The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

Don’t be a Diotrephes

Bible Character: Diotrephes

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.  So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us.  Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers.  3 John 9-10 NIV

The author, John the apostle, is pointing out some of his frustrations with Diotrephes.  One can conclude from the verses that Diotrephes is a leader of a Church, and his influence is having a negative effect on the mission.

The First Shall be Last

John exposes one of the great faults of Diotrephes, he loves to be first.  Leadership simply starts and ends with serving others.  If the selfish desires creep in to our leadership, overall effectiveness quickly diminishes.

Luke 22:26, states, But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.


This is a tough one!  Our human nature seems to gravitate us towards talking about others, sometimes negatively.  There seems to be a daily encounter with a situation where the opportunity to gossip arrives, and the human tendency is to participate.  But leadership is not granted the privilege to slander others.


What does it mean to be welcoming?  In the verse above Diotrephes was unwelcoming because he felt threatened by others who did not agree with him.  That’s usually a bad approach to leadership.  If we have no diversity or conflict in our organization, we’re probably not fostering the differing opinions that are needed to make wise decisions.

Diotrephes was being a jerk, current day leaders can learn from his mistakes.


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