Thursday, September 6, 2012
Ever heard the phrase "some people are just natural born leaders"? Maybe, but more often than not I think people are born with potential more so than they are born leaders. Leadership skills are learned and honed through experience. A lot of us will learn to lead by leading!!
A lot of times we take someone who has a lot of natural charisma and who are sometimes just plain loud and stick the label "leader" on them. Really? If we look for leaders this way then we are going to end up with a bunch of Sauls (1 Samuel 9). People who look good on the outside but lack character on the inside. The first thing I look for in a leader? (we are talking church leadership here). The oil of intimacy with Jesus. Everyone has a lamp, not everyone has oil (Matthew 25). And then obviously there is love, humility, and a willingness to lay oneself down for the people they are leading (all I could expound upon but not in this post!)
I have also heard it said that your not a leader if no one is following you. Well that's nice in theory but I wouldn't base the number of people following you on how good a leader you are. Look at Jesus, His own people murdered Him. By text book definition this would be a leadership FAIL but in fact Jesus was the wisest and best leader to ever walk the earth! An authentic characteristic of leadership is shown by a willingness to keep doing what is right even when no one else is doing it, which means that sometimes you will be left alone without a herd of followers.
I think being a good leader has less to do with taking charge and being out in front and more to do with setting an example (1 Peter 5:3) and yes, sometimes they go hand in hand. There is nothing wrong with those who have take charge personalities I am just saying that if we put our emphasis more on the outward personality and charisma of the leader than on the inward heart of the leader we are liable to miss it. Character is to leadership what the skeleton is to the body. It is the foundational structure on which good leadership rests. Being a leader has to do with who you are just as much about what you know because you can say what you know but only impart who you are. You cannot have sustained good leadership without inwardly having good character, and charisma is not character.
God evaluates leaders with different eyes than we do. How many of us would have chosen someone like Gideon to lead an army?! (Judges 6) According to the word he was cowardly and kept to himself. What about Moses the murderer, Noah the drunk, Jacob the liar, David the adulterer...
Even Samuel, the prophet of God, would have over looked the greatest leader in Old Testament history. 1 Samuel 16:6 says that Samuel would have anointed Eliab king if the Lord didn't stop him because Samuel was focused on his outward appearance. In fact, David was over looked by everyone. His brothers, his own father, and even the prophet of God...David was overlooked for leadership by everyone but God because God saw his heart. In scripture it says the reason why God chose David to be king was because of his HEART. So it is the spiritual posture of a person's heart that qualifies them for leadership in the kingdom not their outward appearance.
When we are looking for potential leaders among a crowd we must use our spiritual senses to discern a person’s heart in order to spot them, otherwise, like Samuel, it is very likely we will overlook some of the best people for the job.
Many times we can find a million reasons as to why we think we are "disqualified" for leadership in His Kingdom. But many times it is our "disqualifications" that actually qualify us! If we have a "YES!" in our hearts towards God then we are qualified. Don’t disqualify yourself for any reason and especially because you may be less outgoing than others. God looks at the heart and by the way, introverts make GREAT leaders, (Bill Gates, Ghandi, Einstien, just to name a few!)
We have the ultimate and best example of leadership through the example Jesus gave us. For my own personal life, I base a lot of my own thoughts about leadership off of 1 Peter 5:2-4. It's a foundational building block for me when it comes to leadership. TRUE leaders are marked by: character, humility, LOVE, selflessness, service, and passion. All of these traits transcend personality. It doesn't matter whether your are introverted or extraverted these traits are the staple to any good leader and ALL of them can be cultivated through intimacy with the Man who exuded them from His own life while on earth. The best leaders are the ones with FULL lamps.
I love this topic and I feel like I could potentialy write pages about it... so there is prolly more to come soon. :)