In the previous weeks, we have already established that at the heart of Christian leadership is a call to sacrificial servant-hood. As leaders, we will see ourselves fundamentally as servants of God and stewards entrusted with the things of God. God is our only Master.
Now, leadership has been defined as ‘the ability of one person to influence others to follow his or her lead.’ The Christian leader is called to influence others, believer and unbeliever alike, towards the goal of living for Christ. Making Christ the greatest treasure and absolute centre of our lives, we seek to present him to others so that we can bring all (if possible) to maturity in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; 3:8-11; Colossians 1:27-29).
How is this godly influence exercised and worked out? In the next weeks, I want to look at 4 principle works that any leader in God’s kingdom must be committed to doing and to help others do the same, in order to know Christ, and to make Him known. These are:
- See and share a godly vision of life
- Be passionate about obeying, following and teaching the commands of God
- Be ready to endure opposition and persecution for Christ
- Raise other leaders after him.
In short: vision, passion, endurance and succession. First then: vision.
What is the difference between a great leader and a good leader?
Perspective! A great leader sees better and further than his contemporaries, and is committed to leading them there. Jesus-shaped leaders are seeking to see God’s vision for all their life and then to pursue it with all their heart.
Isaiah 6 is often looked at and used as a passage about the ‘call of God’ – particularly the challenge of God’s missionary questions in verse 8: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’
But Isaiah’s vision has a more to teach us than just the question of ‘going’. It is first and foremost, about the effect on Isaiah of his ‘seeing’ the Lord.
The first verse of Isaiah 6 tells us that a national tragedy had occurred – King Uzziah had died. He had been a good king for Israel, particular in the early days of his reign (see 2 Chronicles 26). But now he was gone. However, God granted Isaiah to see something far greater – a vision of God on his throne in the temple.
What he saw and heard shook Isaiah to the core – met by the manifest glory and holiness of God, his utter sinfulness was made bare.
Isaiah saw himself in the light of God, and felt utterly unworthy. He cried ‘woe is me.’ In our celebrity culture today, many people seem to be crying the opposite – ‘Wow is me!’ But right vision of God will always result in clarity of who we are in truth. It is the need of the hour.
Having confessed and been cleansed by an act of grace (vs 5-7), Isaiah is then consecrated for representative mission by God, for God (vs 8-9). The process is clear – vision leads to conviction, confession, cleansing, and finally consecration.
I am certain that Isaiah’s vision of God branded itself on his consciousness and no doubt influenced his prophetic ministry from then on. We need similarly to see and encounter God often in our lives. As Edmund Chan has said, ‘The greatest need of leadership is a fresh vision of God coming out of a fresh encounter with God.’
A godly leader is one who sees and seeks God for who He is – the author, controller and director of our lives. We live out His vision for ourselves and those He gives us to lead. ‘God is not the supporting actor in our stories; we have bit parts in his.’
Three times in Acts, we hear Paul relating the vision and call of his Damascus Road arrest by the Risen Christ. It shaped henceforth the absolute direction and content of his life, such that at his trial before King Agrippa, he was able to declare that ‘I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared….that they should repent and turn to God.’ (Acts 26:19-20).
What is God’s vision for your life? Your family? Your ministry? What is your vision for this day he has given you? Godly leadership will seek to follow and fulfill God’s vision over and above every other competing and compelling sight.
 J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, 27.
 Kevin J. Vanhoozer “Letter to an Aspiring Theologian: How to Speak of God Truly.”, page 31. First Things, Aug/Sep 2018/
 Acts 9:3-8; 22:6-11; 26:12-19