Is leadership just influence? I'd say it's a lot more, but certainly includes influence. The question is, what kind of influence does a leader have?
Some leaders are authoritarian, almost tyrannical in their style and influence, while others use a mentor or guru approach.
True leadership is more than a style or approach. True leaders lead the way for others with confidence, and people follow them.
Example is essential
This is the third post related to grassroots leadership where we've looked at three words—love, feed, and lead. As with the other two posts, I'll use the four letters of lead as an acrostic—L-E-A-D.
What can be said about leading? A lot! And a lot's been written and spoken about how to lead.
Our prime model for leadership in ministry is Jesus. He's the example for all believers wherever they may lead. How did Jesus lead? He led with authority and humility, as noted in earlier posts, and used various means to prepare His followers for leadership.
A major part of Jesus' leadership was His example, not just as a sinless human but as a genuine one, and a Son who followed His Father (John 4:34; 5:19). This is important to note. We need to be lead-able our selves to be good leaders of others.
Our own life example is essential for leading as Jesus led others.
[bctt tweet="We need to be lead-able our selves to be good leaders of others"]
4 Elements of leading well
L– Listen and Learn
Listening and hearing well is somewhat of a lost art. We all want to be listened to, but how good are we at listening to others? This is a vital part of good leadership. Leaders need to listen, and they need to hear what's being said.
A missionary friend of mine pointed out how Jesus listened, even asked questions, as a young man (Luke 2:46). Reading through all four gospels this is still seen in Him, especially His dialogs with people. He was observant and heard what His followers talked about, and even asked them questions (Mark 9:33-37; Matt 16:13-15).
Jesus didn't listen to look for a place to jump in with what He wanted to say, He listened then responded. If you're a leader, are you able to listen to others and hear what they have to say? If not, why should anyone listen to you?
I've learned a lot by listening to others, some of it good and some not so good. I try to hear their heart, as well as their words. I also try to pay attention to what's not being said, as this can reveal much.
One more thought on all this. A good leader keeps learning from others. This is a sign of humility and openness, and the people you lead will see this and be more willing to follow you.
[bctt tweet="A vital part of good leadership is the ability to listen and hear well"]
E– Educate and Equip
Education is often reduced to teaching and transferring knowledge. But a good education needs to be practical, useful for life. An academic education won't prepare God's people to serve in the church.
God gave leaders to the church to equip them for service (Eph 4:11-16). I spoke about this some last week when we looked at the word feed.
Look at how Jesus equipped His followers, those who were chosen as apostles, and those who chose to be His disciples. Yes, He taught them as spoke to the crowds, but he also revealed things to them that weren't shared publicly ( Matt 13:10-17).
Those who followed Jesus learned by watching Him, hearing Him, and being with Him. They watched, they learned, then they were given the opportunity to do.
Perhaps you're familiar with Jesus sending out the twelve, found in Matthew 10 and Luke 9. Later, Jesus sends out others who followed Him, who were not His chosen apostles (Luke 10:1-3).
Teaching and training needs to be useful and productive, otherwise it's just knowledge. Nowadays we can get that on the internet. We need to educate people for a specific purpose or purposes.
A simple question for any leader is—Are we talking about truth or equipping people in the truth?
[bctt tweet="Are we talking about truth or equipping people in the truth?"]
A– Accept and Acknowledge
I've served in many different ministries over the past four decades or so, often at the bottom of the "food-chain," as some of my friends say. You name it, I've probably done it, from cleaning toilets to running a backhoe. But my wife and I have also been in leadership roles.
Because of our own experience, we learned to accept people as they are, not how we think they should be. Not everyone can do everything.
We've had staff who didn't do well in certain things, but excelled in others. This taught us to find the right place for each person within the ministry.
When a specific role needs to be filled, it's important to find the right person. Otherwise, they will be frustrated and we (their leaders) will be also. We need to accept people for who they are, and not have unrealistic or unreasonable expectations of them.
When people feel valued, they do their work better and they're a lot happier doing it. They need to be acknowledged, noticed, appreciated. This is especially true for those who serve in a volunteer capacity.
I think we all want to hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." (Matt 25:21)
[bctt tweet="We need to accept people without unrealistic or unreasonable expectations"]
D– Disciple and Delegate
Last week, we looked at discipleship, but here I'd like to see how it benefits the Kingdom of God as a whole. Discipleship isn't just about knowing doctrine and how to live it out, it has a purpose. Yes, a good disciple is a disciple-maker, but there's still more to it.
Jesus knew He was preparing the apostles to lead and establish the church, the Kingdom of God on earth. Discipleship should involve doing. Yes, it's good to do life together, but it's important to have shared experiences.
By shared I mean a mutual participation, on equal footing. How? Prayer, worship, serving others or any activity where the leader isn't in charge of the disciple. This helps create a shared trust of one another.
Delegation works best when trust exists. Genuine discipleship sets the stage for reliable delegation. Delegation isn't just dishing out responsibility for a task.
You come to trust those you disciple, and they trust you. When trust exists, it's a lot easier to delegate a task or responsibility with confidence that it will be done well.
Early on in the Lord's training of His followers, He sends them out to do what they've seen Him do (Luke 9:1-6). He delegates ministry to them. He entrusted His authority to them along with responsibility.
Jesus shows us how discipleship done well leads to fruitful delegation. It includes authority with responsibility because of mutual trust.
[bctt tweet="Genuine discipleship sets the stage for reliable delegation"]
Love, feed, lead
This is the last of four posts, three that looked at three primary elements of leading as Jesus led, based on His role as the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18).
If these posts blessed you, please share them with others. My hope is that they're helpful for any leader within the Kingdom of God, whether you lead in a church or ministry, or lead in some other capacity.
Here are the other posts from first to last—
How Do You Spell Love? L-O-V-E