Leadership skills will define whether an individual in leadership is successful or not. So where do you go to find the principles needed to ensure successful leadership? There are many sources but the truest source is the word of God. Here we will look at what scripture says and talk about how it relates to walking in Christian leadership.
Is A Servant
Matthew 20:26 says (paraphrased), “ whoever wants to become great must first become a servant”
Often times when we look at the natural order people follow, whether it’s with a job, a volunteer position or staff at church, we see individuals starting with smaller tasks and working their way up to overseeing larger ones. Parallel to this is leadership. It’s easy to envision ourselves overseeing large groups of people or fulfilling important tasks, but what we don’t always think about when it comes to being a leader is that in order to be a good leader we must learn to serve. Serving usually requires doing the jobs that go unseen. It exists in the giving of our time and energy where recognition is not usually given. It’s doing the tasks that others never want to do. It’s something that requires heart, rather than talent or gifting or more often the case; becomes about the heart, rather than our talents and gifting. God is always after the heart and even in leadership He is looking for the heart to be in the right place because He knows that everything will flow from there. (Matthew 15:18 “but the things that proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart”)
Looks To Other Leaders
Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith”
It’s of great value to have people in your life who can speak into you; providing you wisdom, counsel and direction. Just having them in your life provides an example for you to imitate and live by. There are many great leaders out there. Some without holding that title publicly and it is worth your investment to build relationships with those who will not only lead by example but even greater, are willing to mentor you as a leader.
Much of what we learn comes through experience. Even if we go to college and finish out our degrees, it’s taking what we learn and living it that truly provides us with knowledge and understanding. This is exactly what leaders in your life will provide you. Their experience, which in turn will give you a greater knowledge and understanding of things that you may have never learned or even thought about on your own.
A common saying, ‘always respect your elders’ has existed for decades because someone knew the value that others can share in our lives. People who have walked different walks of life, have lived longer or simply just have a lot of life experiences have so much to offer if we are willing to listen. When we pair that with integrity, trust and like minded faith there is gold to be discovered.
Places Their Trust In God
Isaiah 41:10 “ so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
What would Christian leadership be if it were not for our faith in our Creator. As much as this saying is true, we struggle sometimes when it comes to having faith in different areas of our lives. Being a leader doesn’t mean that we will not come across struggle or hardship. Gods word tells us to actually expect it. (John 16:33 “ Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows…) Being a Christian leader does mean however, that though there may be hardship we are to turn our sights to Him, trusting that He will make a way where we can’t. (John 16:33 cont. “…But take heart, for I have overcome the world”)
Walking in leadership will have its ups and downs. There’s a lot of responsibility to carry. For yourself and for others. Challenges will come, but as leaders who have faith in God we must always remind ourselves that we can lay it down at His feet and trust that He will make a way.
Helps Others To Lead
Phillipians 2:4 “not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interest of others”
Good leaders don’t just lead, they teach others to lead as well. Leadership is a skill just as much as it is a gifting or talent. We can have the gifting within us but without the teaching and experience it may never come to its full potential. Our leadership therefore, rests on taking what is in us and growing that through our learning and experience. When we look at it through this perspective we see the significance in helping others to lead. Just as people have come into our lives and given us learning opportunities to grow, we can do the same with the people in our own lives.
We find here that leadership is not just about ourselves. We may carry individual responsibilities but our role goes far beyond those and as the scripture above says, ‘we look out for the interests of others’. Everyone has the potential to lead. Whether they pursue that is up to them but if the people in our lives show a natural talent or desire to walk in leadership then that is our opportunity to pour into them what we have learned.
Walks In Humility
James 4:10 “ Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up”
When we look at everything that is mentioned above we realize that in order to walk those things out it will require something. Helping others to lead, serving people, trusting God; these are all things that can only be accomplished when we come to them with humility. Humility is all about laying oneself down with another in mind. Whether it’s laying down our pride as we come before God in trust or laying down our ego to help others rise in leadership, humility is at the root. It’s the catalyst to us operating with a right heart and what allows everything we do to flow from a healthy source.
Here in James it talks about humbling ourselves before the Lord and by this he will lift us up. There is so much truth to be gained in just this short sentence. When others seek to lift themselves up in leadership positions what they often find is that they fall. If they don’t appear to have fallen on the outside where it’s more noticable, it’s almost always true that they have fallen within the inside where only they may notice. On the flip side of this, is the leader that rises to potential because they’ve placed themselves in a position of humility rather than ego or pride. Here they seek to serve others, lead others for others sake and above all else; serve God. Where one feels such an act is somehow stepping down, is actually an act that causes one to rise up.
There are many characteristics and principles that can define Christian leadership. Here are just a few that one can pursue walking in. As long as a leader has a hunger to follow after God and grow in who they are as well as the talents and giftings God has blessed them with, they are headed in the right direction.