Last night I addressed a group of leaders at a local church. It is always exciting to see people giving their time and energy to build a church. We need more people than ever to be involved if we are going to accomplish the will of God in this generation. I talked about the price of leadership and shared some of my own experiences where leadership is concerned.
In my introductory remarks, I made four basic statements about leadership:
1. A leader serves. In Luke 22:24-27, Jesus cautioned his followers that they were not to lead like the Gentiles led. It is of note that Jesus said the Gentile leaders called themselves "benefactors," which is Latin for "doers of good." Jesus warned that His leaders could not lead like that, lording it over people for the followers' own good as the Gentiles did (and do). Jesus' leaders were and are to distinguish themselves as servants.
2. A leader influences. In Matthew 9:9-11, we have the story of Matthew's call to follow Jesus. The first thing Matthew did was to host a dinner for sinners. Why did he do this? Perhaps because he saw Jesus spending time with sinners and Matthew decided to do the same. Jesus had influenced Matthew; we don't see that He ordered him to have that dinner. That is why I am so drawn to teaching and consulting. It allows me to influence those who listen and follow because I don't have any authority besides the authority of the truth I teach and offer--which people are free to accept or reject.
3. A leader leads. We see in Matthew 21:45-46, that the followers were more spiritually discerning than the leaders. The people knew that Jesus was a prophet; the leaders wanted to arrest Him. It doesn't necessarily follow that leaders are smarter or more spiritual than the people they lead. But the main point in that passage is that the leaders could not lead Israel because they were afraid of the people You can't lead people of whom you are afraid. If the leaders truly believed Jesus was dangerous, they should have had the courage to do something about it publicly, instead of in secret at night.
4. A leader discovers and develops other leaders. In Acts 11:25 and 16:1-5, we have two examples of leaders reaching out to and making room for other leaders. In the first instance, Barnabas went to Tarsus to find Paul and bring him back to Antioch. In the second, we see Paul choosing Timothy to be his traveling companion. Effective leaders are always working themselves out of a job, finding and training their replacement so they can take on new duties and responsibilities.
All these aspects of leadership come with a price tag, thus my title, "The Price of Leadership." Many shy away from leadership for that very reason--it will cost them something. I trust that you won't be like that, but will pay the price to the most effective leader you can be in the will of God.