Leaders: Born or Made?
Dennis is an elder at Grace Church. He has recently started as a missionary under the umbrella of the FCA. He is spearheading a new endeavor in our area called FCA Outdoors. For information about how to support him please follow this link to his FCA giving page.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose… - Romans 8:28 (ESV, italics added)
“Leaders are born they are not made,” some might say. “He or she is a natural born leader,” others assert. We have probably heard one or both of these in the past. These statements are generally accepted because they contain an element of truth. There is a percentage of the population that seems to have the “it” factor when it comes to leadership. However, real and true leadership is not solely dictated by personality type, genetics, or social environment. Real leadership emanates from something else.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a leader as a person that leads on organization, group, etc., or someone with the power or ability to lead other people. From a clinical sense leaders can be good or bad, but from a spiritual perspective there is only one way. It can be said that a leader creates an inspiring vision or goal for the future and motivates people to achieve the goal. Most human goals are temporal and small, whereas God’s goals are eternal and meaningful. God is the greatest leader and enables the greatest leaders in human history.
Think back through the Bible at some of the leaders God called into action. Were they all natural born leaders? Did Abraham qualify? No, he was deeply flawed. What about Moses? Nope, he was cowardly. Jonah? Nah, he ran and then whined. Surely David, he was a shepherd, a man after God’s own heart. Well he was also a murderer and adulterer. Peter denied Christ before he figured it out. Paul killed Christians until he was transformed on the road to Damascus. The great thing is God is in the business of using flawed people.
Then we get to Jesus, the greatest leader in the history of the world. He had the ability to lead a group. He also had the inspired vision for the future and was able to motivate people to achieve the vision. His vision transformed the world, and is still playing out 2000 years later. His plan is simple, obvious, and well thought out.
Contrary to popular belief, through the power of Jesus, we all have the ability to lead in some capacity. Our ability to be true lead is anchored solely in our confidence in Christ. You must ask Jesus what you can do in leadership. If the Spirit lives in you, it will be revealed. One caution, lead only what you have been called to lead. Many Christian try to lead everything. If you have not been called, you will be overwhelmed and burn out.
The Holy Spirit will equip you. For example, you would not bring Mariano Rivera in to pinch hit with 2 outs in 9th inning with bases loaded. It is not what he does. He closes out the game on the pitcher’s mound. You would not bring the produce manager from your grocery store to use as a lawyer. Pray about how and what to lead.
While a simple, obvious, and well thought out plan is good; there must be a defined “win” to be effective. A leader motivates people to achieve a goal (win). For a leader to be successful the “win” must be achievable, and the path must be obvious. If you are going to go from A to B, make the route clear. When leading there will always be temptations for distraction. However if the pathway to a “win” is clear, then distractions will be easier to see and avoid. Sometimes distractions take the form of “important” things. This is where leadership is tested.
Programs that do not get you from A to B consume too many valuable resources and time. Do not let the thought of losing people over a program keep you from reaching for the “win.” When we are sure of God’s calling, we can be sure of the outcome when we are obedient. In our society, people will be angered and upset with change. This is natural. However, if a program does not lead us where we need to go, we must be purposeful and loving in removing that program.
Many people like the idea of going out west, but do not have a specific plan or outcome in mind. When the Lord calls you, His plan will be specific and achievable only by His power. Not everyone will get on board with you, but others will. Sometimes the fear of losing people can prevent leaders from achieving the God given “win.” Losing people can be tough on leadership. Thus, the decisions made by leadership cannot be taken lightly and must have no hint of selfish gain attached.
Much of what I have written is from reading a book called Seven Practices of Effective Ministry. The book is co-authored by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones. The book is about the “WIN” and how real leadership gets you there. It made me think about the direction of my life, as well as my relationship with Christ. Many times I have just wanted to go west instead of fulfilling a specific purpose.
When the Lord called me into ministry, he gave me specific instructions that were simple, obvious, and well planned out. He showed me how to be a spiritual leader, and is continuing this work in my life. Ask him to reveal to you your leadership potential, and then work to put it into action. The best leaders are servants first, and servants always.
“If you think are leading and turn around to see no one is following, then you are only taking a walk” – Benjamin Hooks