Sunday, November 2, 2008

Leadership Principles

Our pastor took some time the last few weeks of this election season to outline some leadership principles he found in Scripture, and present them as possible evidence as we make our decision on election day. I didn't particularly find them helpful in choosing a candidate, as I don't believe we have the option of choosing a leader that will implement biblical principles above all others. However, I did hear some good principles that provide guidance to me as I attempt to provide God-honoring leadership within my own circle of influence.

The first principle is that leadership is stewardship. None of us really has power in the first place, we are just sometimes given a little authority over someone or something else, that will later have to be given back to the ultimate authority, God. Two characteristics of this are that our leadership scope is time limited, and that we will someday be held accountable for what we did with the authority that was given to us.

A great biblical example of this is King Nebuchadnezzar, as told in Daniel 4. Nebby was the king of the largest kingdom in the world at that time, but his power had been given to him by God. But he continued to think that the size of his domain was due to his own power, so God took his leadership away until he acknowledged that God was ruler of all, and the king was only a steward of what he had been given.

Galatians 6:7 tells us, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." God gives leadership authority to whomever he wishes; but he desires that his leaders also acknowledge him as the giver of that authority.

Another biblical leadership principle is that there are multiple kinds of authority. A leader is given a certain amount of positional authority, meaning she has certain responsibilities. But the way a leader exercises that authority is called moral authority, and influences the amount of respect and followership she inspires in those she is leading.

The example given of moral authority is found in the leadership style of Nehemiah. He was made governor of Jerusalem and used his authority to rebuild the wall around the city in order to protect it from attacks by enemies. But he did not just lead from the governor's mansion; rather he declined to take the bonus pay available to him, and he also went out and worked on the wall himself. This kind of leadership not only gave him respect among the local leadership, but inspired the others to work harder to accomplish the goal.

A third principle of biblical leadership is to have the vision to anticipate future needs, and the discipline to plan ahead in the moment in order to be prepared when those needs arise. Resource availability tends to fluctuate. Some times are times of plenty, and some times are lean. In general, when we have extra, we tend to become less vigilant about planning ahead because we see that we have at least as much as we need. But this kind of thinking can lead to problems down the road when we run into times of less excess. It is far better to live even in the plentiful times as if we had little, and to save the extra for those future times when we do not have access to as many resources.

Here we are back to my least favorite subject, self-discipline! But once again I am being shown that developing a disciplined lifestyle is not only worth pursuing, but something God desires from me and commands for me. Guess I should get my act together...

The key is to inspire others toward growth in their own leadership potential. As we remind ourselves of the wonder of God's grace, we remember to get our direction from him in the area of our leadership decisions. And the beauty of implementing God's wisdom is that eventually that wisdom may be recognized, and God may put any of us in a higher position, for his own purpose, that results in bringing others closer to him.

These principles of stewardship, character, and discipline give me good marching orders as I exercise leadership within the scope God has given me: parenting, MOPS, and my writing. With God's help, I hope to implement them more and more, not just for my satisfaction at becoming more effective, but for the ultimate purpose of continuing to empower others to take steps closer to God.

1 comment:

  1. Don't know if you know the Rhodes, but their baby boy died yesterday. I have a post, please pray for them.


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