The ability to boss people around is leadership in its most raw form – unpolished, unrefined. And most often, unwelcome. (Unless you’re a Marine.)
Picture the neighborhood bully or the bossy big sister. Yep, that was me. Responsible, dependable, organized, able to see the big picture and how all the pieces fit together, etc. But less than tactful, with more concern for my position than for those I led. Heavy on the authority side, and lacking in love.
For good reason, my siblings didn’t appreciate my management skills – and I don’t blame them.
Ministry done well isn’t about exerting my authority or placing my supposed brilliance or skill-set on display. We’re not auditioning for Law and Order or This Church’s Got Talent.
True leadership motivated by love doesn’t elevate self – it lifts others to greater growth in their knowledge of Him.
In everything I say, everything I do, in casual conversations, in planning meetings or in front of hundreds, am I thoughtful and wise in discussions and praying through decision-making? Are my efforts carried out with a caliber that honors both individuals and the God I serve? Are the chosen methods effective in reaching our goals? Is genuine love perceived in the process from start to finish?
Every position filled is an opportunity to display God’s character and to inspire those around me. By holding a crown above their heads and encouraging those we lead to reach the potential God created within, by cheering them on in this universal conflict between dark and light.
Juggling, administrating, coordinating, listening, serving, guiding, facilitating, planning and delegating are all part of the role. It’s not about my image, but my influence. How are people relating to the one leading? And how are their lives being impacted for Jesus Christ by my leadership as I seek to follow Him?
Here I am. Send me. Use me. Change me. Do something good with me, through me, around me, for the good of the Kingdom.
As children of the Most High God, it helps to remember: He’s the King. We’re His subjects. The floor in God’s throne room is level – He’s the only one lifted high. I don’t bow to you. You don’t bow to me. We bow and submit to Him, and in loving service we care for each other.
It’s how the world will know we belong to Him.
In providing the example, He left His throne and wrapped Himself in dust. Then He walked dusty roads to meet people and lift them out of their present distresses and crippling oppressions, to give them new life.
When I’m tempted to be less than diplomatic I remind myself who the Master Designer is. His plans were laid in place from before the beginning of time.
And He included me – and you! And anyone else who wants to join His family, His team!
The world has more than enough leaders who spout the devil’s lies and promote his agenda. I want to be brave enough and accomplished enough to proclaim truth, and to give evidence of that truth by the way I live and interact with others.
God whispers to each of us, Come. And wisdom cries, Come.
To seek His power, strength, knowledge and understanding, mercy extended, the light of His love – all flowing through me and overflowing into the hearts, minds and souls of those around me… whether counseling and praying with a woman in a quiet room after church, or directing the preparations for our next big event, whether cleaning the building or on the platform – He makes me aware that it’s not my plan that He gets to be part of. (Isn’t He so lucky!?!) It’s about His plan being done His way. And the more time I spend with Him, the better equipped I’ll be in whatever role He’s called me to.
Jesus didn’t call us to a cattle-drive.
He called us to shepherd His people – His church. His body here on the earth.
And those who lead best are the ones who follow Him close.