Understanding Leadership

Do you have a first-grade understanding of leadership?

Today at the Calibrate Northwest Conference at New Life Church in Renton, Washington, Pastor Judah Smith (City Church) shared his first ideas of leadership. He described how his 1st grade teacher chose a line-leader each week. He eagerly waited for his turn and when he was selected, he took charge. Because that’s what leaders do. To a first grader, a leader gets to tell people what to do and they have to do it.

Unfortunately, many leaders continue to keep that 1st grade concept of leadership. They think that when they become the leader (whether it’s in a business or in a church), they get to tell people what to do and they have to do it.

What’s your understanding of leadership?

Have you advanced your understanding of leadership beyond the first grade?

Has your understanding been shaped by a biblical perspective of leadership?

I have a lot of books on leadership on my bookshelves. It’s an important topic to understand – especially for Christian leaders, pastors and church planters.

In J. Oswald Sanders book Spiritual Leadership, he defines leadership this way:

“Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others to follow his or her lead.”

He also gives these following quotes from famous leaders…

“Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which inspires confidence.” – Bernard Montgomery

“Leadership may be defined as that quality that inspires sufficient confidence in subordinates as to be willing to accept his views and carry out his commands.” – Fleet Admiral Nimitz

“A leader is a man who knows the road, who can keep ahead, and who pulls others after him.” – John R. Mott

“A leader is a person who has the ability to get others to do what they don’t want to do and like it.” – President Harry S. Truman

“The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God’s heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing and altogether ready to follow when the Spirit chooses another to lead.” – A. W. Tozer

Here are some other quotes on leadership…

“Leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with people.” – Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi, and Drea Zigarmi, Leadership and the One Minute Manager

“Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves–and by which they are willing to be judged.” – Fred Smith, Learning to Lead

“Whether for good or ill, leaders take followers places through the power of their influence.” – Hans Finzel, Empowered Leaders

“The key to success in any endeavor is the ability to lead others successfully.” – John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You

“A Christian leader is a person with a God-given capacity and the God-given responsibility to influence a specific group of God’s people toward God’s purpose for the group.” – J. Robert Clinton, The Making of a Leader

Jesus said, “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

Are you a servant leader – or a self-serving leader?

Today’s Missional Challenge

Leadership starts with your character. Consider how to develop the character of a servant.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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