Leadership is more than just going somewhere in life. Leadership is taking others along. Maxwell is fond of sharing that leadership is influence, and as we influence others with our lives we are providing direction. It is important that we don’t think of ministry in terms of things we need to get done. That is kind of a default setting when we are under-performing. To be sure, we all have things that we need to get done. But, it is the people part that sets us apart from monkeys…and I think our thumbs are different. How can we lead people to the next level?
Make no mistake; it requires plain old fashioned work. There is just no way around it. 2 Corinthians 11:23, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.” When Paul spoke of being a minister, he started with work. In fact, he said his labor was abundant. That word “abundant” literally means super abundant. I think it is a fair question to ask, “Is your work super abundant?” We won’t see lasting impact from our ministry without a commitment to exert and give ourselves.
2 Corinthians 12:15, And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
People need to be taught the right way to go. Consider 2 Timothy 2:24, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” We have to be “apt to teach.” The process of leadership involves teaching. People need to know not just the what and how but the why as well. There are numerous venues for teaching in local church ministry. We think of the preaching service, training times, and fellowship groups. But, perhaps the most important to those we lead are those less formal times when we share with someone while on our way to a visit or over a cup of coffee. Every experience is a teaching experience.
Teaching is invaluable and essential, but there comes a time when we move on to “on the job training.” In other words, we work with people and tell them what needs to be done, but in time we do it with them and involve them. This is how Christ worked with His apostles, and it is how He works with us.
1 Peter 2:21, For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
Philippians 3:17, Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
We are not perfect like Christ, but being an effective leader means that we are living in such a way that our lives can serve as a pattern for those we are leading.
The final item we’ll discuss deals with allowing others to gain in practical experience. We’ve now worked with people through exertion. We’ve taught people through explanation. We’ve involved them through our example and sharing our practical pattern with them. Here we see the value of taking our hands off the wheel and observing as they serve. We are still involved enough to reach in and help as needed, but we are letting them get their feet wet so to speak.
When I hired our first staff member, we spent a lot of time talking. I included him in the work, and in time let him direct it. Today he is not only doing the work, but he is leading others to do the same. That story should be repeated many times over with people in our lives. You don’t permanently succeed until you develop those around you. Are you succeeding in leading others to the next level? Let’s get to work.