Leaders____________. (Fill in the blank) Set examples Go ahead Help others succeed Are looked up to Eat last Are the visionaries Motivate Move Set the Vision and Pace While these characteristics do define many of the aspects promoted in leadership, without one significant “fill in,” healthy, proper, Christian leadership will never be achieved. The primary responsibility of a Christian leader is to abide in the Father. Abiding is something that must be done before and throughout your leadership role. I have fallen into the trap of putting leadership strategy and development as the primary way to move people into and through leadership. I understand (and adamantly said) that, “of course the leadership development planning all falls under the authority of God, and for God”, but as I’ve had time to reflect over the past few months I’ve realized that God was secondary to leadership strategy and development. In other words, my leadership strategy was tangentially supported by a love of God. This is not the way I believe it should be. Instead, a love of and for God should be the primary focus. Only then can we correctly be moved to leadership strategy. The love of God within Christian leadership (abiding) is the best leadership strategy. To be clear: Focusing on abiding, so that someone becomes a leader is not the motivation, it is the natural byproduct of growth. The movement to leadership through abiding is actually a sign of maturing. The best opportunity to help people grow in Christ and in the leadership is to help them abide in the Father.
When we help cultivate a heart where people are connected to God, when they are finding their identity in Him, then not only should we see an increase in people stepping into leadership roles, but we will also see people who are gaining their motivation for leading others from the only sustainable resource- God himself. I’ve been in some sort of leadership for as long as I can remember, and one of the things that I have discovered is; If people are depending on a finite leader to infinitely motivate and inspire them, sooner or later that leader's voice won't be motivation enough. On the other hand, we have thousands of years of the one true God moving, motivating, inspiring, changing, and leading people to lead and love others. He is the only source of infinite love, joy, compassion, justice, and beauty. A leader’s greatest responsibility is to help those he is overseeing to abide in the Father.
If people are depending on a finite leader to infinitely motivate and inspire them, sooner or later that leader's voice won't be motivation enough.
So what does it mean to abide? John 15 records Jesus giving and illustration using vine and branches. He calls himself the vine, while telling his disciples that they are the branches. Simply put the branch is useless without the vines. Beyond that a branch can only be functional, only receive its nutrients, only create fruit by doing one thing-- staying connected to the vine. One thing-- abiding. The vine is the source of life, health, motivation, leadership. Jesus is this source. Here is a scary confessional time: As a leader I can too often begin to believe that I am the vine (for motivation, leadership development, leadership health), and I think many leaders in the Church, may not admit it but feel this burden too. While there is a role that I play in these areas, as a leader, I’m beginning to realize that my primary responsibility is to give that responsibility to God, helping people get their nutrients from the true vine, because a leader’s greatest responsibility is to help those they are overseeing abide in the Father.
For those who are leading and those who are being led (Hey that’s all of us!!) May you Abide in Christ. May you spend time listening to Him through His Word and His community, and may you spend time speaking with Him through prayer. Let God transform you, let His love change you, let His Spirit work through you. Let us all lead and be led by allowing God to do His good work in and through us.