Friday, August 29, 2008

Seven Qualities a Leader Must Have

As I have been thinking through my personal leadership journey lately and trying to figure out who God has called me to be and what He’s called me to do … I have narrowed my focus down to seven areas that I believe are essential for effective leadership in the church.

#1 - Passion

I’m not talking about false excitement over an event that you would not attend if you were not on the payroll at the church!

But rather raw, unfiltered, emotional and unapologetic passion … a white hot fire inside that consumes, controls and configures us into who Jesus has called us to be and what He’s called us to do!

Be warned–passionate people make for easy targets because no one has to guess what they stand for! However, passion, if handled correctly, can be one of the best friends a leader can have.

#2 - A Desire To Please God

One of the first verses I ever memorized was Galatians 1:10. I remember reading it and feeling like it literally jumped off the page … and something inside of me kept screaming, “You are going to need this verse for yourself if you are going to be truly successful in ministry.”

A true leader in church understands that God is our Leader … and in a passionate pursuit to please Him you and I will often disappoint people.

We can’t please committee’s and Christ – a choice must be made.

#3 - Wisdom

James 1:5 has been a verse that I have also had to cling onto as a leader! What a promise!
God has called us to wisdom … so … as leaders I feel that we need to be doing as much as possible to learn … that means going to conferences, reading books … and not being afraid to meet with and learn from people who “aren’t like us!”

What are you personally doing right now to grow and develop yourself as a leader? To add to your wisdom?

I am in the process of connecting with other church leaders … in the past several weeks I’ve been involved in numerous learning environments with people who know SO MUCH MORE than me … and God has used each experience to shape me in an awesome way.

If all we tell our people is what we know, and we lead out of our limited knowledge, never seeking wisdom from others or God, then we will raise up some very shallow people.

#4 - Courage

I don’t think the tag “leader” should be put on anyone who hasn’t had to make tough decisions on a consistent basis.

I once heard Andy Stanley say that a leader isn’t necessarily the first person to see an opportunity, but rather the first person to act on what they see.

So true! There are lots and lots of people who see what is wrong with the world, church, etc … however, very few are actually willing to do anything about it.

Leaders step up and make the hard calls … even when it’s unpopular.

On a side note – courage is NOT the absence of fear!

However, courage is KNOWING what God has called you to … and then DOING it … not knowing the outcome … but KNOWING who is in control of the outcome!

#5 - Humility

This is a tough one because … well … one cannot actually brag that they are humble!

Too many times in the past I know that this was a quality that was NOT in me! I wanted the credit for all of “my ideas!” If something went right and I was involved – I wanted people to know about it. If an element of service programming went well and it was my idea … I took the credit.

And then one day I had a conversation with John Maxwell that ROCKED MY WORLD … he said to me, “You are where you are for two reasons. The first is the favor of God. The second is the giftedness of God. And, please understand that God didn’t owe you either of these. You are where you are because of Him!”

When it comes right down to it … I don’t have good ideas – God gives them to me. I don’t have the ability to think or act … OR LEAD … unless HE leads me!

John 15:5 is SO true … and I have no right to boast in anything that I feel like I accomplish!

If a leader doesn’t care who gets the credit … but is obsessed with God getting the glory – awesome things can happen!

#6 - Honesty

One of the things the corporate world has seen lately is a lack of integrity … and the lie that “this is my life and how I live it doesn’t really impact anyone else” has been exposed over and over and over again!

As leaders – we’ve got to be honest with …

- OURSELVES - how are you doing? Really? Can you keep up the pace you have right now? What changes need to be made?
- OTHERS - is everyone around you doing a good job? Is there a tough conversation that needs to be had–but you won’t because you are afraid of the outcome?
- GOD - Is life and ministry REALLY “all about Him?”

#7 - Simplicity

I once heard Ed Young say, “If you want to impress me as a leader – don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you’re NOT doing!”

I think a leader who is worth his (or her) salt will admit that they are not good at everything … and as a result they will stop trying to be.

Reality is that everyone of us only do a few things well … and our leadership will be maximized when we focus on what God has gifted us and called us to be rather than what everyone else in the church expects us to be!I can’t do everything … but I can do something … and the something that I can do … I will do!

What is on your plate that you KNOW you aren’t good at? You hate it? Go ahead and admit it because everyone around you already knows it and are probably praying that you will stop it anyway!

That’s about it … oh yeah ... if you haven’t read this book by Andy Stanley on point #7–PLEASE–DO IT! Seriously! It will set you free!


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