Inspirational Speech: The Leader as Voicer
The faith leader is a ‘voicer,’ which means like any disciple of Christ, being a witness:
‘Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are.’ (1 Peter 3.15 The Message.)
But more than that, Christian leaders also provide tools to spur and resource such witness by others in the household of faith.
They give voice to –
tradition so that others can make it their own
‘Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain
the traditions just as I handed them on to you.’ (1 Corinthians 11.2)
encourage others in the faith
‘... to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.’ (Ephesians 4.12, 13)
name things otherwise unnoticed
‘Faith comes from what is heard ...’ (Romans 10.17)
attend to experience as an arena of God’s activity
‘The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4.12)
articulate godly things that might otherwise go unremarked
‘We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.’ (I John 1.3 The Message.)
This is the voicing in which the Christian leader is to be a proficient.
The word is chosen carefully and in contrast to its popular usage. Here it does not mean ‘an expert.’ Instead it refers to someone who is no longer a beginner in the things of the spiritual life, but still has a long way to go to reach perfection (see
Christian Proficiency by Martin Thornton). This usage aims to guard three essential aspects of Christian understanding:
1. The voicer is God, and none of our efforts can either confine or determine how God’s word is expressed. Only
God in Christ is the perfect voicer.
2. Our voicing is something learned in our relationship with God and others of the household of faith. It is not a
talent or technique we master for ourselves, but an outworking of God active in his church.
3. Our voicing requires of us patient attention to the ‘resources’ of scripture, prayer and faith practice as much as any development of rhetorical, linguistic or presentational capabilities. We can never know enough to be perfect voicers.
Christian leaders are then always Proficients – those striving to learn more. For the good of the Body of Christ, they must be
more than Beginners; but for that same good they must know themselves to be learners.