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A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING

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Leadership is all about influence. True leaders earn the right to lead because of who they are and not the title or position they hold. The best leaders are those who understand who they are and that God has called them to serve others. Mark 10:45 is a very familiar verse, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many.” We know the challenge that is given, but have we really looked at the context of this passage?

Jesus opens up this discourse in Mark by saying, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you.” Our leadership “style” should be different from the corporate world, upper management, and the survival of the fittest mentality. Jesus set the example for us by humbling himself, washing the feet of His disciples, and always thinking of others first.

Before you can lead others you must first be able to lead yourself. Here is a great question to ask yourself: What is it like to sit across the table from you? How do people react when they see you coming? One of the greatest tools we need to have is self-awareness. All of us have blind spots but we must have self-awareness of our strengths and weaknesses. You must know yourself, know the skills you need to have, and most importantly, know Christ intimately.

You must lead yourself before you can ever lead others. The natural progression should be to lead yourself, then lead others, and then to lead leaders. As a church, think of it this way: You want to stay centered on God, connected to one another, and concerned about your community. If you are in a leadership role never forget this; “Speed of the leader, speed of the team!” As a leader, it is your responsibility to take care of your spiritual walk and then to continually point others toward the Lord.

Staying centered on God requires developing faith habits to focus us on loving God more. Then staying connected to one another requires developing love habits that build a strong community of strong believers. We desire to love people more. Then, when we are centered and connected we need to remain concerned about our community. We need to develop hope habits that bless people who are far from God and demonstrate the love of God to them in practical ways. We want to love more people.

How do you become a leader worth following? Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” You must develop faith habits that draw you close to God and continue to build your relationship with him. As a church you must keep your people focused on walking with the Lord. Do you have a clear path for people in your church to continue to grow and develop in their Christian walk? Have you thought through processes that will keep you and your people moving forward?

  1. What daily discipleship engine will you use? There are many good daily devotional books and Bible reading programs. There are phone apps and multiple other resources but you might want to consider a plan that everyone in the church can participate in together. One such personal discipleship engine is S.O.A.P. It is a journaling Bible study method that focused on Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. Consider providing a schedule for everyone to read the same scripture daily.
  2. How are you promoting prayer? You must teach and disciple people on how to pray. The daily discipline of talking and listening to the Lord must be developed. Think of the word P.R.A.Y. Begin by praising him (“Our Father which art in heaven”), then repent (“forgive us our trespasses”), then ask (“give us this day our daily bread”), and then yield (“Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”). The best way to learn to pray is to hear a prayer partner pray.
  3. Focus on worshipping God. Have you developed an environment that causes everyone to look upward? From the opening of the service to its conclusion everything must point to the Lord high and lifted up. It is wisdom to have a worship planning system in place that strives to be Holy Spirit directed in every part of the worship service. Teach your people the importance of individual worship but also of worshipping together as the body of Christ. Let us offer up the sacrifice of praise.
  4. How will you connect people to the church? Do people know what the “next steps” are for them to take as a part of the church? Is there a clear path for them to get connected with a small group (Sunday School class, Bible study, etc) that will care for them, love them, and minister to them? If people are not able to connect with a small group they usually will not stay connected to the church. They will most likely begin to become disinterested, drift away, and eventually drop out.
  5. Provide people with entry level service opportunities. Once again they need to know not only what the “next steps” are for connecting but also for how they can serve and get involved. Make people aware of how they can help and that they can “kick the tires” on different ministries. Allow them the opportunity to see if a particular ministry fits their gift mix, and if not, help them find them one that does. Have everyone fill out an information sheet so they can sign up for what interests them.

Remember, we must first be leaders worth following so that we can lead others to Jesus and a walk with Him!