If recent years have taught us anything for those living in the United States of America it is that leadership matters. Our country has been steeped in self-serving and destructive leadership for quite some time. This truth is revealed when taking an easy glance at our country’s societal landscape. From vaccines to race to education to politics to the economy–at every turn there is disunity. Even outside of politics and into the corporate world. Organizations and Fortune 500 companies have been wrecked with scandal and corruption. While we would hope that the Church of Jesus Christ nationally and around the world would be immune–we too have been filled with our fair share of corruption and scandals. What does all of this tell us? Leadership matters.
Serving as a pastor has been a rewarding experience. I have learned leadership lessons through success and failure. I have hurt and have been hurt. I have experienced jubilation and betrayal. With everything good and bad; I have found a deep appreciation. All of the experiences have made me who I am and have forged a different kind of leader within me.
In the effort to grow and become a better servant of others God has led me in focusing on the importance of becoming a “high capacity” kind of leader. This has nothing to do with ego or status. This has everything to do with a servanthood kind of leadership and growing my capacity to serve and love people more effectively. Over the past year or so I have learned it’s important we strive in:
- Enlarging our theology of God’s role in how we lead: How deep does our faith go? Do we trust God will lead us? Do we trust God will give us the clarity and wisdom needed?
- Enlarging our circle of people different than ourselves: How diverse is the group around us? From whom do we draw influence, wisdom, and advice? Diversity of voices can nurture stronger leadership.
- Enlarging our willingness to cope and adapt with change: No one leads in a silo. True leadership arises from the varying circumstances which cause us to stay true to our convictions and direction.
- Enlarging our “tool box” of disciplines: Are we doing what is necessary to hear the voice of God? Are we disciplining ourselves? Are we positioning ourselves to be effective in how we serve others and show them the love of Jesus?
At first glance I can imagine many would think this list reflects important principles for leaders in a church. It doesn’t. You may also think these are all common sense. I assure you, they are not. This short list is for anybody and everybody and requires intentionality. At the very least all of us are the leaders of our own path. We are the ones who make the decisions. We are the ones who steer our steps. God guides, leads, and provides. But we make the first step every time.
In taking those steps, I encourage you: Stay focused! Your leadership matters. In a society starving for true leaders who reflect the best in what humanity can offer, choose to lead well! Show a better way. Beware of the following traps which take away your focus and drive:
- Choosing to be involved in things God did not call us to.
- Fighting the wrong battles which distract and drain everything in you.
- Chase every trend and fad thinking the answer to everything is within them.
- Striving to be someone else or in someone else’s situation. Own your lot!
At the very least, from one leader to another, I pray you will take tomorrow and recognize that when your feet hit the floor, its game on. How you lead tomorrow matters. Lead yourself and others well.
Choose to serve; not to domineer. Choose Jesus; not the flesh. Choose people; not advancement. Choose love; not selfishness.