Effective Christian leaders make long range plans and give God room to actively direct or change those plans. Read Romans 15:22-29.
In today’s verses the Apostle Paul is in process of taking a love offering from the churches in Macedonia to the church in Jerusalem that had fallen on hard times. While on his way to Jerusalem, Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome discussing some long range plans to visit their church on his way to preach the Gospel in Spain.
Skilled leaders know the importance of spending time with key followers, especially in the early stages of their time together. Read John 1:35-39.
When John the Baptist publicly recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God, two of his disciples heard him and followed Jesus. Jesus saw them following Him and invited them to come with Him and according to verse 39 they “spent that day with Him.” Jesus did more than spend time with these men; He opened Himself allowing them to have a relationship with Him.
Even a negative example can teach leaders positive lessons. Read Luke 16:1-16.
As Jesus spoke with the crowd described in Luke 15:1-2, He told a perplexing story in chapter 16:1-13 that appeared at first glance to encourage dishonesty. Jesus’ real message is that Christian leaders should mimic the steward’s shrewdness, not his dishonesty. This story of the unrighteous manager teaches leaders lessons about shrewdness in business and a few subtle truths about leadership:
Competent leaders deserve and should insist on loyalty and commitment from their team. Read Luke 14:25-35.
During His three years of public ministry Jesus gave Himself wholly to His assignment from God and to His team. He demonstrated His ability, commitment, resourcefulness and intelligence in private settings, to the masses, and to the political and religious leaders of His day. Jesus’ example tended to drive the uncommitted away but attracted the committed. His passion to honor God and His competence in carrying out His assignment gained the trust, respect, loyalty and commitment of His team. Jesus never hesitated to tell His followers to count the costs of following Him because He wanted their all or nothing.
Wise leaders know that before demanding high levels of commitment, they must demonstrate a level of competence. Competence is required to gain the trust and respect of their team. John Maxwell discusses competence in a note in The Maxwell Leadership Bible:
Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know you know your business – and know that they want to follow you. Competence must be sought at every organizational level. Incompetence can be tolerated nowhere, John Gardner once wrote, “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
Once a leader has demonstrated competence they must identify what it is within their organization that is worthy of their team’s commitment. I personally have found that rather than asking the question, “How do we get commitment?” it is better to ask, “To what or to whom are we committed?” No matter how competent the leader, until their team understands what they are doing that is worthy of commitment it will feel shallow to the team to be asked for commitment. For the Christian leader, when their organization’s goals and outcomes are properly related to God and the organization’s activities honor Him, commitment will make sense to the team.
Jesus said that His team’s love for Him needed to be so great that all other human relationships would pale by comparison. While it is true that only Jesus would qualify for that kind of devotion, leaders can learn from Jesus’ example and should not hesitate to ask their team to count the costs of being on the team so they can chose to get on board or leave for a cause and leader they can commit to wholeheartedly.
Job 11:13-15 “Yet if you devote your heart to Him and stretch out your hands to Him, If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”
Leaders are in a unique position to help their team develop their own leadership skills and reach their full potential. Read Luke 10:1-24.
Jesus was in the final year of His earthly ministry and according to Luke 9:51, “As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” In order to maximize the number of people He would talk to about the kingdom of heaven as He traveled to Jerusalem He “…appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go.” These 72 were to “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God is near’” (10:9). Jesus used their assignment to develop the leadership skills of His teammates.