In this chapter …
According to the Encarta Dictionary, leadership is defined as “the ability to guide, direct or influence people” and a leader is defined as “somebody whom people follow, somebody who guides or directs others.”
The Bible is based on the true life stories of leaders who, as per the Encarta definition, had the ability to guide, influence and direct people.
In John 14:6 we read of Jesus saying to Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
God is the way the truth and life since before the beginning of time. Because God gave us a free will, not forcing us to follow Him and leaving the choice to us, He does not force us to follow Him. As in the past, He still today uses people like you and me to guide and lead others to the truth.
God used Moses to lead His people from Egypt. In the same way God did not march in front of the Israelites into the Promised Land, but used Joshua to do it on His behalf. Similarly, He used Paul to spread the Gospel amongst the gentiles. Throughout history God used the crown of his creation, people like us, to lead mankind to Him.
The Ultimate Leader
In Acts 5:31 Peter tells the Jewish council of Jesus, saying “God raised him (Jesus) to his right side as Leader and Savior, to give the people of Israel the opportunity to repent and have their sins forgiven.” (GNB)
God has raised Jesus as our ultimate leader. He is the leader of all leaders. Jesus came to earth and became human. He gave us the best example of how to lead. Jesus went through all the trials and tribulations as a leader and knows exactly what we have to go through. He truly led by example. All the elements of leadership are displayed in the life of Jesus:
Leadership consists of the following:
God needs people here on earth to lead other people to the truth, lead people in organizations and in business. God is looking for men and women who are willing to step up to the plate and take the responsibility for leadership in society. God often used the
most unlikely people to lead. Jesus himself was the son of a simple carpenter; He built His church on Peter (a fisherman) because Peter had a willing hart. Moses was a murderer who stuttered. He lived in the desert for a long time after he fled from Egypt and probably thought that this was the way his life was going to end until he answered God’s call. We often say “God cannot use me because I have committed one or another terrible sin”; or
maybe “I am not good with people” and so on. God is not looking for perfect people He is only looking for a willing hart.
“If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there.”
Leaders must know the direction in order to show the direction, they must know where they are going.
The author of Hebrews admonishes his readers, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (Hebrews 12:2 – The Message)
We have already dealt extensively with Godly vision and how we are to measure success. Here the important aspect to remember is that vision answers the question of where we
are going and we have to be mindful of the end at all times.
A vision will remain a dream if there is no action to achieve the vision. It is clear what our
direction (vision) is, but we need to take action to reach the vision.
Action answers the question of what we are supposed to do to reach our goal.
Jesus gave us the perfect example. It is hard to imagine life as we know it today if Jesus was the leader He was, had the vision He had, but did not convert any of this into action. We read of the decision Jesus took at the most crucial time in history in Matthew:
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you
not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the
hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise,
let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.””
(Matthew 26:39-46 – ESV)
If we have an willing heart, know what our Godly vision is, and know that we need to take action, we need to realise that one more ingredient is necessary before we can become a
leader. We need followers.
There is only one way to have followers: you must communicate your Godly vision to others with passion. People will follow a passionate hart. We can only be passionate about
something if we believe it with our whole heart, soul, mind and body. Noah had a vision from God (to build an ark). God gave him the plan on how to reach the vision (instructions on how to build the ark). Noah had a willing heart and took action (he followed Gods instruction), but he could not built the ark on his own. Noah had to tell his family about his vision and they helped him build the ark. If Noah did not believe in the vision neither would his family. Imagine if Jesus came to earth and did not say a word about salvation or God. Nobody would have followed Him.
Jesus told us to go and teach people everything He has commanded us; we cannot teach if we do not believe. When leaders touch the heart of people, then the people become
Paul says it best as translated in The Message “The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)
Who are the leaders?
YOU ARE. God called all of us to show the world His way to the truth; therefore by our definition every Christian believer is a leader.
Do I have to become a high profile business leader or pastor in order to lead?
Luckily the answer is no; there is a perception that if we want to lead we need to become leaders of big organisations or pastors. Yes, there is a definite place for organisation and church leaders and there are a number of teachings in the Bible concerning this. However, as believers, our instruction is clear, go out into the WORLD and make disciples and teach others everything Jesus obeyed us. We all need to lead where we are. God placed you in the situation you are in because He has a purpose for you there. God needs leaders in the business world, sports field, politics, workplace, community and home.
I don’t think I have what it takes to be a leader?
Yes you do.
In Psalm 139:14 the author speaks for all of us when he praises God: “I praise you, for I
am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
You were wonderfully made. God gave you your unique talents and passions for a reason. He is going to use them if you allow God (willing heart). If you are ashamed of your past
or your weaknesses consider this; God used the following people to change history: Moses had a short temper; actually murdered a person and he stuttered. David had a problem with lust; and he had a man killed just to have his wife! So even if you are a stuttering murderer with a lust problem, God can and will still use you – He just needs a willing hart.
Where do I start?
You start where you are. In your family, your workplace, your business, wherever in life God has placed you.
Where will I get guidance?
Look no further than the Bible. The Bible is full of great leaders and their stories including the greatest of them all – Jesus Christ. Study them and learn from them. When reading of a leader in the Bible, consider the principles outlined in this study. Consider how the leader took up God’s call; how he received a Godly vision; how he put this into action; and finally how he inspired his followers.
Is it going to be easy?
No, leadership is not easy. Paul knew this when he wrote to Timothy, “But you–keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.” (2 Timothy 4:5 – The Message)
1. According to the above diagram if we want to be successful leaders that makes an impact we have to start leading ourselves first, then our family, then our business and then our community. Do you agree or not? Why or why not?
2. Give some practical examples of how we can start being successful leaders in the differ spheres of life (Self, family, business and community)
3. You promised your child that you would attend a sporting event at school that they are participating in. On your way to the school the afternoon an important client phones you and wants to get some prices on a product. You know that this could be a significant deal. If you go back to the office there will not be time to attend your child’s sport function. You remember that your child has been reminding you for the last three weeks and you gave your word that you would be there. You decide to go back to the office and you phone your client (you will explain to your child that Dad had some important business to attend and that you will be there next time), your client wants to know if it is the best price you can give and you say “of course it is my best price, I give you my word…….”
What lessons will the child learn about leadership from this situation?Tweet