Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

My dad pastored a couple of churches, including one that he planted, before leaving the ministry to start his own lumber business. I still haven’t plumbed the full extent of his impact on my life and ministry, since sometimes I don’t notice his influence until I am in the midst of a ministry conflict or crisis, and see myself doing what I saw him do. He served faithfully and humbly, ready to give anyone anything. For years, he had a personalized license plate on his car: “OTHERS”. That word summed up his view on ministry and leadership.

Of course, when we think about leading a team, church or organization, a key task of the leader is helping to develop a common vision, strategizing to reach the goals that that vision mandates, building unity around the common dream, and motivating his teammates, especially when adversity arises and their self-motivation begins to wane. Dynamic leadership can then be understood as “understanding the direction to be taken, and inspiring others to go in the same direction.”  Or, as Robert Clinton defines it: “Leadership is a dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacity influences God’s people toward His purposes for that group” (The Making of a Leader, 14).

Some basic principles serve as a starting point, then, for a biblical leader:

  • People are made in the image of God and therefore have intrinsic worth (Ge. 1:27-28)
  • People are motivated to perform with excellence in recognition that everything is to be done to the glory of God (Col. 3:23)
  • People will not grow and develop unless they are trusted and given freedom both to succeed and fail
  • A leader is appointed by God and assumes authority from Him (Ro. 13:1)
  • Successful leaders view others as friends, not as subordinates, and interact with them in a spirit of openness and humility (John 15:15)

A biblical leader-servant exemplifies the following characteristics:

  • Maintains and builds unity (Eph. 4:3). Avoids needless arguments about ownership, credit or territory.
  • Is not threatened by others’ strengths and accomplishments. Recognizes the value of these strengths and uses them to help achieve the goals of the group.
  • Builds others up. Encourages and lifts up others in every possible way. Celebrates the victories of others, no matter how small.
  • Is pro-active to move issues ahead, while maintaining meekness and consideration of others.
  • Speaks well of others at all times.
  • Seeks to build a broad base of leaders to lead with her.
  • Recognizes and uses authority appropriately.
  • Does not draw his meaning, worth or reputation from the position he holds.
  • Does not make decisions based on his progress, advancement, comfort, increase of authority or position at the expense of those he serves.
  • Is committed to his followers’ progress, ministries and their increase.
  • Develops other servant leaders.

(Both the list of principles and the characteristics are from Omega Course: Practical Church Planter Training, Manual 4, 77-78)

The truly humble leader realizes that he isn’t better or even more accomplished than those he leads. And he doesn’t care. He lives to serve them, and is truly happiest when THEY succeed.

The Intersection of Humility and Dynamic Leadership I

The Intersection of Humility and Dynamic Leadership III

Humility, at its most basic biblical definition, means knowing who you are in Christ. Our identity in Christ is the only sufficient tool that helps bring us freedom from arrogance and pride. We understand that in ourselves, we don’t measure up, will never measure up, but in Christ, all things are possible, including submission to God and others. Humility is most often demonstrated through sacrificial love of other people.

Radical submission to Christ can be practiced by doing whatever we know Christ wants us to do –whatever the anticipated consequences. We put His desires first, and in so doing, our own desires are, over time, transformed to be like His.

Dynamic leadership can be understood through three words: vision, influence and motivation. A dynamic Christian leader casts a big dream vision and helps others discover the big dream vision God has for their lives. She influences and motivates people to move forward in their walk with Christ and personal growth.

When we look at all three concepts together, we see an upside-down model of Godly leadership. Instead of a leader who uses and manipulates people to meet his own agenda, we see a leader who lives to serve others, and meet their God-given agenda. Of course, this is the opposite of what we frequently expect from our bosses and CEO’s, and it is only possible for the leader who understands his identity in Christ and realizes the incredible power of submission and service.

Philippians 2 provides an excellent picture of the leader-servant, and Paul bases the picture on the example of Christ. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. . .Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:3,5-8).

If we look more closely at Jesus’ teaching and example, we can see that Jesus’ ministry was founded on helping others achieve success (John 15:15-16). If our Creator, Lord and King can humble Himself to be one of us, call us “friend,” die for us, and take on the nature of a servant – I have a hard time coming up with reasons why I shouldn’t have a similar attitude.

Paul also taught and practiced a similar form of leadership. In 1 Thessalonians 2, he emphasizes how he was not a burden to the Thessalonians, but instead was gentle, like a mother caring for her children. In Galatians, he encourages us to “bear one another’s burdens.” And of course, we already saw in Philippians how Paul encouraged us, on the basis of Christ’s example, to have a humble, servant attitude.

In 1 Peter 5, the apostle Peter also highlights the need for elders to be “eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to them.” When Peter uses that last phrase, he is harkening back to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20:25-28, where Jesus says that the one who wants to be great must first be a servant – just as Jesus himself came to serve, not to be served.

The Intersection of Humility and Dynamic Leadership II

The Intersection of Humility and Dynamic Leadership III