No one knows the future. We cannot accurately predict the decisions of others. History provides a platform to learn about possibilities, if we follow the same pattern.
The future of leadership hinges on several factors.
Learn from history. For leaders to lead as God intended we need to be better students of His word and make the right application.
Be students of the present. There is much we can learn from the world around us. We need to observe people. We need to learn from current leaders and followers.
Desire to serve others. Leadership must be more concerned with serving than being served. The example was left by Jesus and the future will only be different if we follow His example.
Glorify God. Leadership should be motivated and driven with this purpose. Every thought, word, and action must be measured by glorifying Him.
Develop a plan. Developing a plan is vital for the right direction. These steps are only part of the foundation needed for the future of leadership.
We cannot foretell the future, but we can follow a few steps to secure the future of spiritual leadership.
We want patience, and we want it now! It is not uncommon for someone to pray for patience and wonder why they have so many challenges. Hmmm
Recently, I spent several days with Steven Ashcraft; missionary, evangelist, coordinator, and much more for the work in Ghana, West Africa. I observed a great deal about the patience of a man working to help the church mature.
The task is far from easy. Seeing it first hand was impressive. Steven works gently to guide, ask the appropriate questions, and allow the time necessary for the present leadership to find the answers.
The demonstration of his patient nature is a powerful lesson for all spiritual leaders.
In the American culture it is easy to expect growth and maturity to occur like ordering a meal at the drive through. We place our order on one side and expect to have it waiting for us when we reach the other side. No patience required. Sarcasm intended.
Church growth requires leaders to be patient. In time, the demonstration of such patience and gentle guidance will yield fruit to the glory of our God.
Have you ever played a form of the guessing game? “If you know what I am thinking right now, without guessing, I want you to tell me.” Well, we can’t, so we have to guess.
How many times in relationships do we expect the other person to read our minds? I have heard of spouses arguing over what the other person should have known regarding what they were thinking.
We often take for granted one another in relationships. We begin to assume the other person will naturally know what we are thinking, as if they are mind readers. Leaders can make this mistake if not careful.
Keep in mind, others do not know what we are thinking, unless we tell them.
Do not expect others to respond unless we tell them they need to respond.
Disappointment can be avoided if we will adequately communicate the vision in our minds.
People find contentment in following leaders who keep the exact direction before them.
It will do us well to stop playing games. No one can read our minds. Communicate the direction and others will follow.
A few years ago my father gave me the following advice. “Stand up to be seen. Speak up to be heard. Sit down to be appreciated.”
The application to his advice reaches into many areas, but it certainly has relevance for spiritual leaders.
Leaders should be accessible and approachable. Questions need to be answered, plans discussed, and vision communicated. However, if leaders cannot be found, followers begin to doubt in who they are following. Worse yet, they will find another leader.
Leaders must also be clear. Far too many leaders speak vaguely, in generalities, politically correct, and with uncertainty. Leaders need to be decisive, but they must also be clear and precise.
Leaders need to know their limitations. Leaders will not be appreciated when they continually over-extend themselves and fail to achieve the goal(s). Leaders must know the proper balance and limits of their time and talent.
Followers will value leaders who are visible, understood, and working within the boundaries of their ability. So, stand up, speak up and sit down! The rest will take care of itself.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I loved this quote the first time I read it. It speaks to the character of spiritual leadership.
Too many today have sold out to the highest bidder. Too many allow the pursuit of greater numbers to alter their position on truth. Too many seek popularity and profit rather than address challenge and controversy.
If we are to overcome the problems of immorality and indecency, we must make a stand.
If we are to help the church grow and mature as God designed, we must make a stand.
If we are to help those who are lost find the true hope of salvation, we must make a stand.
It is not an easy task. Conflict and controversy will arise. Trying to avoid it, sweep it under the rug, deny it exists, or hope it just goes away and resolves itself, will not work.
The world and the church need men ready to lead. Will you answer the call today?
The antithesis of this statement is when you’re down, you’re down. Being down usually means a level of discouragement. What is it that brings discouragement to leadership?
Failure? Inability? People?
Discouragement causes us to lose confidence and enthusiasm. We can work to discourage others by our words and our actions. We can also allow others to discourage us in our efforts to reach the goal(s) before us.
So, how do we prevent discouragement?
1) Focus on higher priorities and a greater cause.
2) Work to create confidence and enthusiasm in others.
3) Develop a work ethic of diligence and integrity.
4) Determine to do “what” is right and not just “be” right.
5) Remember we are going to make mistakes. Deal with them properly and move ahead.
Discouragement is really a state of mind we allow or choose to accept. Following a few simple ideas can help us encourage others and bring a greater level of encouragement to our leadership. Then we will see more times when we are up rather than down.
Intriguing title? Throughout the Bible we read about the dread of leprosy. It was contagious and often terminal in nature. Lepers lived outside the city in their own commune rejected by others.
However, we can learn several lessons from lepers. One particular situation involves four men. This is the “cliff notes” version. Read the whole story in 2 Kings 7.
Amidst a famine, these four lepers decided to go to the enemy. They figured death was eminent either way. Perhaps the enemy would have mercy. When they arrived at their camp, the enemy was gone. God caused the Arameans to hear the sound of an army and they fled, leaving everything.
The lepers began to enjoy the spoils, but then realized how wrong it was to do so while their people were dying. It was a day of good news. To remain silent was wrong and would result in punishment.
What a great lesson for us! This day is a day of good news. The message of Jesus is too great to remain silent. If we do, surely punishment should overtake us. THINK SOULS!