Good leadership is hard to find these days, have you noticed?
Whether in the political, corporate, or religious arena, we see leader after leader fall or abuse their position. Many become obsessed with power, wealth, or fame and end up neglecting the very people they were called to lead.
In many ways, we live in a leadership culture that is not too distant from the sins of the leaders in Amos’s day:
“Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory
and stretch themselves out on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
and calves from the midst of the stall,
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
who drink wine in bowls
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!”
(Amos 6:4–6, ESV)
Only grace can transform you into a God-honoring and effective leader, protected from the traps that accompany being at the top. How can you take advantage of that grace? Here are three principles that every leader–and every follower of Jesus Christ–must remember when stewarding any God-given authority or influence well.
(NOTE: Even if you don’t hold a position officially recognized or defined as leader, you are still responsible for guiding some people in some way. Think of your specific situation as you read and apply these leadership principles.)
1. Good Leaders Are Motivated By Fear (Of God)
Some form of fear always shapes a leader. If it’s not fear of God, it will be fear of man, fear of circumstances, fear of the future, fear of finances, or some other fear. Leading in a broken world is scary, and you’ll never defeat fear by denying its existence. Don’t succumb, but rather admit and own your fear and then run to the only One who can overcome it.
2. Good Leaders Feel Small, Weak, And Unable
Too many leaders assume their role with a “bring on the world, I’m more than ready” attitude. I must confess: I graduated seminary with this attitude. Good and God-honoring leaders need to live with a healthy sense of inability, feeling unworthy for the task at hand. Not only will this increase your reliance on the Lord’s wisdom, power, and grace, it also makes you humble, approachable, patient, and compassionate.
3. Good Leaders View Success And Hardship Accurately
A good leader does not take personal credit for what only God can produce, nor does a good leader confuse worldly success as God’s endorsement of their character. At the same time, a good leader looks at inevitable hardship through the lens of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, power, and faithfulness. Here’s the reality that every leader needs to remember during trouble: the God who called you to lead never sends you without first going before you.
So whether you’re a pastor, elder, ministry coordinator, CEO, team leader, project manager, parent, spouse, or volunteer, you have been called to lead and influence in some way.
More specifically, you have been tasked with making the invisible love of God visible to the people you lead. You have been divinely placed to bring glory to the King of Kings within your sphere of influence.
You could not wish to be part of anything more exciting than this!
1. Where is God calling you to lead or exercise influence? Consider more than just one role.
2. What is intimidating about leading in these areas? How can your fear of God help overcome this worldly fear?
3. Are there ways in which you may be approaching your leadership with arrogance? Why should you be more humble?
4. Where has God given you success? Have you been tempted to take credit when God deserves the glory?
5. How can you make the invisible love of God visible this week in your role of influence? Be specific, then ask the Lord for the grace to make it happen!