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Leadership Defined

July 16, 2016
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Since the release of my new book titled, The Christian Leader’s Worldview, I have been fielding questions on how I landed on the definition of leadership that was included at the beginning of the book. Just prior to the table of contents there is a declaration of what I believe to be an appropriate definition of leadership. It was a sincere and honest attempt to capture the most critical elements of leadership, while documenting some of the mysteries found in the Word of God that are too difficult to reconcile this side of heaven. The following is a reprint of the definition found in the book.

“The thoughts, desires, passions, and actions of Christian men and women by the leading of the Holy Spirit and under God’s control, for selfless ends.”

When constructing the above definition, I wanted to skillfully craft and design a definition that had impact and meaning to Christians leaders around the globe. I pray that the following commentary will provide additional valuable insight for a more comprehensive understanding of my definition of leadership, while challenging individuals to be more involved in the execution of the term.

1. Trinity - When contemplating this phenomenon called leadership in its absolute form, a definition would not be complete without first acknowledging the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yes, it is in the study of the divine personages and Godhead of the Trinity with each of their unique and dynamic characteristics that we begin to formulate the true starting point for a leadership definition. While we directly use the words “Holy Spirit” and “God” in our definition, the words “for selfless ends” is an indirect reference to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ was the epitome of selflessness! We serve one God, in the form of three separate and distinct personalities that define who we are as leaders. Amen! 

Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

2. Good Friends – Charles Spurgeon once commented when asked to choose between God’s sovereignty (predestination) and human responsibility (man’s free will) with a most succinct retort that had stinging and insightful impact. Spurgeon responded with the candor, grace, and depth that only he had the ability to articulate on this subject. He indicated (and I am paraphrasing) that he had no interest in choosing between two good friends. In our leadership definition we simply wanted to acknowledge these two “good friends.” We do not feel compelled to be divisive in any shape, form, or fashion on this issue. We have no desire to point out specific (or pet) passages that will dogmatically defend either of these positions in isolation. We simply look to the totality of scripture and respond with a resounding…………..YES! Yes, we serve a God who is the Alpha and Omega that knows our charted course and paths in life along with our final appointment! Yes, we have the free will to make choices and decisions in life that will either glorify a Risen Savior or glorify self. On this topic I am not able to conjure up any additional insight except it come from a place of human reasoning with little to no value. I simply look forward to entering heaven’s gates to be able to understand the richness of these seemingly paradoxical doctrinal truths.

 

Jeremiah 51:15 – “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.”

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 – “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that thou and thy seed may live:”

 

3. Servant Leadership – What a powerful leadership characteristic! Just think about it! The ability for leaders to be able to focus on someone beyond themselves is paramount to effective leadership. A servant leadership approach is vital to any real understanding of the term. Remember, we are not talking about coercion, brute force, dictatorship, brain washing, or tactics that manipulate an outcome. We are talking about the genuine and authentic desire to serve other people and their development in order to contribute to a broader purpose. When you enter that selfless realm of people building and have a genuine concern and love (agape love) for others, you enter the world of trust, hope, and confidence. Christ loved us with a love so strong (agape love) that he was willing to die that we might gain eternal life! The Apostle Paul also reminds us of our leadership responsibility relating to love (charity). “And now abide faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

 

Mark 9:35 – “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”

 

4. Male and Female – Everyone who has accepted Christ as their Savior has been adopted into the family of God. A blessing and byproduct of that adoption is the empowering nature of the Holy Spirit along with the endowment of our God-given spiritual gift(s). We are compelled to use those spiritual gifts for the edification of the church body! By definition and of necessity those spiritual gifts demand leadership. We are required to exercise those gifts for the furtherance of His kingdom. Anything less will compromise the effective nature and working of the body of Christ. In our definition we purposefully use the words “men” and “women” based on the particulars above. May all of our lights so shine before mankind as a lighthouse to the world!

 

Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 

5. Human Introspection – We will now mention the importance of self-examination on the nature of leadership. Leaders must continually be “on guard” and conscious of their thoughts, desires, passions, and actions. Leaders need to die to their “old man” daily and put on the mind of Christ. God has formed mankind with an indescribable web of complexity that allows us to think, feel, act, and make informed decisions. The left side of our brain thinks in ways that are logical and sequential while the right side of our brain is there for more of the creative and intuitive ways of thinking. It is only through deep self-examination, confession, and understanding that we reach a point where we can be used as leaders to impact others for Christ. We need to harness our thoughts, desires, passions, and actions through the filter of God’s Word!

 

Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”              

 

6. Action / Execution – Here is where the rubber meets the road. Are you willing to step out by faith and do something? Are you willing to act? Will you challenge yourself to get involved and to be an active participant? What an awesome responsibility we have as leaders. We are called to be good Christian solders, preach and teach His Word, evangelize, have dominionship over the earth, while involving ourselves in the lives of other people by building relationships! This means both action and discomfort. Leadership is hard. If you exercise true leadership there will be peaks and valleys and times that you will question your own ability to lead. It will be these low points in your leadership development when God will move and teach you about the absolute and responsible nature of leadership.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 – “WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

7. Results - Leaders are passionately committed to moving from point A to point B in whatever task or challenge is at hand. Yes, there is an end game. Leaders have a vision of the future that they try to communicate and make happen in order to achieve a result. However, as we have indicated above, those results should neither be self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, or focused on a desire to achieve personal and selfish gain. They are meant for “selfless ends” as indicated in our definition.   

Philippians 3:14 – “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

In summary, leadership is a dynamic state of influence that starts with the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is the recognition that God has equipped you for a cause much bigger than yourself. If you are willing to yield to the calling of leadership through your spiritual gifts, He will perform amazing things through you for His ultimate glory. I hope and pray that this additional discussion on our definition of leadership will inspire you to form your own definition. Take the time right now and write down what leadership means to you! Is Christ both the starting and ending points for your definition?      


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