The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? ~ 1 Timothy 3:1-7
2 Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1Pet 5:2-4, HCSB)
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 23:1
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Are You Ready to Lead? Do You Lead Yourself Well?
Leaders are able to rely on themselves, and have a clear plan for their lives. We’ve been talking about discipline and working on it for months now. Are you still relying upon your mentor to motivate you? It’s time to get committed to self-motivation. You MUST be capable of leading yourself well without constant help from others, before you can lead others well. Before others can rely upon you, you must be able to rely upon yourself. Before you can help people get and stay close to Jesus personally, you must be able to stay close to him yourself without a lot of outside help.
Are You Responsible Enough to Lead? The Foundation of Leadership: Trust
Trust is the foundation on which leaders build everything. If people cannot trust that you have their interested in mind, they will only follow for what they can get out of the deal. To lead effectively, you need to be a person of unshakeable integrity and unquestionable character. You must be honest and open. And you must be reliable. If you commit to do something—even a trivial thing—you must make sure you follow through.
Leaders have to modify their behavior to avoid even the appearance of evil, because they understand that maintaining trust is more important than having the freedom to engage in every non-sinful activity. They limit their freedoms for the sake of trust and the sake of other’s perceptions, not because they are “more godly” than anyone else. People are always watching those in the spotlight. They unfairly judge celebrities and pastors based on chance encounters, observations from afar, and stories told about them. A good leader does his best to monitor his behavior, even if it’s unfair. We can’t change human nature. We can only lead wisely because of it.
This is even more important in the modern age. EVERYTHING about you can be found out, watched, and posted online. You MUST strive to be above reproach, or the critics will destroy your character by finding “questionable” actions they can broadcast in the headlines.
What Kind of Leader will You Be?
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Matthew 20:25-28
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. ~ John 13:12-15
All leaders are servants. Some have different qualities than others. Take a look at the Biblical leaders below and the lessons from their lives, and think about which one you identify most with.
Lessons from the Leaders of the Bible:
- Noah: Leaders do what’s right even if they are alone
- Abraham: Leaders embrace the unknown
- Joseph: Leaders endure in spite of circumstances
- Moses: Leaders stick up for their people
- Joshua: Leaders rule by example rather than command
- David: Leaders are not afraid of giants
- Isaiah: Leaders rise to the occasion
- Daniel: Leaders maintain their resolve without regard for consequences
- John the Baptist: Leaders aren’t afraid to call out the phonies
- Jesus: Leaders are servants
- Peter: Leaders recover from failure
- Paul: Leaders are passionate for what they believe in
- Eve: Leaders are the target for temptation
- Rebekah: Leaders are always willing to give
- Tamar: Leaders confront hypocrisy
- Miriam: Leaders look out for the helpless
- Deborah: Leaders inspire their followers
- Ruth: Leaders demonstrate loyalty
- Esther: Leaders have the courage to face kings
- Mary of Nazareth: Leaders embrace great opportunities
- Mary Magdalene: Leaders are the first to know
- Mary, Sister of Martha: Leaders aren’t too busy for what’s important
- Priscilla: Leaders criticize with tact
- Lois: Leaders look generations into the future
How to Get What You Want – Zig Ziglar
But God – Bill Hybels
The Courage Leadership Requires – Bill Hybels
A New Kind of Leader – Tim Elmore
Standards of Leadership – Tommy Nelson
Becoming a Godly Leader – Jerry Falwell
Perseverance – Charles Stanley
Picture your gravestone. What sentence do you want to be remembered by?
Picture your funeral, three years from now. Let’s say three people get up to speak: your spouse, your kid, and someone who worked with you. What would you hope they said about you? Write these things down and consider how you need to change what you are doing now, so that you are sure those things will be said.
Which of the 21 Qualities of a Leader you have read about do you have most? Which one do you lack most?
Which Biblical leader from the list above do you identify most with? Why?