Where is your place? Do you have a place?
Everyone has a place where they find refuge, comfort, and perhaps experience peace.
We need a place where we belong, a place where thoughts of home come to mind.
Does leadership have a place? When we evaluate all the people and activities that fill the places in our lives, where does leadership fit, or does it?
We all should understand the place of leadership in our lives and the influence we have in the lives of others.
Considering our influence, there are questions we need to ask regarding spiritual leadership.
Should immoral activities have a place in our life?
Do we allow inappropriate language to have a place?
Will we welcome questionable conduct into its own place?
Is there a place for hypocrisy in our lives?
The list could go on, but I think you understand the point. There is no place for worldly behavior in the life of God’s spiritual leaders. Every word and action of life influences others, one way or another. We need to exemplify the place of spiritual leadership.
“You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” Sam Rayburn
I recently developed a good friendship with a young man who is taking the same classes I am on leadership.
While we ran one morning he shared his background in the military. He was discouraged from joining the military, but he felt the need and later learned the benefit from his time.
His point of view about leadership interested me. He talked about the various parts of training and about how he learned the importance of submitting to authority, learning how to follow. This had an impact on his understanding of being a leader.
If we are going to lead, we must learn to follow. Without an understanding of following the leadership of others, our own leadership is hindered.
Consider the necessity of our following Christ. We are striving to lead others to Him. The success of our efforts will be affected by our following Him. Learning to submit to the authority of Christ and following Him makes us a great vessel in spiritual leadership.
There will not be enough space in weekly leadership posts to exhaust every possibility about the subject of character.
However, it should go without saying that a leaders’ character is invaluable. Without godly character, a leader cannot successfully lead as God desires. Character is the very substance of leadership. Where there is character, there will always be leadership.
John Maxwell writes; “talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” Character in leadership will be indicated by the actions created from the choices made. With each choice, character is developed.
Within a fortune cookie from several years back I read the following statement; “God gives us one face and we make for ourselves another.” Is this not, in part, what character is about?
Why is it so significant to examine areas regarding leadership character? How should character be defined? How does character define our leadership? What happens when our character is flawed or seen as no longer credible?
We will explore these questions and other important areas about the need to understand character and our leadership. We will also consider several practical areas in developing leadership character.
Thomas often receives the greatest criticism when it comes to his desire to see the hands and side of Jesus where the spear was thrust.
However, scripture teaches us all the apostles fled when Jesus was condemned to die. They all initially doubted the reports by the women who had seen Jesus. Why then does Thomas stand out as a lesson in leadership?
Thomas, when he was approached by Jesus, acknowledged two powerful thoughts; the authority of the resurrected Savior and the deity of Jesus. His claim was, “My Lord and my God.”
It should not take a visible manifestation of Jesus for us to recognize that the whole of who and what we are is directly connected to Jesus as Lord.
As well, an understanding of the deity of Jesus is foundational to understanding our role as spiritual leaders. This is the reason for our leading others to Him.
Thomas was one who challenged the report of the apostles, as demonstrated in his expression of doubt. However, once he saw Jesus, he did not hesitate to confess what all leaders should place at the foundation of their leadership.
Context is an interesting word with a variety of meanings and applications. From application within a particular written document to specific circumstances or statements, the context determines our approach.
What is the “context” of our leadership?
By examining the circumstances surrounding our opportunity to lead, what approach are we taking when it comes to leading others?
Do we find ourselves out of context?
One of the dangers regarding context involves taking something, or in this case, someone, out of context. I have heard that when we remove something from its context, it becomes a pretext.
Would this describe our approach in leadership?
We need to serve within the context which God has given us to serve. We need to be careful and avoid allowing our leadership to become a pretext for something more self-serving. We must take heed to our approach of leadership.
The context of our Lord’s leadership was one of a servant, placing the needs of others above His own. Our leadership must be in the same context if we are going to see powerful results.
As a leader, there is a question that needs to be answered. What is the real payoff for our leadership? If we are leading with the right motives, what represents the payoff?
I know there are several fitting answers, but here is my thought.
The real payoff comes when the lives of those who are following our leadership change. This is what our leadership is all about. We are trying to change lives, eternally.
The results seen in the lives of others is the payoff. The change made in their lives each day is the payoff.
When we examine the work of Christ, ultimately at the cross, the payoff is seen in the lives He has and continues to change.
Looking into the writings of Paul, we also find the payoff of becoming all things to all men. He did all things for the sake of the gospel so he might “win the more.”
Spiritual leadership is not about seeking fame, popularity, and wealth, because it is not about you or me.. The payoff is summed up in the people who will see heaven because of our leadership.
“Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.” Rosabeth Moss Kantor
Recently, a coworker of mine referenced the best day of his teaching career. What made this day more special than any other day of teaching was what he was learning from the students.
You would have to know Michael Hite to appreciate the insatiable drive in his life to learn. Do not misunderstand me, he loves teaching, but he loves teaching what he is learning. It is infectious. If you do not believe me, just spend a little time with him.
When I read the quote above it reminded me of him and the leader he is to these students, me and everyone else around him.
I can say this because his students were also saying the same thing he was saying about his class. They see him learning and it excites them to learn from him. What a powerful combination!
If we want to grow in our leadership example, and be the kind of role model others can emulate, then exemplify this thought.