Every leader needs a leader! That is a fact! I do not believe that people should lead without a covering. To be honest, I get a little nervous when someone has no one to answer to! That gets a little scary. "Submission to spiritual authority provides the greatest spiritual protection anywhere ..." (Dan Basham). I believe that every Christian leader needs to be "one with authority, but also one under authority." Now, that does not mean our covering controls every decision we make - but they help guide us to the right decision!
Listen to these verses on spiritual covering / authority:
"Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit." (Hebrews 13:17).
"For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority ..." (1 Peter 2:13)
"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).
"Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other" (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
These verses clearly show that the church needs leadership! In fact, as you study church history - from Bible times to today - you will clearly see the need to differentiate leaders and followers. I learned this principle years ago, "Anything with two heads is a monster." Imagine if every person is the leader? The natural trail of confusion would be visible. And yet it is. Someone has to lead and some have to follow!
So, a spiritual covering is about 4 things, in my opinion: (1) accountability, (2) trainability, (3) stability, and (4) expandability.
We all need accountability. A leader without accountability is a leader destined to fail. Being your "own accountability" is the recipe for a moral collapse. It does not matter what profession you are in, no one can fully hold themselves accountable. We need the right people in our lives to speak correction. Now, not everyone is called you hold you accountable. I had a gentleman in church issue me a correction and he added, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." My sensitive but direct response was, "I am not your friend, I am your pastor." Not everyone is called to hold you accountable.
The Bible would called this 'being teachable.' When you find yourself under a covering of authority you take the posture of "train me." You see, a covering is more than a title it is about a relational protection and direction. There are denominational structures that provide titles, but that does not mean they are you total spiritual covering. Yes, they provide doctrinal and behavioral correction, but they may not provide that spiritual relationship that will position you for growth. Mary and I are grateful to call Pastors David & Nicole Crank our pastors. They invest so much time in our life and ministry. Why? We are under their covering.
A spiritual covering helps you balance your life and ministry. There is no doubt about it. When you have a covering they will ask you the right questions, push you in the right direction, and push back when you step out of alignment. Having people over us helps keep us moving the right direction and walking in integrity. My wife stabilizes me. My pastors stabilize me. A spiritual covering will be a great stabilizer - and that helps develop longevity in ministry. Pastors who have moral failures usually fell into the feeling they can stabilize themselves, but we cannot. We need someone over us or else it will be over for us.
Our covering helps determine our potential. The more we are willing to be under someone the more I believe we show God that we can handle. Scripture declares, "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities" (Luke 16:10). Faithfulness leads to fruitfulness. As you are faithful to those God has put over you, then God will expand your potential and influence!
A spiritual covering is so vital in any position, but it is imperative in leadership. Without a covering you stand unprotected. So choose your covering carefully. SPF 10 will not giving you as much protection in the hot rays of the sun, but if you put on SPF 50 you will have a great protection from the harmful UV rays. Make sure you put on the right covering!
Who is your spiritual covering?