Last week, we started to look at 4 principle things a Christ-pleasing leader should consistently do, as he seeks to lead and raise other leaders. First key task: to seek and pursue a godly vision for one’s life and call.
There are important practical steps for leaders in communicating godly vision to those they lead – i.e. capturing, concretizing and casting the vision in a way that calls everyone in the direction God intends.
But the most crucial and critical piece in fulfilling godly vision is its practice. We are called to walk by faith. ‘Walking’ is of course, a doing word. This is our second principle work of kingdom leadership: active obedience to God’s command.
All true disciples, like Jesus, will seek to do the will of the Father. This may seem commonsensical, but it is amazing how easily, when taking the reins of leadership and responsibility, we then find a host of other competing demands.
The tasks, burdens, responsibilities and challenges of leadership are many. The Apostle Paul told in his letter of the heavy burden of leadership that he carried and the loneliness it sometimes entailed (2 Corinthians 11:28-29; Galatians 4:19; 2 Timothy 1:15).
But there are temptations too. I was taught that every leader must beware of the 3 ‘G’s – i.e. Girls (or ‘Guys’ for the ladies), Gold and Glory
We are tempted to think leadership is a matter of titles, remuneration, authority, talents or creative abilities. We easily lose sight of Jesus in the egoistical exhilaration of having people who look up and listen to you. Or people may start to undermine and criticize our leadership and we become reactive or crowd-pleasing.
So, how can a leader keep his way pure?
Three things are needful:
- Stay fixed and focused on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 is a reminder to keep our eyes firmly on our Lord, who sought the joy of godly obedience while enduring the cross. We are called to throw aside every encumbrance in pursuit of our Lord’s pleasure and glory. Our work of faith, first and foremost, is to trust and obey Jesus and find joy.
- Order your personal life. In NAMS, all Companions vow to God to keep the personal holy habits of daily abiding in God’s word and prayer, giving towards global mission, making disciples and retreating 4 times a year with Christ. These should be minimal for any serious follower of Jesus. But the onus is on us leaders as God’s fellow workers, to really be steeped in discipling and leading ourselves from the inside out!
- Be accountable. We who are ‘born-again’ are born into a family. A great cloud of witnesses, Hebrews 12:1 tells us, is watching. Therefore, we can lay aside the entanglements of sin with each other’s support, counsel, prayers and watch. A well trained leader will answer to those over him in the Lord.
Ultimately, such a walk will demand consistency. John Maxwell said, “Leadership develops daily, not in a day.” Not least Jesus-shaped leadership. It is only by faithful obedience to Christ’ commands that we can effectively help others to obey.
Jon Shuler, NAMS founder and spiritual father to me and many, often reminds me that we can only bring people to where we already are.
We are not called simply to instruct people like professors or bark orders like drill sergeants. We are call to lead people on by journeying with and ahead of them. As has been said, “A boss says ‘go’. A leader says ‘let’s go.’”
The tragedy in our churches is that they are full of Christians who know what God wants and may even sing lustily about it at worship services. But God requires more than assent or even decision. The tragedy of today’s evangelical Christianity may well be calling people to profession, but not to obedience.
Most already know more than they choose to practice. When all is said and done in God’s kingdom, more will have been found to be said than done.
But love for Christ is proved by our obedience (John 14:15). A Christ-formed leader will therefore be a ‘doer’ of the word, not merely parroting that word to others (James 1:22).
What will it take to ensure this is the case in your own leadership call?
 Matthew 7:21; Mark 3:35; Luke 6:46; John 4:24, 6:38-40, 7:17.
 John Maxwell, subtitle to chapter 3 title, ‘The Law of Process’ in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (HarperCollins Leadership; Revised, 2007).