It’s been said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” (John Maxwell).
But let’s be honest: How well do we live all three together?
I know for me, there are times I neglect to model what I know and others I forget to seek what I don’t.
Yet, when I consider Maxwell's words, I'm reminded how what I know as a Christian leader must ultimately inspire others to become more.
So for the next couple months, I want us to focus on practical and powerful ways we can better demonstrate the qualities that make us who are...where we are.
In the meantime, let's start off with three things leaders know that everyone should…
1) Be Stubborn to Love
Whether we’re serving in marketplace, ministry, or extra-curricular roles, it’s important we see what we do as an extension of God’s love in motion. But perhaps you’re like me having wondered how to do this consistently in the face of busyness, prejudice, distraction, etc.?
If so, I submit to step up our love, we must step up our stubbornness to show it.
Now I know what you’re thinking: stubbornness is evil. I get it. However, if it’s rooted in goodness and godliness, can we honestly say it’s a bad thing1?
For instance, when we look at Jesus’ ministry, not only do we find an unconditional love steadfast in circumstance, but committed in referencing where it came from (i.e. his Father).
This leads me to an important realization: if we’re stubborn to love at all times, then we’ll see love as a visional reality rather than a missional priority.
Not to suggest programs and projects aren’t from God. I’m just saying if we make love the lens by which we see as opposed a means to an end, then we’ll mature in our ability to continually navigate people to the source of what we reflect2.
Bottom line: If you want to better showcase God’s love, then center your leadership on pointing people to Jesus. Love always cites its sources (Luke 3, John 1).
2) Be Apparently Transparent
Recently, I heard word of a senior pastor who encouraged his staff to suppress their struggles for “congressional appearance” purposes.
At first I figured he was stirring reproach; however, the more I pondered, the more I wondered if the motivation was rooted in fear above anything else. Granted, I can appreciate contrarian strategy assuming it’s Spirit-led in love; however, when a root motivation lies in self-preservation as opposed to life change, one must question.
This leads me to a second realization: While there’s a time to listen and a time to share, if we’re not honest about the realities of leadership or vulnerable about our cracks and scars, then we disallow God the chance to operate in and through them.
Again, I’m not saying we make testimony an agenda item. I’m just saying wherever we find ourselves, we must understand there are people in our path wrestling with something we’re struggling with or have struggled with. Thus, it makes no sense to pretend struggles, temptations, and failures aren’t bearable realities when truth is: faith is a journey inseparable from the ups and downs of life.
Bottom line: If we want to better reach people, we must recognize apparent transparency of past and present testimony as a key component in supporting one other (Ephesians 4, 5).
3) Don’t Just Find a Way…Make a Way
When it comes to the bivocational life, it doesn’t take a rocket science to know there’s not a one-size, fit-all way to live it. While it’s true the best way is often the most efficient way, whatever ‘way’ we choose, it’s paramount we not just find it, but make it.
For example, early in my youth pastor tenure, I realized while there wasn’t anything I could do to fix our mid-week attendance problem, there was something I could do to help youth stay on the same page when referencing content. The solve was simple: record the audio, edit it with the visual content applied, and distribute via social media.
Sure, the idea required extra work, but in the end, it provided a trackable short-term solution and an accessible, long-term resource. Now anytime I cite a past message, there’s at least a chance the youth will not only know what I’m talking about, but also have heard what I’m talking about.
Bottom line: Dreams can’t be realized until they’re developed. Therefore, don’t just consider what’s most important; focus on how you can better make it known with what you’ve been given (Matthew 25, 1 Peter 4).
Stay tuned next time when I’ll unveil my next three leadership tips; in the meantime, if you have questions or comments on the content, feel free to drop them below.
- Actually there’s a name for that (good stubbornness = determination)
- Note: This has tremendous implications in marriage as well (more on this in a later post)
Photo creds: http://www.ryanweimer.com
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.