After one of my leadership posts a friend jokingly emailed and asked, “If you make us all leaders who will follow?” A good question, the answer is that good leaders started out as good followers, and unless, and until, we are willing to truly embrace submission to the leadership of others we will never be a truly effective leader in His kingdom. David is a great example. He was such a strong leader because he was first willing to submit and be a follower. The scriptures document David’s ‘mighty men’ (2 Samuel 23), all strong leaders in their own right who chose to follow and submit to David’s leadership because they were drawn to the anointing on his life. Yet this anointing was forged in the fire of submission to a fallen and ungodly king and prior to that being the neglected brother and son who his father never even considered as a potential leader and king (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
Prior to being a leader of others David first learned to lead his own life. In learning to lead our own lives there are some things that are helpful to embrace, they also apply to leading others but we need to first apply them to ourselves. I have already spoken about vision, our pursuit of meaning. It and the other areas that I will address more fully in the future are below. I will cover each of these areas in order over time.
Vision/Meaning – this is rooted in our purpose, His call upon our life and aligned with His gifts and calling.
29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NKJV)
Framing/Reframing – this is rooted in self-awareness, reflection and adaptability. In walking out our calling what is our perspective? Does everything look hopeless or through interacting with the Holy Spirit are we able like Ezekiel to see a great army in a valley of dry bones? (Ezekiel 37) As the old saying goes, “Two men looked out through prison bars. One saw mud and one saw stars.”
9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ ” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Ezekiel 37:9-10 (NKJV)
Energizing – do we understand how to use the energy and ability He has given us? What things give us energy and what drains us? For example strong extroverts like to be around people and are energized by them. I like people and being with them but after awhile I feel compelled to get away to recharge. I don’t do well at large parties or gatherings unless I have clear purpose and connections with others there.
What practical strategies do we have in terms of our own energy? What do the scriptures teach us? Are we being wise stewards of what He has given? (1 Cor. 4:2) Managing our energy requires wisdom around how to use our energy and developing or maintaining sustaining practices so that we intentionally are able to manage and restore/renew our energy.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV)
Connecting – what are the key relationships we have? Who believes in and supports our vision? For example David and Jonathan or Paul and Barnabas. When Paul (then still called Saul of Tarsus) was a new convert and the church had difficulty trusting and believing in their former persecutor, Barnabas reached out to Saul and developed a friendship and ministry partnership.
25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 11:25-26 (NKJV)
Engaging – what is released through our presence when we are with others? What do they encounter in us? In the passage below Jesus was sending out His followers to minister and told them that how to release peace, a practical blessing to someone’s home. He would have said ‘shalom,’ which implies much more than our concept of peace. Yet inherent in the passage was that Jesus expected those He was sending our to be spiritually sensitive to what they were carrying in the spiritual realm. That awareness should extend to us. How do are we cooperating with His my anointing to further His Kingdom?
5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:4-6 (NKJV)
These are the things we can apply to lead our lives and the lives of those around us. Enjoy the journey.