Faithful or Fruitful? Both! It is often mistakenly believed that a person must merely be faithful in order to serve in a leadership role. Of course it is needed, along with character and integrity, but so is fruitfulness. This is true, too, in Christian contexts; God does look at the heart and “weighs it” (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2), but effective results need effective leadership. To deny that results matter is to live in denial of reality.
Faithfulness, then, is not at the expense of fruitfulness. That is why someone can’t be assumed to have a right to leadership just because they have been around the longest or because they have served the most. Neither can someone continue in leadership because of ‘a great heart’ if the outcomes required have surpassed the capacity of the person concerned. Otherwise, other people suffer. To promote the welfare of one person at the expense of the welfare of those they impact is unreasonable.
Of course, dealing with change in such scenarios often needs a discreet and compassionate touch. People need to be honoured for faithfulness, but good leadership cannot deny the need for also having competence. Also, we can’t be so results-driven that we end up becoming easily dissatisfied with the good that people do to the best of their ability.
Finally, just as Jesus brought glory to God by completing His mission (John 17:4) and just as Paul desired to complete his mission (Acts 20:24), we too need to fulfil our own God-given leadership assignment thoroughly. This requires being skilled in the area in which we lead and being led in the area in which we are skilled!