Torch, Fall 1988

An interview with Pat landers Dixon , is Associate Professor of English at Cedarville College. She is a frequent conference speaker and contributor to the TORCH, and the wife of Cedarville College' s president. Q• People lead in a variety of ways and people respond to leadership in a variety of ways. Among these, what do you think are keys to godly responses? A. I have taken as the standard of conduct for my own life the passage in Romans 12:9-21 because I believe these verses apply to every area of life including responding to leadership. Among the principles in these passages are the admonitions to be diligently serving the Lord and preferring one another. Realizing that I serve Christ enables me to respond to leadership as a spiritual endeavor, which is more than a perfunctory or mindless performance of duties. "Preferring one another" encourages me to hold another in genuine esteem or honor, not continually trying to force my own way. Beyond this, I think we should be thankful for leadership as a gift of God. We should seek to follow leadership, and we should offer encouragement to leaders. Of course, a leader could take unfair advantage of followers who have this approach, but the Bible presents leaders as servants, thereby creating an appropriate balance. Q• How do you respond in obedience to leadership? A. This is not difficult for me because God made my personality one that likes to please, so it is not my nature to be unruly. However, if I disagree with the leader, I should express that disagreement, and if the issue is such that I could not obey in good conscience, I would go to a place where I could obey. Q• How do you as a leader in your own right work out the leadership roles and functions in your marriage? A. First, I recognize my husband ' s leadership and then I reckon with it. At times when I feel it is difficult to follow , it becomes my responsibility to recognize that God established his leadership role in my life. By "reckoning," I mean working through it in my own mind and talking through it with Paul. He has disciplines in his leadership that differ from mine. Therefore, his perspective may be different. But he listens to me and values my opinions. After we ' ve talked and even prayed about an issue, he determines how God is leading and makes the decision. My responsibility is to follow . "Servants , be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling , in single– ness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the lord, and not to men." Ephesians 6:5-7 8