Lessons on Leadership, part 1
Special Wood Shavings
I continue to discover that leadership is more of an art than a science. Add to this the element of a spiritual context and it even gets more challenging, I think? (It is likely that I am making it all more complicated than it really is – I have a tendency to do this with nearly everything.) For example in John 13 Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and tells them to do likewise.
For the last 30 plus years I have been a leader in various ways. The first situation I remember is when I gathered some of my junior high friends to do cleanup at construction sites where my dad worked. Early in high school I was elected to lead an informal, which grew into a formal youth group. At the time I really didn’t think much about the process of leadership or efficiency or stuff like that, I just liked to do stuff with other people. One of the lessons from the recent training is that I generally don’t do stuff unless it is with others.
Since those high school years there have been a variety of leadership roles from project manager of a production class in college to starting a new ministry in Russia. What continues to baffle me is why people “let” me lead. Generally speaking I do not have some key natural abilities for productive leadership. I realize this sounds negative, but it isn’t to me. God has, I believe strongly, called me to be a spiritual leader! So now more than ever I am seeking God’s heart, through prayer and study, for His leadership of me. My greatest desire is to become what God designed me to be!
It is likely people have chosen me to lead in the past is because I like the “spotlight” a bit and I like a challenge among other things. My hope and prayer is that these traits grow so that I truly become a Godly leader. The training confirmed that I too often venture into leadership without all the “tools” necessary to be successful. I have a lot to learn.
Something also confirmed about me is that I consistently like change! It is said that the only thing consistent is change. I guess this is convenient for me since I like it so much. Before going any farther though about consistency I must state the fact (often assumed and therefore under respected in my opinion) that God is the ONLY consistency in all of existence.
Now back to the issue of liking change. I tend to be very adaptable and good at naturally going with the flow. I have been characterized as being a – chameleon. As a chameleon I adapt to my surroundings, not that I try to hide. The danger with having these traits is that I can easily be too adaptable and go too much with the flow. I am learning that a few of the greatest factors related to change are: truth, facts and convictions. This is terribly inconvenient since I enjoy most “feeling” my way through nearly everything. Feeling in this regard is more related to intuition and regular adjustment (change), which may or may not align with the truth and facts. The nature of using intuition is antithetical to convictions. (But I really didn’t want to write that last statement and want to defend otherwise.)
I will stop for now, you might already think I was really done long ago. I would love feedback – good, bad, or ugly (but please share the bad and ugly with kindness).
But wait, there is more. Hahah. The following are my first impressions and intuition. What do you think? What do you think God thinks about these topics?
My definition of a spiritual leader and leadership:
A spiritual leader is a man or woman who: 1. is in the lifelong process of loving God in every way and passing it on to the next generation (Shema, Deut. 6:4-9), 2. constantly seeks to obediently follow Jesus, 3. is empowered by the Holy Spirit, 4. is informed by the Bible, and 5. is motivated by the desire to glorify God. The natural and progressive result is a person whom God uses to lead others to Himself! This person is a disciple maker (Matthew 28:18-20). Only Jesus was and is a perfect Spiritual Leader, Disciple Maker.
Spiritual leadership is the process of God using a spiritual leader to lead (encourage, influence, guide, mentor, ?) others to be Jesus’ disciple makers. This is a process of God’s design and will. It is God’s Will – God’s Way (a phrase I believe God gave me some years ago). It is about BEING who and what God made us to BE and from that flows the doing.
Key verses: Deut 6:4-9, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 6:40, (I need to add lots more)