I don’t know who said it first, but I love the quote, “All truth is God’s truth.”
Not everything needs a Bible verse to be true (don’t get nervous, I believe in the inerrancy of scripture, just follow me please, haha.)
So when it comes to leadership, some of the greatest teachings I’ve heard can come from the mouths of unbelievers. Similarly, like some of the best musicians or artists are unbelievers.
I don’t think the above statements are too controversial. I also think the church in America has taken progressive strides towards learning things from the world but not conforming to the world. But, as with anything, we can get so caught up in becoming a great leader that we can lose sight of the example of the greatest leader of all time.
We are a part of a Kingdom and a worldview that has a lot of “upside-down” principles: you give to receive, you lose your life to find it, the leaders serve under not LLord over.
If we’re not careful, we can lose sight of these upside-down principles because the world doesn’t have access to nor understand the spiritual truths that are available to us that believe. In our endeavor to lead others well, I think the two highest qualities of a Kingdom-minded strong leader are a part of these upside-down principles.
For the Christian, the two greatest qualities of a strong leader are weakness and following.
We need more books, more teaching, and more examples of weakness. In the world, we focus on being strong by maximizing our strengths, but we serve a God whose power is perfected in our weakness.
If we’re not careful, by finding our strengths, we can become so strong focused that we run from weakness. Christ led the greatest movement and modeled to us what the strongest leader looks like by taking on the weakness of human flesh. Christ never lost His divinity, but it goes without question that in the incarnation, we see Christ in a humbled state to reach us – the sinner and the broken.
Now I’m not advocating start leading worship if you have a terrible voice or plan the next big event if details make you want to die. We are a body with different spiritual gifts and find proficiency in various skills and talents, and that’s why we need teams.
But many times, we think we also need to be strong in every area of life when God wants to weaken us so He can be strong through us.
Before you run to the podcast, book, conference, or mentor for strengthening – sit with God and admit your weakness and dependency. Much of what we do has parallels to the market world, but we are not professionals, we are people of the Kingdom.
We need to learn how David strengthened himself in the Lord, but I fear we frequently only know how to strengthen ourselves in our favorite motivational source.
Christ, as the greatest leader that has ever walked this planet, showed us another quality to his greatness, and that was His following.
He would do nothing unless He saw the Father doing it. Christ wasn’t getting distracted with what everyone else was doing and wanted Him to do. He led well because He followed well.
I have found that it is dangerous for me to assume the Spirit is leading me merely because “I’m doing ministry and we’re growing.”
I’ve learned that when left to my own devices, my default isn’t to be led by God but to be led by me. Meaning if I’m not intentional to pause, think, and pray, I will do a lot of good without really consulting if this is what God wants.
It’s always helpful for me when I pray in the morning to ask God what would He like me to do for Him and to wait for Him to respond. Rarely do I ever get redirected. But the peace it brings to know I’m walking in His will helps me live with the satisfaction that I’m doing well.
My heart can quickly get burdened by comparison and anxiety if I don’t continually and daily submit myself to God has prepared for me that day.
It’s important to remember that we’re not just called to lead others for Jesus, but we’re called to lead others like Jesus.
For the people of God, influential leaders of others should be weak followers before God. Not weak in our devotion and commitment, but weak in our self-sufficiency. Just as if you lose your life you’ll find it; I believe if before God, you’ll be a weak follower, before others He’ll make you a strong leader.
Young Adults Pastor