Two thirds of the earth’s surface is water, yet there are places in the world where people will literally go to war over access to clean drinking water. In the same way, there have never been so many books, seminars, and blogs on leadership, yet the culture is still a giant vacuum desperately needing leaders to get out front.
I’ve become convinced that the world needs two things from the church and the church has the potential to offer them. The first is the gospel — the life-transforming, world-changing, culture-shaping good news that Jesus has done all that is necessary to redeem us from sin’s curse. The second is leadership, which provides the vehicle for carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. Without the gospel, the church has no real reason to exist. And without leadership, the church’s existence is quite temporary.
That’s why I’m giving my life to two things: feeding the flock and leading leaders. Every week, I want to study and prepare to teach truth, speak into the culture, and share the depth of the riches of God’s Word with people. And every week, I want to spent time investing in those who lead — not just church leaders, but leaders in every realm of society — at home, at work, and in the community.
We lack leaders because potential leaders lack three things:
- A conviction that I ought to lead.
- The confidence that I can lead.
- A growing knowledge of how to lead.
So I have three challenges for you to take up.
Challenge #1: See the Need
A lot of people, from Lee Roberson to John Maxwell, have gotten credit for originally saying one of the simplest and wisest things that has ever been said… “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
- Families thrive under good leadership.
- Communities are better places to live because of good leadership.
- Causes are addressed and needs are met with good leadership.
- Churches and companies grow under good leadership.
You don’t need a fresh revelation from God to feel called to lead. He has spoken plenty on the subject and His call to salvation is also a call to service. Do you see the need?
Challenge #2: Invest In Relationships
I love Maxwell’s basic definition of leadership, “Leadership is influence.” Nothing more. Nothing less.
The word “influence” comes from a compound of two Latin words meaning “in” and “flow.” Creek beds and canyons are formed because of a flow of water. Weather patterns stay regulated by the flow of ocean currents. And culture is shaped by leaders.
And how do leaders shape the culture around us? Through relationships. The evidence of leadership is change. And the evidence of good leadership is change for good. I love watching my wife lead, and she’s one of the best I know. And what I see that amazes me most is the change she affects in others. A lot of people are in better places because of her.
How are you making a dent? Who has changed for good because you’ve led them?
Challenge #3: Do the Work of Leading
Leadership can either be a lofty idea or it can be an in-the-trenches daily exercise in influencing. Thomas Edison famously said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” That’s true of leadership too. Goals are great. Vision is essential. But the bulk of leading is doing the hard work, investing time and imparting wisdom into people.
So catch a vision. Make some friends. And get to work! The world needs you to get out front!