One word leaders need to understand for the success of the church is develop.
The apostles continued to emphasize the need for the church to develop. Prayers expressed requests to help the church develop.
Developing faith and relationship with God is a vital responsibility of leadership. We must do the following:
Lead others to a greater love and understanding of truth.
Assist Christians in an understanding and involvement of their abilities in His service.
Encourage the expression of God’s grace through sharing the love of Christ at the cross.
Provide an example in all the above.
Leadership is about development. Let us get started.
Leaders must be perpetual learners.
Donald Norris, president of Strategic Initiatives, identifies perpetual learning as “much more than lifelong learning on steroids. It is different from lifelong learning in every way.” He clarifies by stating that it involves learning every day, viewing growth in knowledge as a way of life rather than an activity of life.
This type of learning produces three benefits:
…a better understanding of leading people.
…a better vision of the future.
…a better love for life.
When driven to learn from every person we meet, book we read, and experience in life, we grow as leaders.
Languages are not a strong suite for most of us. Imagine the difficulty of communicating within the multiplicity of languages around the world.
However, the key to communicating effectively involves understanding.
The ability to communicate so others understand is vital to our leadership.
Goals must be communicated in ways everyone understands.
Plans should be communicated effectively.
Roles and responsibilities must also be understood.
Above all, leading others to Christ demands communicating the message of the cross in ways they can understand.
Spiritual leaders do not serve themselves but others.
Spiritual leaders care about souls and eternity.
Spiritual leaders know the value of the gospel and the change it brings.
Spiritual leaders understand the necessity of the work.
The head of a spiritual leader is understanding and willing.
The heart of a spiritual leader is humble and compassionate.
The hands of a spiritual leader are strong and serving.
The feet of a spiritual leader are active.
No, there is nothing easy about it. However, spiritual leadership makes a difference. Will we lead as spiritual leaders today?
Communication is challenging. We usually think others understand clearly. Often times, we even expect them to read our minds, the old reading between the lines.
However, others do not always understand. Thus, we need to communicate more effectively. Every leader must constantly work to improve their communication skills.
Learn to listen. Stop reading between the lines or thinking of what to say next.
Repeat back what was heard. This step ensures understanding.
Ask questions. This helps clarify areas we might have misunderstood.
Think before responding. Take time to consider a proper response.
Several thoughts come to mind when we think about character. John W. Holt, Jr. said, “The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”
The thought of character alone is a great subject when considering leadership. However, the idea of testing one’s character is powerful and needed.
The main thought here has to do with behavior, specifically, how leaders behave when they don’t know what to do.
There will always be times when leaders struggle with knowing what should be done. During these times their character is truly tested to its limits.
The qualities of patience, understanding, thoughtful reflection, and being cautious are important. Decisions can be made to rashly and without the proper foundation. The result can bring serious consequences which could be avoided.
Learning to seek the counsel of others who have walked the same paths can open leaders up to greater wisdom, possible alternatives, and new angles of consideration.
When leaders find themselves not knowing what to do, the best option is to pray!
New dimensions of knowing God exist when considering three key words used in the original language of the Bible.
The first word involves a fact-based type of knowledge. The idea highlights knowing facts or information about God, who He is, what He did, etc.
The second word advances a level of understanding. Not only is there factual information, but this information carries an understanding of the meaning and application.
The third word shares the most significant meaning of the three. This word involves knowing by experience, sharing in the same events or activities in order to gain full comprehension.
Paul used this term regarding his relationship with God (Phil. 3:7-10). He wanted to know more than facts about God. He wanted more than an understanding of what those facts meant and how they applied. He wanted to know Christ on the basis of experience.
The privilege of knowing what Jesus went through, “the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” meant more than factual knowledge.
Here is where Paul would know God. Imagine a leadership based on this knowledge.
One of the key elements, and most challenging, in communication is the ability to listen.
We love to talk. What we have to say is important. We want others to listen. When someone else is talking we are just waiting to express what we are formulating in our mind.
As a result, we are not really listening.
Add to this the fact we are easily distracted by our cell phone, computer, local environment, and a hundred other factors.
We often think of leaders as those who are out front, giving instruction, direction, and orders.
However, there are several reasons it is necessary for leaders to learn the art of listening.
Learning to listen helps us connect with people.
Learning to listen helps us gain a better understanding of their needs.
Learning to listen helps us develop stronger concentration.
We must listen with our ears, eyes, and heart. The message is not always conveyed through the actual words spoken. Tone of voice and body language also play a significant role in the message.
As challenging as it can be, learning to listen will change the nature of our leadership.
Imagine how different our lives would be if we wrote a “rule of life.” The idea behind this concept is to focus on our purpose in life.
Before considering the connection to leadership, answer the following questions.
Have we ever sat down and written out our purpose of life?
Why are we pursuing the course in life we are pursuing?
What do we want to achieve and get out of life?
Would we be willing to write down our purpose in life?
What implications would exist with having a written purpose for life?
Knowing and reminding ourselves of our purpose in life will continue to keep us focused on the impact of our words and actions.
Having a “rule of life” gives us meaning and hope for what the future holds.
A rule of life changes the way we see God, develop family, and influence others.
At some point sharing our rule of life with others encourages others to do the same. Remember, our rule of life should incorporate our understanding of God, His working in our life, and our desire to glorify Him.
Technically, relevance is simply defined as “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.”
Considering the avenues by which relevance is applied extend far beyond the idea of a few defining words.
In the areas of education, one of the motivating factors that contributes to learning is the relevance of the material. When the objectives are clearly relevant, students are more driven to learn.
On a spiritual level, if the millennial generation is to be reached, we must show how the word of God is relevant. The message never changes, but how we present the relevance of the message does change.
Engaging others to follow our leadership hinges on the application of relevance.
Regardless of the area we address, leaders must be closely connected. The destination where we are leading others requires a vision and direction appropriate for the matter at hand. This is relevance!
The beauty of God’s word is the fact it was written with every generation in mind. The challenge is relevance.
Leading as God designed requires an understanding of how to make the message relevant.