Leadership Development is one of our core values as a ministry and as a movement. Where we are today would be impossible if those before us never valued raising the next generation of leaders. I remember this quote emphasizing the importance of leadership:
“Humanity currently faces three extraordinary threats: the threat of annihilation as a result of a nuclear accident or war, the threat of a worldwide plague or ecological catastrophe, and deepening leadership crisis in most of our institutions. Unlike the possibility of plague or nuclear holocaust, the leadership crisis will probably not become the basis for a best-seller or a blockbuster movie, but in many ways it is the most urgent and dangerous of the threats we face today, if only because it is insufficiently recognized and little understood.” – Warren Bennis, founder of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California
Crisis of leadership is serious. It can make or break a nation. The world needs leaders who are brave enough to take on the challenge. But what makes a great leader? How do we lead people in a way that honors God? Here are some insights that could help us put leadership in the right perspective:
Leaders lead by following God’s lead.
The foundation of leadership is being under God’s governance. Leaders who are conscious to follow God’s leadership in their lives rely on His wisdom and not on their wits, His heart and not their interests and lastly, His example and never their preference. As Henry Blackaby defines it, “Spiritual leadership is moving people to God’s agenda”. A good question to ask is,”what does God want me to do as I lead others?” Whether it’s leading a family, a group of classmates for a project or running a company, leaders should always be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is no dichotomy between organizational and spiritual leadership. We can only work powerfully when we act prayerfully.
Is everything preceded and followed-through by prayer? Or is prayer merely a last resort when things go out of hand?
Leaders lead by serving others.
At the heart of leadership is service. John Maxwell said, “people don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care”. Leaders easily make the common mistake of sacrificing the benefit of the people they lead in order to conform to policy. It should be the other way around. Policies and systems are crafted so we could serve people better.
Consider Joseph, who was sold as a slave yet was entitled to be an heir. For him, it was function first, before position. In his years of slavery, he served in the prison cell and was eventually called to serve an ungodly ruler, Potiphar. In his faithful service, God used him to save an entire nation from famine. Imagine what we can do when our focus is never on ourselves but on how we can serve others!
How far would you go to serve a purpose or a need other than yours? Are you willing to go the extra mile even if it is not called for?
Leaders lead 24/7.
Leadership is not about position or title, but influence. Just because it’s no longer my team, nor my responsibility, doesn’t give me an excuse to “clock out” of leadership. We are constantly influencing people everywhere we go – on the streets, under pressure and most especially, at home. It’s not about what you do but who you are. We don’t have to wait for a leadership position just to lead. By following the example of Jesus, we are influencing others wherever you are today.
What kind of influence do you bring with you? How can your life (not just your role or position) positively affect the world around you?
Leaders lead by example.
Many leaders would make others do things they wouldn’t do themselves. On the contrary, leaders should set the example. Pastor Steve once shared how his son learned to ice skate after seeing kids his age skate on their own. The same thing happened when bought Alonzo’s first bike. We wanted to show him how it’s done, and made sure he’d practice first with training wheels. But when we saw kids bike without smaller wheels, he said “I can do it, dad. If these kids can do it, I can do it too.” True enough, to our surprise, he drove his bike on his own just like those kids did.
Paul wrote about this in the book of Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”(1 Corinthians 1:11). Ultimately, people can trust our leadership knowing that we are following the example of Christ.
What kind of example are you setting to those who are following your lead?
Leadership is challenging, but fulfilling. When we see people discovering the purpose and plan of God while they are under our leadership, the joys are insurmountable. As we respond to the call of leadership, whether it be leading the home, leading a Victory Group or an organization, my prayer is that we would be filled with God’s grace. May we be filled with wisdom and courage to make the right decisions in leading God’s people according to God’s agenda.