While leadership principles can be found throughout the Scriptures, they are not taught in a systematic way – just as no single doctrine is taught systematically through the 66 books of the Bible. Instead, God chooses to teach these principles experientially, through the lives of ordinary people in history.
If you look closely, you can spot a Divine Pattern:
- God always takes the initiative executing His plan.
- Then he looks for a person who will submit to Him.
- Then He makes that person aware of a need.
- The need becomes the personal burden of the person whom God has chosen.
- Eventually the person embraces God’s plan and feels he/she must act upon it.
- God’s Vision becomes his or her Vision.
- Finally, the person calls others to join in fulfilling that vision.
God chooses ordinary people who will submit to Him and take a risk – the leadership challenge. I meet these wonderful people every day in my life and work in Cambodia. Why don’t you become one? Become a bridge for God’s plan to be established on earth as it is in heaven. Become a bridge for people to get from nowhere to somewhere!
(Photo by Kaitlyn McCaul, Willamette Valley, Oregon)
by Peter Drucker
An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.
What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:
- They asked, “What needs to be done?”
- They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
- They developed action plans.
- They took responsibility for decisions.
- They took responsibility for communicating.
- They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
- They ran productive meetings.
- They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”
The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed. The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured that the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.
Status quo is a Latin Phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues. It means whatever is normal. Some people are satisfied with how things are and make no movement to change it. Others are not satisfied with how things are but they, too, make no move to change it. However, a leader is not satisfied with how things are and takes initiative to change it. That’s one of the chief characteristics of a leader.
In my Daily Bible Reading I came across a man the Holy Spirit singled out as He led the writer OF 1 Chronicles to list over 600 names. One man among those 600 stood out because he was a leader:
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.
This morning I’m meeting with two staff pastors at our Phnom Penh church to evaluate the members and attenders at our North Campus. We want to see who we have as leaders or potential leaders. By the way, what are the characteristics of a leader? Jabez shows us four characteristics of a successful leader who pleases God:
Four Characteristics of a Successful Leader Who Pleases God
- He/she overcomes internal lids. The mother of Jabez put a name on him that means suffering. She apparently thought her newborn son was a pain for her. Jabez might have grown up with this stigma on is life every time someone called his name. He may have had to deal with inferiority and rejection, but he overcame the internal lid to his potential leadership. Many people complain because they are poor or lack an education or never had some of the positive experiences others have had. Some people never move forward because of limitations they set upon themselves or personal disciplines or the difficulty of their situation. Leaders overcome internal and external lids. They just find what it takes to overcome !
- He/she looks to God as his/her Source. Whether you are the leader of a family, business, organization, ministry or church you will need the grace of a Higher Power to help you. Successful leaders who please God know that to lead their family, their business, their organization, their ministry or church they need God, and they cry out to him day and night for favor, wisdom and strength.
- He/she is not satisfied with the Status Quo. The big difference between leaders and non-leader is that leaders do not just see what needs to be fixed or changed, but they get up and gather the resources to make the change. They exert personal discipline, sacrifice, develop their understanding and skills and move forward.
- He/she is committed to personal integrity. The successful leader who pleases God does not cut corners. He is honest in his relationships with people, staff, finances and time. He/she chooses to take the high road even if he has to personally sacrifice lose to be honest with his employees, staff, vendors, donors, and others to whom he relates. He does not lie and is not dishonest in reporting.
I believe that everybody has the potential to lead in some capacity and I urge you to follow what God is putting in your heart and do everything you can to prepare yourself to be a leader who is pleasing to God.
As I’ve been reading through the Bible Books 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and now starting 1 Chronicles (9 chapters of genealogies!) I can’t help but notice that a father may be a righteous and good person and leader, but the son turns out to be a evil and bad leader who oppressed people. Or on the other hand, the father may be evil but the son turns out good! What’s the deal? Why is this?
I know godly men and women – parents – who have invested in their children the best they know how but their children turn out bad kids who use drugs, steal and spend time in jail. Why is that?
Then we have people who do not follow Jesus nor practice the principles in the Bible, yet their kids turn out good!
To tell you right from the start, I don’t have a concrete answer!
My wife and I, Cynde, are the parents of four children. We’re proud of our children and they all turned out good in my estimation…not perfect, but good. Especially as I consider mine and Cynde’s own lack as role models in many areas. Two of my sons are pastors, however, I’ve never put any pressure on any of them to follow me in pastoral/church ministry. One of my children is involved in Education at this time and the other is studying and will probably be involved in the sphere of Arts and Entertainment. I believe that being a Christian minister is not more important than being a Christian in the sphere of Education, Arts and Entertainment, Social Relationships, Business, or Government. Each are of equal value as we all represent the Kingdom of God in the sphere in which God has called us.
However, here’s a couple thoughts and pieces of advice:
- Every person is born with sin. That sinful nature creates rebellion and independence in us. Regardless of the positive Christian upbringing we have received, if we choose to turn to the Dark Side, every person has the free will to do that.
6 And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? 7 If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” 8 Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain [a]attacked Abel his brother and killed him.
2. We are called to discipleship.
Genesis 1:28 28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
God’s focus is on people, not programs. The earth was created for people. Our biggest investment and greatest reward is people. It will not be church buildings or ministries that we present to the Lord when we stand before him, but the people whom we’ve had the opportunity to positively influence. That includes our children. I really, really encourage you to invest in the biblical education of your children – Bible knowledge, application of the knowledge and teaching and modeling good character. Not just from 0 to 5 years old, but throughout their time in your home and under your influence. I really, really encourage you to lead a small group of men, women, children or youth with a systematic study, prayer and fellowship. Your reward will be the people whom you influence.
3. You and I must be spiritually healthy. If there is any possibility of furthering righteousness in the next generation it begins with me and you being spiritually healthy. That means a real, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ…not just Christian habits of attending church, prayer, Bible reading and giving. While all of these are good Christian habits they can be done without an on fire relationship with Jesus. What we want to see incarnated in the next generation is not just taught, but “caught” when they see and follow our examples.
What I’m talking about here is thinking beyond ourselves into the influence we can have in the next generation. In our children and in men and women, boys and girls whom we help lead to Jesus and grow as a Christian.
I’d like to ask you a question: How would you rate your relationship with Jesus? Hot on fire and moving aggressively forward? Or, drifting, kind of cold or “not what it could or should be”? Or perhaps you say “I’m okay. It could be better or could be worse. Kind of in the middle, but I’m okay.” Jesus calls this level of relationship “Lukewarm.”
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
Yikes! Here is the principle:
What leaders do in moderation, followers do in excess.
If you’re a little lukewarm, then it’s likely that those who watch you or follow you are a lot lukewarm. If you’re a little lazy in your relationship with Jesus or your work, it’s likely those who are watching you will be quite lazy. If you fudge a little in your moral stance it’s likely that those who are watching you or following you will drift even further away from God’s standard.
Remember, we don’t live for ourselves. Man’s Mission from the God of the Universe is to live for others.
2 Corinthians 5:15
15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.
Let’s pray that Jesus help us to focus on what’s important to him: People.