“Sustaining Leadership Practices for Church Growth in Cambodia” / Part 6 /

1.1              3.2. Jealousy and conflict in leadership roles 

Throughout the church history of what is called “jealousy”, James R White, highlights that “They struggled with difficulties in the church that ran the gamut from personal bickering, gossiping, and slander, to sin in the camp, strife between parties, and jealousy among church leaders.”[1] Similarly, the case of jealousy also occurred among church leadership role in Cambodia. What kinds of things do leaders jealous and conflict about? Fighting for everything is the answer to that question. Now we will discuss one by one about the substantive issues among leadership role. First, I am going to talk about their jealousies and conflicts over leadership. Donald C. Palmer is stating that “ position  in leadership is one of the major issues in many fits of jealousy and conflicts. In churches, the most frequent issue in serious conflict is over the church leaders and pastors – their ministries, personalities, leadership styles, preaching and teaching abilities, and their families.”[2] As what is mentioned above, I have observed that even in the bible institutions, missionary organizations, and the church itself, some of the most critical jealousies and conflicts center on leadership roles. It seems that they are forgetting about their calling to the ministry and spread the Words of God.  The voice of gossip seems everywhere. Some might say it is no good to talk about conflict among church leadership, but when you put the conflict into the discussion, it might help us to avoid or not to repeat it again. Through my opinion, I think that never skip this part of jealousy and conflict in the leadership role, for it is a crucial thing to deal with for the purpose of a healthy relationship. 

Where the jealousy and controversy come from? Bishop N. A. Tackies- Yarboi says that “Pride! Pride sometimes creates bitterness, for it strongly fuels jealousy and envy. Jealousy is simply a sense of insecurity, envy, or resentment that comes because of the unique positioning of another.”[3] Somehow, jealousy is often reinforced as a series of particularly high emotions and constructed as a universal human experience; it has been a theme of many artistic works. By the way, “It means that jealous is the negative feeling that sometimes you develop towards a person because of their achievements, it uniques qualities, beauty, opportunities, possession, promotion, success, etc. It is that internal emotional feeling that does not make you rejoice at the success or joy of another person”[4], adds Bishop N. A. Tackies- Yarboi. This is what has happened to church leadership in Cambodia. Traditionally, jealousy and controversy just happen when the new leader comes to join the group. They have no unity and as well as just allow the jealousy and hatred to reign in their hearts and sit in their ministry. We know that they are struggling with conflict and that is about something that they need to learn to open their heart kindly so that they can concentrate on the mission of church growth as their main duty.

Indeed, the spirit of jealousy draws our feeling into hatred and it will come up with the conflict. Then it will break our relationship among our denomination into many pieces. Being a church leader, one needs to be aware of this. Honestly, among my denomination itself, controversy just broke up the core team leader into two different parties. They cannot work together at last. One party just accused another one party and also says something really bad about each other. As a result, some leaders decided to leave the group because they don’t want to see issues anymore. To draw a conclusion here, I think that leaders should learn how to follow Jesus’ way by forgiving, loving, and reconciliation among the group so that they can become one of the bodies of Christ. 
2.                  4.Issues in church leadership ethics 
What is the meaning of ethics? Bush, Joseph Earl introduces that, “Ethics can be defined simply as critical reflection on the moral life, or critical reflection on morality.”[5] However, I think that morality is a little bit more difficult to offer its definition. Some might think that morality is the terms of duties, the terms of human nature, the terms of human virtues, the terms of human in doing things, the terms of interpersonal relations, the terms of human characteristics, or in the terms of consequences to come. All of this is about morality and ethics is about something that tries to make sense of it all. Then what is church leadership ethics? Ethical leadership is something about leaders’ behavior and treatment, and at the same time, it is a very essential dimension of the church ministry. Currently, in Cambodia church, there are so many issues and arguments to what ethical leadership is and as to what it means to act and live as moral of leadership community. Orji, Felix Clarence said that “Leadership ethics must be shown in the Christian life, community, and aim at leading people to God and to a life embodies God in the universe likewise, if there are some issues in moral leadership, then it will be blocked people to come to God. Church growth will be affected too.

Once again, what is church leadership ethics? Odom, Lamar addresses that, “Church leadership ethics is something about doing the right thing.”[7] At.3 this point, I concluded that it was not. While, ultimately, ethics is about doing the right thing, defining ethics is such a manner minimizes the complexity of the various types of ethical dilemmas leaders face. Although the desired end result is to do the right thing, when confronted with ethical challenges, leaders often have difficulty achieving this simple goal. Moreover, sometimes the right thing may, on the surface, appear to be the wrong thing. Again, while doing the right thing is important, the process of achieving the right result is equally important. Leaders must ensure that they avoid using an unethical process to achieve an ethical result. Therefore, what if leaders fail to do or act the right thing? In another way round, when pastors or church leaders fail to act ethically, then those with whom they are entrusted and believed to lead surely will lose confidence and entrust-worthy in their leadership capacity to carry out the church ministry and church growth mission. Unable to be avoided, when members of core leaders began to lose trustworthiness in their leader, his or her therefore power, performance, validity, effectiveness, potency, dignity, morality, and virtues will be diminished and at the same time leaders or pastors may find that they are in the midst of a leadership crisis. Those are the specific sentiment of many Cambodian church leaders and pastors regarding their local church’s leaders.

The testimonial of this crisis over tops of all leadership behavior and practical attitude. It touches all local churches including its denomination, church missions, and even our most sacred religious institutions. Indeed, there are a lot of more things about ethical failures, which church leader and pastor need to be aware of because when she or he fails to behave ethically, her and his failure is most often the result of their unethical use of power and privilege. “When leaders or pastors use power properly, ethical results, good results are most often achieved; by the same token, the misuse of power and privilege often results in unethical behavior and, ultimately, bad results,”[8] says Odom, Lamar. Anyway, this part of this thesis is just designed to offer the nascent and established church leaders and pastors a basic understanding of the leadership ethics challenges while giving some issues awareness to help facilitate resolving ethical dilemmas. 

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