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.
Sam Rayburn said it this way, “You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.”
Consider the necessity of following Christ. We strive to lead others to Him. The success of our efforts are affected by our following Him. Learning to submit to the authority of Jesus and follow Him makes us a great vessel in spiritual leadership.
Thomas often receives the greatest criticism because of his desire to see the hands and side of Jesus.
However, scripture teaches us all the apostles fled when Jesus was condemned to die. All the apostles initially doubted the reports by the women who had seen Him.
It should not take a visible manifestation of Jesus to recognize that the whole of who we are is connected to His Lordship.
Thomas was one who challenged the report, 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.
As a leader, a question needs to be answered. What is the real payoff for our leadership?
There are several answers, but here is a thought.
The real payoff comes when the lives of followers change. This is what our leadership is all about. We are trying to change lives, eternally.
When we examine the work of Jesus at the cross, the payoff is witnessed in the lives changed around the world.
Spiritual leadership is not about seeking fame, popularity, and wealth. The payoff is summed up in the people who will see heaven because of our leadership.
Herb Tatum is noted for this thought, “Never make a promise you can’t keep.”
His point is valid. We need to be careful and thoughtful before speaking.
Jesus noted the need for us to be careful about our words. Our yes should mean yes and our no, no. When we say we will do something, then do it.
Nothing is more frustrating than when someone says, “I’ll get right back to you,” and they never do. This is magnified even more when it extends into areas of leadership.
A leader must be bound to their word.
Never make a promise we can’t keep!
Jesus said we are the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” This indicates the difference we make in the world.
Then Jesus said something interesting, “If the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything…”
Good involves health, specifically good health.
When used in the context of leadership influence, we find a powerful idea.
As leaders, our influence should contribute to the spiritual health and well-being of others.
When heaven is the destiny, our leadership must be good for others to reach the destination.
Life has a way of knocking us down at times, maybe a few more times than our share. When we are committed we keep getting up.
David McNally said, “Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.”
When we are committed to a cause, we oppose resistance. We are motivated, dedicated, focused, and we stop at nothing.
Nothing is more deserving of our commitment than the cause of Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection are worthy of our efforts to press on and do whatever it takes.
Transparency in leadership is often challenging.
Transparency means we take instruction and make application to ourselves first, without an emphasis upon others.
Transparency instills confidence in others that our efforts, both personally and professionally, are always for the good of the whole.
Transparency involves the type of openness in our communication that lays everything on the table, good or bad.
We need greater transparency in leadership. This is the example we find in Jesus, and it is exactly how we should approach our leadership in the church and world today. Think Souls.
Nestled in the concept of an example is our influenceas leaders. We influence people everyday. We influence them in what is right or wrong. The difference is bound up in our example.
Setting an example is associated with consistency. Mahatma Ghandi is noted as saying, “we must become the change we want to see.”
Setting an example is also connected to servanthood. The only time Jesus said “I gave you an example,” involved being a servant.
If we want to be who God desires, we need to understand the significance identified with our example of leadership.
What do we look for in others?
If we look for the worst, we find it quickly. The same is true when we look for the best.
Although the author is unknown, it has been said, “If you want to get the best out of someone – you must look for the best that is in them.”
How will we answer the question above?
Consider two key thoughts.
Humility. The way we look at ourselves affects the way we look at others.
Compassion. When the distress of others touches our heart to act with mercy, we see through the eyes of Jesus.
Fear of the unknown ranks near the top of most people’s fears. It encompasses so many different areas, the unknown with the economy, job security, health, and safety.
Certainly, the unknowns of leadership would qualify.
The task before us in spiritual leadership is to remove these unknowns. When we consider death, we may fear the unknown of what happens at death.
However, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, this fear has been removed. We can provide no greater confidence to others than sharing this hope. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Think Souls!