by | Mar 2, 2015 | Church Leadership and Ministry

Do the positive effects of a leader’s transparency outweigh the disadvantages?

A transparent leader isn’t pretentious.  With discretion, he shares personal stories from his spiritual pilgrimage, and how the truths he’s teaching affect him.  In the company of trustworthy people, she’s honest when it comes to disclosing prayer requests.  

Consider these potential benefits of self-disclosure:

1.        Your transparency will enhance your relationship with listeners or group members and facilitate more one-on-one ministry with them.  They will view you as more approachable and feel safer talking to you, since the experience you shared resonated with them.  They will believe that you understand them and will be less judgmental.

2.       Your transparency will spawn a deeper level of sharing among listeners or group members.

They will be less superficial because you have set the pace.  They won’t feel like a second-class Christian because their leader has already demonstrated authenticity.     

3.        Your self-disclosure will foster deeper, more authentic fellowship among followers.  Experiencing the relational commands in the New Testament requires a level of openness that not many Christians experience through their friendships or small group participation.  Without a willingness to be transparent, we can’t bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2); comfort one another (2 Cor. 1:4-7); encourage each other (1 Thess. 5:11); forgive one another (Eph. 4:32); care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25); nor weep/rejoice with one another (Rom. 12:15).  

4.       Your self-revelation will instill hope within others who are discouraged due to their struggles.  They will see that you’re pressing on in the faith despite problems, and that the Lord is using you in spite of (or perhaps because of) the difficulties.   They’ll discover that victorious Christian living isn’t pain-free, but involves trusting God in times of difficulty.    

5.       Your own need for prayer and support will be met.  Ministry with your congregation or group will be mutual, rather than flowing only in one direction, from you to the others.    You won’t suffer alone when facing medical setbacks, dealing with a troubled teen, or wrestling with a personal decision. 

6.       Your openness can enhance God’s glory among listeners or group members.    God receives glory when He gets an opportunity to do what only He can do:  when He answers a prayer, sustains and stabilizes during adversity, or transforms irritating circumstances.  The recipient of His grace praises Him and tells others what He did.      

In Psalm 50:15, the Lord says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor me.”   Allow others to hear your heart-felt cries to God, to see how He meets your needs, and they will honor God along with you.  Ironically, God gets more glory when we are needy and when He acts on our behalf, than when we’re strong and have it all together.  Others may see our weakness—but they will also see His strength.

What benefit of transparency would you add?  What words of qualification (“Yes, but—“) do you have concerning any of the benefits I’ve cited?

Also see the previous post at this site, titled “7 Guidelines for Transparency In Teaching and Preaching.” 

Please note: comments are closed after two weeks. You are welcome to contact me directly after that time if you would like to share your thoughts.



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