Upward Leaders in Christ
Have you ever seen someone receive a promotion to a leadership position, then all of a sudden they get all wrapped up in their own greatness? Their head gets so big you wonder how they can remain standing upright without tipping over. It’s not a pretty sight. Sadly, they’ve sabotaged their own position. No one wants to follow a strutting peacock. At least not until they have learned to humble themselves and begin to view their position as responsibility rather than simply wielding authority.
Christian leadership is unique in that God has clearly laid out a plan for success. Operating under the lordship of Christ, Christian leaders can be assured of shining achievement. Looking to our perfect paradigm, Jesus’ life of humble obedience to the Father in combination with His service to mankind is the perfect pattern for servant-leadership. That means I need to do as Jesus did: Be a good follower. Only then can I be a more effective leader. In the realm of perfection one must be a good sheep if they are to be a good shepherd. We follow Jesus, our Chief shepherd. And, we learn to humbly follow our leaders here on earth. Leadership is the role of a good servant first, and leader second. Maintaining a servant mindset is essential if we hope to advance. God Himself will “lift us up”, as Apostle Peter writes. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV)
Humility is one of the most important character traits of a successful Spirit-led leader.
Our Shared Purposes, Objectives & Directives
When we seek to do God’s will we are issued wonderful purposes which undergird everything we do and say, and this helps us to correctly align our priorities. Our purposes are three fold.
- Bring glory to God/Christ Jesus. (Matt. 5:16)
- Build up, teach, and strengthen the faith of other believers (the church). “…Let all things be done unto edifying.” (1Corinthians 14:26b)
- Share the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus with nonbelievers. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) V
When we determine to perform God’s will, He leads us on to victory. God’s word establishes our objectives, giving us a cause for which we all together stand and promote. The Lord assigns our ultimate goals to accomplish, which will always bring glory to God instead of to the earthly leader. The Lord also provides the principles by which we operate. In other words, He gives us our means of how to get it done—our modus operandi.
By following Jesus closely we have access to constant guidance from God Himself, through His Holy Spirit residing in us. Wow—talk about having a great panel of advisers! Who better than Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
- Great Christian leaders surround themselves with other good leaders who are sound counselors and advisers, and to whom they hold themselves accountable.
- If we hope to be a great leader, it is imperative that we learn to take advice and weigh it well.
WE NEED TO MASTER PARTICULAR ARTS
- Listening to those who are under us within God’s structure of spiritual authority
- Empathize with everyone
- Communicate from reason rather than out of emotion
- Rather than gaining followers, our goal is to help create more leaders. We advance by helping others to advance. This is an attitude.
History offers accounts of lots of guys who may have risen to the heights of success, but their morals and principles were not Christian and not of God. Adolf Hitler rose to great power as a leader and led many down a path of destruction. So we see that by using ungodly principles one can become a successful leader, at least by the world’s standards. However, it’s a short lived success. And can cost not only our soul, but the eternal lives of others as well. That’s the exact opposite of Jesus’ program for us.
Every Christian is given at least one spiritual gift or special ability to use for the cause of Christ. It is for the sole purpose of carrying out God’s plan here on earth. As that gift or talent is used, it increases, becomes better and more productive. Gifts are for use in edifying the body of Christ
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. …if it is to lead, do it diligently…” (Romans 12:6,8 NIV)
Diligence is a prerequisite for every good leader. Christ represented the Father here on earth and He diligently carried out His will. Likewise, we represent Christ as His ambassadors on earth, and we must be diligent in carrying out the ministry He has entrusted to us. Lackadaisical leadership falls flat.
Three overshadowing goals for every Christian Leader:
- Bring glory to God
- Fulfill Jesus’ commission of sharing the gospel
- Build up fellow believers (edification).
“Effective Christian leaders are committed to advancing the mission in ways that also enable others to make their kingdom contribution”—Unknown
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18 NIV)
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20a NIV)
We have our preponderate goals from the Bible.
We have the counseling of God’s Holy Spirit.
We have our people advisers.
We have our special gifts to use (of which Paul urged Timothy to not neglect).
We have the great commission of Christ to go make disciples of all nations.
And we have the call to build others up, strengthening their faith, teaching them to observe all things Christ commands us while; encouraging, expounding knowledge, enabling, and edifying those who follow us.
We have everything we need.
All that remains is our diligence in carrying out our marching orders from God.
Full Steam Ahead!