I am delivering this lesson tomorrow to a group of ministry leaders. Rather than limit it to one presentation, I thought it may be helpful to readers of this blog.
Leadership is a trust. I Corinthians 4:2 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
Like other spiritual gifts, leadership is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:8 “if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
The spiritual gift of leadership is closely related to the gift of administration and, interestingly, the spiritual gift of pastor/shepherd. The Greek word for the spiritual gift of leadership is proistemi. This word means to lead, to assist, to protect and to care for others. http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gift-of-leadership
The gift of Leadership is the God given ability to lead people to accomplish God’s vision and goals. The biblical image used when describing leadership is “shepherd”. A Shepherd does not force his will upon the sheep, rather he tends and cares for them. The sheep instinctively follow a good shepherd. Jesus describes himself as the “Good Shepherd”, and calls Church leaders his “Under Shepherds”. The “Under Shepherds” must faithfully follow the example of the “Good Shepherd” and lay their lives down for the welfare of the sheep (John 10:14-18). The person gifted by God with Leadership abilities, will display the same servant leadership principles evidenced by Jesus and the Apostles. (http://www.assessme.org/about/spiritual-gifts/leadership.aspx)
Like with others gifts, God expects us to nurture, explore and utilize the gift of leadership for His glory.
We have become stewards of the gift of leadership. We must make the most of it, as ones who will give an account to God. See the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. (If you don’t use what you’ve been given you may lose what you’ve been given.)
Are leaders born or made? “Leaders are neither born nor made. Leaders are summoned. They are called into existence by circumstances, and those who rise to the occasion are leaders.” (Leonard Sweet – Summoned to Lead)
Let’s be the best leaders we can possibly be for God’s glory!
4 Essential -(imperative, indispensable, necessary_- Elements of Leadership:
Note that the title is 4 Essential Elements – not THE 4 Essential Elements. There are many more! In his book, Spiritual Leadership: Principle of Excellence for Every Believer, J. Oswald Sanders lists: discipline, wisdom, decision, courage humility, integrity and sincerity, humor, anger, patience, friendship, tact and diplomacy, inspirational power, executive ability, etc.
(adjective: not false or copied; genuine; real.)
Synonyms: credible, real, genuine, legitimate, pure, reliable, trustworthy.
Paul’s declaration of authenticity: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:9
“Followers trust leaders to lead. When leaders don’t lead, followers stop trusting their leaders.”
There is no leadership issue more important than trust. Without trust, we are not leaders.
Trust is fragile: it takes a lifetime to build trust and only a moment to lose it.
For discussion: Name some things that can compromise our authenticity:
The ability to look forward to God’s plan.
Leaders must be solutions oriented; anyone can point out problems, it takes a leader to fix them.
“The term vision is a key buzzword in today’s ministry world. I believe that vision is vital to your people seeing what “could be” – what our great God can accomplish through them (Eph. 3:20) in your ministry community.” (Aubrey Malphurs –Advanced Strategic Planning)
Leaders must 1) accurately assess the current situation of the group they are leading, 2) discern where God wants to take the group and 3) implement the best plan in order to get the group there.
Vision is not just a pipe dream. Vision isn’t fantasy. Vision is not wishful thinking. Vision is hard work, directed by the Spirit, demands great sacrifice, requires faith and embraces risk.
Three of the most renowned Biblical visionaries: Moses, Nehemiah, Paul. Study their leadership!
Visionary leaders must have foresight. “A mark of leaders, an attribute that puts them in a position to show the way for others, is that they are better than most at pointing the direction to go. Foresight is the “lead” that the leader has. Once leaders lose this lead and events start to force their hand, they are leaders in name only.” Robert K. Greenleaf
Leaders, ask of the group you lead…
- What is?
- What could and should be?
- What will it take to make it happen?
For discussion: What are some of the things that may prevent leaders from being visionary?
What are some Biblical responses to these things?
(Paul) II Thessalonians 3:7-8 “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.”
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” (Colin Powell)
It is reasonable to expect full time ministers to work 50 or more hours per week.
Make the distinction between selfish ambition and godly ambition.
“Pastors of 50 or fewer people – if you work and pray as though you have 100 people, you may soon have.”
We must guard against time wasters: (social media, non-essentially long meetings, extended lunch or coffee breaks).
It is necessary to not only work hard, but to also work smart. Learn to utilize tools and innovations such as the Internet, teams within the church, and resources from other pastors/leaders.
Be diligent in your work for the Lord. We cannot hide laziness!
For discussion: What things might contribute to the reputation that pastors are not hard workers?
- Spiritually Deep
I Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (NIV)
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” (NLT)
One of the most sobering identities of a leader: Example. People actually follow!
Remember: As goes the leader, so go the followers.
“If the preacher always preaches shallow messages, the church members will never learn how to swim in the deep waters.“
It has been said, “Whatever you see exemplified in church members can be traced back to the pastor.” While there are exceptions to this statement, there are elements of truth to it.
A few indicators of spiritual maturity:
- Stability – we will not be wishy-washy in our spirituality.
- Humility – we think of ourselves less and others more.
- Practicing sound doctrine – Not prone to flaky theology or bandwagon gimmicks.
- Thick skinned (Not easily offended) – it is hard to hurt our feelings.
- Faith – God has proven Himself over and over, we do not doubt Him!
- Persistence – we refuse to quit.
For discussion: What must we do in order to assure our spiritual stability?
Are you as effective as a leader as you would like to be?
In what areas is God speaking to you about your personal leadership development?
What is your plan of action?