African-American child wearing a t-shirt with the words future leader

Hey, You’re the Leader

A few years ago, after a school reunion, my wife set up a Facebook page for her high school class. There had been a site set up for the reunion, but, since they had all connected on Facebook, she thought she’d try to keep all the classmates connected, till the next one.

On her page, she gives recognition to classmates’ birthdays and other life events and maintains an “In Memoriam” page for members when they pass away.  Her classmates seem appreciative of her efforts,

From a Member to a Leader

She built the Facebook site thinking she could be “in the background,” like she’d been at school. Because of how Facebook works, every post she made as the administrator of the site showed up as one of her posts. One classmate recently made an interesting comment to her, saying, “You were mostly an unknown in high school, but now you’re the most visible member.”

She cringes at that visibility, and the thought that she is a “leader” because she runs the site. But, this opportunity that landed in my wife’s lap is how God works. Now read this account of Paul in Acts 27:31-32,35:

Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” So, the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away… After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.

How God Works

There’s an exciting progression here in Acts 27, regarding the shipwreck. Paul lives a holy, humble life that they witnessed. God gave supernatural insight to Paul, which Paul shares with the crew. Paul does not pull back from the leadership that God gave him with the crew and with the Roman soldiers. In fact, God engendered Paul to people of authority. And, when things got tough, it was Paul, and the God Paul served that they trusted.

For the centurion to not kill all the prisoners, as Rome law called for, but to trust Paul, even over the sailors, is an excellent testimony to the rapid credibility Paul gained with the people on the ship. 

God gave Paul opportunities to demonstrate God’s love, long-suffering, and miracles, so the centurion, especially, put his trust in Paul and the God Paul served. Paul has already established a “witness” to these men. So, giving thanks in front of them was a logical continuation.

Hey, the Leader is You

God still uses this same process with His children. You may be just a member of a Sunday School class, or Parent / Teach association, or perhaps a member of a local book club. If a severe problem arises – lack of funds, theft, loss of a leader – don’t be surprised if God selects you to lead the members out of the difficulty.

Your consistent walk with Jesus, openly, so other members see Him in you lays your ministry’s foundation. Your acute awareness of the Holy Spirit’s voice in you will enable you to hear God’s guidance for you. And your confidence in God’s willingness and ability to deliver your cohort from damage, danger, or loss enables you to pray fervently, so they see their victory is from the God you serve.

Be ready at all times, for you never know when God’s call will come to you.

Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

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I’ve worked for many good leaders but I once had the privilege of working for an exceptional leader. He was excellent because he had woven into his leadership style some non-negotiable values. For example, as president of the company, he would regularly go into the factory and work with the temporary “temp” workers for an hour or two, and he required his leadership team to do the same.

He was consistent in his decisions and required anyone that came to him with a problem to also bring with them a recommended solution. He placed a strong emphasis on himself and all his leadership team to continually learn and apply techniques that would be good for everyone. I saw him “tear up” in front of the whole company because we had to lay off a group of people.

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (NIV) says, “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests.  It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left.”

God made sure His kings understood their leadership mandate was from God and under the auspices of God. Therefore kings had no reason to think more highly of themselves than they ought (Ro 12:3). This principle also holds for any leadership position right down to those in charge of the men’s fellowship breakfast or the cookie sale.

Leadership is a tough job full of temptations to think of yourself as unique, to exempt yourself from burdens you place on others, to avoid the details and focus on concepts and to compromise instead of working to build a consensus.

The underlying wisdom here reminds us that leaders need to build into their lives accountability, to be committed to managing core principles and to not delegate those to others. Also, leaders need to write down a copy of those core principles (really) and continually reference them, so they are sure they remember them and to communicate that those core principles are non-negotiable.

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

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