Sunday, July 6, 2008

Leadership 101 - The Leader's Responsibilities

A leader's job is to lead right? But what does this really mean. It depends on the context. A business leader leads a company to make money. A trail guide (leader) leads a group of people on a trail. A general leads his army to conquer and overcome. The amount of success a leader experiences is proportionate to their influence and ability to lead.

What is a Christian leader's job? If our purpose as humans created by God is to know God and become more like Jesus, then our purpose as a leader is to help people know God and become more like Jesus. This is why Paul wrote his letter to Timothy. He was encouraging him in two ways, or you could say he was showing him two responsibilities he had as a leader.

First, a leader is responsible for creating an atmosphere where people can grow.

Second, in order to help people grow a leader is responsible for his/her own growth as well.

A leader can't take a person where they have never been themselves. Christian leaders need to help others grow in their relationship with Christ and likeness of Christ, but they must be growing themselves.

Paul points out that there are people who in essence have stopped growing, or at least stopped growing in the right direction. They have become very legalistic requiring their followers to submit to a bunch of ridiculous rules. They lost focus of two very important principles.

As leaders we have to be careful to keep these principles at the forefront of what we do. If we don't we lose site of what is important. We end up making decisions based upon our personal feelings rather then letting these principles guide our decisions.

What are these principles? Love God and love others. So when we talk about growing to be more like Christ we are in essence talking about growing in our love for Him and others. When we help others grow we help them become more like Jesus by encouraging them to love God and love others.

As we create an atmosphere of growth we have got to be sure we don't make a bunch of self imposed rules that have nothing to do with loving God and loving others. We create an atmosphere based upon and encourages people to love God and others. We need to ask ourselves, "Is what I am going to do going to encourage people to love God and each other more fully?" If the answer is no then a new plan needs to be developed.

Paul tells Timothy "...train yourself to be godly." This is exactly what we are talking about. God is the ultimate example of love. I tell people "God doesn't have a selfish spiritual bone in His spiritual body." Everything God does is for a purpose. That purpose is us. Even when it seems like God is doing something a little selfish He really has his mind on us. (For example. Why should God receive all the praise and glory. Short from He deserves it because He is the Creator of all things, He is also the only being that doesn't let such praise go to His head. God understands that we humans need something greater than ourselves to focus on so we can learn to be humble and fully love.)

Let us as leaders do our best to grow in our own love of God and others. As we are growing (not when we have grown because we will never grow to completion until we are in heaven) we need to help others grow as well. We can only take people where we have been. Let's make sure we are well on our way.

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