A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to 30+ Nicaraguan Pastors who are in the States doing a study intensive for their Bachelor's degree. It was an honor. I was asked to speak about leadership, and after looking over the notes I put together, thought it might be a blessing to you also.
There are many keys to leadership but these 5 Keys for Leadership have been significant in my life. I have often not done well with these and have learned a lot by missing the mark and bearing the cost of error. Hopefully this will be a way for you to get the benefit of my investment without making the mistakes for yourself.
I have been studying the subject of leadership for more than 20 years. I have read very many books on the subject, have written a little bit about it, and have had numerous experiences in ministry and business, being in charge and also being a part of a team. Leadership is a worthwhile subject to understand, as very little gets accomplished without leadership. If you want to be fruitful and effective, growing in your ability to bear responsibility well, do your best to get a solid understanding of this subject.
The hand of the diligent will rule, But the slack hand will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24 (read the context here)
What does this mean to us?
The person who is diligent will grow in responsibility and the Lord will ultimately put that person in charge, while the lazy or slothful person will always have to be told what to do, and won’t be in responsibility. Nothing takes the place of diligence…. not talent, anointing, charisma, or impressive skills. That all bodes well in the eyes of men, but the Lord looks upon the diligent to promote them into their ultimate place of calling and responsibility!
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 (read context here)
The quality of our leadership will be based in many ways in how good we are at following. To see God, we will be transformed into His image, according to 1st Corinthians. Purity allows us to be close to God and to follow Him closely. If we are ever to be raised up to the level of the high calling of God in Christ, we must walk in purity, to be able to see the Lord and what He is trying to show us, without the distortion of vision and heart that impurity corrupts us with.
Flee from lusts that are a result of immaturity, as these are an enemy of your purity!
And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? Luke 16:12 (read context here)
The inference here is if we are not faithful in what belongs to someone else, we will not be able to receive our own. Let’s think of this in terms of influence. If we are being sent to accomplish something for someone else, we should do it with all the excellence that we can, as good representatives of that person and also of the Lord.
If we are faithful in little things, we will receive opportunities to be entrusted with greater things. The LORD will entrust us with greater things based upon our faithfulness with little things. He will entrust us with what is our own based on the level of excellence we demonstrate in handling what belongs to someone else… and the earth is the Lord's, in all it's fulness! All of this life is a stewardship, and our handling of people and responsibility here will determine the type and quantity of responsibility we will be entrusted with in the age to come. The parable of the talents is more real than we understand!
4. Honoring those the Lord has given influence (or leadership) in our lives / Servant Leadership
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle… 1Peter 2:16-18
Honoring and being submissive are important to those the Lord has put into our lives for leadership. We will always need help from others, no matter how spiritually mature we become. We belong to the Lord, and He will use our lives to serve others, just as Jesus used His life for this same thing. You remember He said that He did not come to be served, but to serve. We need to be careful to maintain this approach, even when our leadership grows and we are established in it. We are servants, first to the Lord, then to the brotherhood, and the world.
5. Taking personal responsibility to be a lifelong learner / hear the voice of God / always following
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding Prov. 4:7
We have to take personal responsibility and accept the task to get wisdom and understanding, because the Lord has told us to pursue it. We cannot take the approach that it is someone else's responsibility for us to learn / be discipled. The Lord will bring the wisdom and understanding from different places and through different people. Sometimes this will be discipleship from a mentor, and sometime this may even come from our enemies (see King Josiah's final act here), but we have to be focused to recognize the voice of the Lord, regardless of whoever it comes thru.