic leadership model. Paul finishes up this particular portion of scripture with a call to a strong team mindset among his readers. Paul states in verse 25, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Crossway Bibles, 2007) He doesn’t only call them away from becoming conceited, provoking, or envious, but puts it into the context of ‘one another’, which is a significant addition considering the fledgling Christian church that needed unity and freedom from contention. Throughout Paul’s writings he challenges Christians to refrain from the contention, strife, arguments and divisions that were popping up in various churches (I Tim. 2:8, I Cor. 1:10) and embrace unity in an effort to spread the Gospel.
Teamwork is a vital part of any organization’s growth and success. The leadership behaviors associated with effective teams are modeling what matters, engaging in self-evaluation, and fostering collaboration (Irving, 2011, p.122). In Galatians 5 Paul hits on all of these as he calls his readers to model what matters by embracing the gifts of the spirit (vs. 22-24), engage in self-evaluation by refraining from the desires of the flesh (vs. 16-21), and fostering collaboration by calling his readers away from conceit, provocation, and envy. Such an approach by Paul’s leaders will not only strengthen their relationships with one another, but will represent Christ to the world as their teamwork brings credibility to their message (Gabirs, 2007, p. 112).
It would appear Paul’s word are desperately needed in the modern church as much as it was needed in the early church of Jesus Christ.
Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: study Bible: English standard version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.
Gabris, G. T., & Ihrke, D. M. (2007). No End to Hierarchy Does Rank Make a Difference in Perceptions of Leadership Credibility? Administration & Society, 39(1), 107–123.
Irving, J. A. (2011). Leadership Reflection: A Model for Effective Servant Leadershiph Practice: A Biblically-Consistent and Research-Based Approach to Leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 3(2), 118–128.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.