There are many attributes that we can look for in a good leader. Our list of attributes was probably formed through our own personal experiences with leaders, either with school teachers, bosses, church leaders, or parents. From a very early age we start to define in our minds what it means to be a leader, and as time goes on our definitions start to change a little and sometimes not for the better. The good news is that the Bible gives us the perfect model of a leader, Jesus.
It’s kind of funny how at first we all want to be leaders; we want to be the one calling all the shots and bossing people around (don’t bother denying it), but when we actually get a chance to step into a leadership role we realize that it’s not what it was cracked up to be. Maybe it’s because when we were the followers observing our leaders, we never observed passed the external layer of leadership. All we saw was the privileges and the power that leaders have, we didn’t see the responsibility that they had to carry. When we finally take a turn to carry that responsibility it doesn’t feel as satisfying.
Many times in our life we will be led by bad leaders.
Many times in our life we will be led by bad leaders. Leaders who can’t carry the weight. Maybe we’ve already experienced leaders like that. I’ve had jobs that didn’t provide enjoyable experiences and a main reason for that was my leaders. In this last week, God was showing me a lot of what it means to be a godly leader. My theory for bad leadership isn’t that the weight of responsibility is getting too heavy, it’s that we aren’t using the right technique to carry it. We’ve all been told before that when we want to lift something heavy we have to carry from the legs not the back. Using your legs to lift something heavy prevents injury to the back – we all know this. Yet we more often than not still lift with the back. Maybe we don’t all feel the negative effects right away (unless your my dad’s age), but it’s still damaging.
We are all going to be leaders, God gave us that call. I know it’s easy when we start to feel the strain of responsibility to blame the weight itself, but instead we need to re-evaluate the way that we are leading. We need to make sure that God is in the center of our leadership model. In SOMD, a main focus in our teaching is leadership. On top of training, we as students are given more responsibility and leadership roles because it’s not only important to learn good practices, but it helps when you actually practice them. Like I mentioned earlier, we should be looking to Jesus as our model for good leadership. God has been revealing to me what made Jesus stand out as a leader. What did Jesus do differently that most leaders fail to do today? Jesus never stopped being a follower.
Jesus never stopped being a follower.
Through this revelation, God was also showing me things about myself. See, I was having a hard time being a follower. During the first week of SOMD, I was finding out that I wasn’t being put in the leadership roles that I wanted. You probably know this quite well, but when we don’t get things that we want, we tend to feel a little bitter about it. My attitude towards my work duties was a little sour. I didn’t act out or anything, but my heart was definitely in the wrong place. I refused to humble myself. I thought that I didn’t have to learn anymore, that I already knew everything there was to know. I thought that I was deserving of those leadership roles. I was very mistaken. The thing is, God showed me that just because I wasn’t picked to lead certain tasks, doesn’t mean that I wasn’t considered or that I wasn’t good enough to lead. Sometimes it just means that I have to work on my following skills. The fact that I reacted bitterly towards this was proof that God had more work to do in my heart.
This week God showed me that I can always learn something new. I will never reach my peak, I will never hit the point of ultimate learning. Even in my leadership, I still have to follow. Just like Jesus did. He didn’t stop listening, He didn’t stop humbling Himself. Jesus, being deserving of the highest praise, still followed us. He learned from us, He brought Himself down to our level. That’s who I want to be like.
Jose and his wife Marissa came to our YWAM Discipleship Training School last year in the fall, and decided to come back for more. They are currently in our spring School of Ministry Development. Jose loves good local coffee, and is difficult to find without a cardigan, even if it’s a little hot outside. Jose loves having friends, and he makes them quickly. He’s just one of those dudes you can’t help but like!