Do you identify yourself as a leader? Most of us don’t think of ourselves as leaders. When we think of leaders, we think of presidents, governors, or CEO’s with great charisma and decisiveness, We think of generals who commanded respect or great preachers who drew thousands with their eloquent sermons.
However, when we look at the Bible, God seems to have a different image of what makes a leader, Charisma is not a prerequisite for leadership. In fact, many of the Church’s greatest leaders felt insufficient when called. Some tried to argue against their calling because of their perceived inadequacies. Moses questioned his ability because he was “slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Gideon questioned his credentials before God, “But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and lam the least in my family.” The Apostle Paul was so unimpressive in person that some in the Corinthian church questioned his authority. Thomas doubted. Peter was impulsive. The Bible is filled with examples Of unlikely leaders. It goes to show us that God can use us even if we don’t feel or appear adequate.
When it comes to leadership, we place too much value on charisma. While it provides a great advantage, it is often misused. Cultist leaders often have charisma. Adolf Hitler seduced a whole nation into doing horrific and evil things through his charisma. And even those charismatic leaders With the best of intentions can led astray when they trust their popularity over God. We find examples of this in Scripture such as King David who slept with Bathsheba and killed her husband Uriah; and we find examples in everyday life when we hear about the scandals of fallen church leaders.
Another misconception about leadership is that one comes to leadership naturally, through God given talents. However, many leadership experts will tell you that leadership is primarily a learned skill set. Even the greatest leaders had to learn the skills necessary in order to lead Others. Often those skills were formed through adversity as those leaders had to learn a whole new way of relating to others. After losing the use of his legs, Franklin Roosevelt had to learn how to Win the confidence Of Others While sitting in a wheel chair. King George VI had to overcome his stuttering in order to inspire his people in the midst of WWII.
While the greatest leadership skills are learned over time such as wisdom and maturity, the only prerequisite for Christian leadership is the willingness to answer God’s call into the unknown. We hear this call from Jesus to “come follow me.” Now, we need Strong faithful leaders more than ever. Our society and culture have changed drastically over the last twenty years. As we look around us, it is easy to feel uncertain about the future. And it is into these uncertain times that answering God’s call into the unknown is needed by those around us. In our fami- lies, neighborhoods, work places, civic organizations, and with our friends, God is calling us to be leaders among those we love and interact with every day. In these places, God has placed us to assist those around us to know the love and truth Of Jesus Christ. TO be a Christian leader is to say “yes” to God’s call and then to be willing and humble enough to learn along the way.
As we begin to rise from the pandemic, God is calling us forth to begin the process of rebuilding. In the last year, we have had to learn new skills, NOW, we must incorporate those skills with the old; we will need creativity and a learning posture to discern God’s pathway for our church. The pandemic, like previous crises, has changed us, our society, and the Church as well. The Church needs Christian leaders who are innovative and willing to step forward in faith towards a new calling, Also, how will we train the next set of leaders. As I hear the stories Of our
congregation, there is a sense that Park United has been blessed with many great lav leaders in its past. I see that continuing today and I am encouraged about the young leaders forming in our midst. Look inside and see how God is calling you to be a leader among women and men within the church and the greater community.
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