SO YOU WANT TO LEAD...
I recently sat through a talk by a senior pastor on how to train leaders. I felt quite frustrated and sorry that the churches are not producing a ‘fire in the belly’ preachers, teachers, leaders and workers. All the right words, the best equipment for speaking, latest sound systems, overhead displays, yet so little fire and demonstration. Words, words, words, and no action.
I became a leader, yes, how did I become a leader? How did it happen? Was I born a leader and preacher? No! I was the second child of the family. My elder brother was bigger, stronger, faster; I couldn’t keep up. I was never first up a tree or first to stand on the mountain top. My brother was always first in the races; I was last. I did not stay as an also ran, in fact, in my adult years I led from the front, regardless of ill health.
My brother was hurt because I wouldn’t help him fight his battles. Was I seeking sympathy as he thought? I was eighteen months younger and living with chronic asthma. I spoiled more family outings than I care to remember by suffering an asthma attack at the crucial moment and everybody having to stay home because I was ill.
Someone once said, ‘you can tell a leader by the number of people following them.' Followers must have someone to follow, or their attitude will be, ’If you haven’t got the guts to lead, we are not going to follow you.’ I often looked behind to test my leadership and found at my shoulder real, loyal, faithful people; I was enabled to continue. My advice is: anyone wanting to be a leader, lead from the front.
After a childhood of illness, or in spite of it, I learned that the process of Christian leadership is not only sitting in lectures or separate study sessions but in getting your butt out there, your hands dirty, being an example. Where others said, ‘I can’t,' I learned, regardless of the circumstances to say ‘I can.' I learned to ‘climb the biggest tree,' ‘scale the highest mountain,' ‘swim the largest river,’ ‘do the impossible job.’ I learned by the example of my many mentors. God revealed to me, ‘It is not I but Christ in me,’ is what sent me ahead of the mob. I learned, ‘don’t ask others to go where you haven’t been.’
Many years ago when living in the Riverland, I saw the responsibility of leading teams in outreach and God laid it on my heart, ‘lead from the front.' Because I led out onto the streets, many followed our ministry onto the streets to witness; street witness gave birth to speakers and leaders. The team loved to say, ‘we went there and did this and said that’ it was their personal experience, and something was born in them. I might have had the daylights scared out of me to set the example, but I knew I had to be out in front leading. Training is not by sitting in comfortable, padded church pews. Someone must lead. Let those that followed me in the ministry years, say Amen.
Many years ago I was able to attend a Rundle Street open air meeting. I was excited to be part of this action. The leader called to us saying, ‘Let’s pray first.’ I was saddened because by the time we had prayed the crowds had dispersed, there was no one left to speak to. I never forgot this incident; I saw that if you weren’t prayed up at home or beforehand, don’t expect to run a prayer meeting if you want to do street witnessing. The lesson I learned that day I passed onto the team of workers.
We would go straight into speaking, singing and contacting people. We were at the ready, on the instant, and didn’t bury our heads having a prayer meeting when we should have been meeting the people. The question of learning the ability to teach and lead is more a gift of God rather than the training of man. The first and main thing is how you see yourself. I see myself as Christ who lives in me. Very early in my Christian experience, I learned this truth. I would always be sickly, poor, uneducated until God revealed to me that I am in Christ and him in me. Never again would I say, ‘Poor me.’ I knew without a doubt the resurrected Christ dwelt within me, the hope of glory, and that I could do all things through Christ.’ I challenged the world to ‘back off; you are dealing with the mighty Christ.’ When you know you are Christ’s, then you are Christ’s. It’s all in the package called ‘the finished work of the cross’ signed for by Jesus at his death. When you open God’s instruction book, you can find what you have been given in that package and will save a lot of sweat and tears of human learning.
THE DIVINE WORKSHOP
Check in to the divine workshop to open the package starting with, ‘I am the righteousness of Christ,’ 2 Corinthians 5: 21. Know who you are and don’t put yourself down or allow others to put you down.
‘Do you know you are the temple of the Holy Spirit…’ 1 Corinthians 6: 19. The reality is that our spirit is the Holy Spirit. We do not need to pray the Spirit down, just let him flow out.
‘Joint heirs with Christ…’ Romans 8: 8. Did you get that? A joint heir with Christ!
‘He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.’ Psalm 103: 12.Total and eternal forgiveness.
‘Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.’ John 1: 12.
‘I will make my dwelling with them. They will be my people.’ Ezekiel 37: 27. Don’t try to add to what God has done in you, accept who God has made you and what he has given you.
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4: 13.
THE BASIS OF OPERATION
Here is the revelation that has directed me into leadership all my life. As a son of God, I have taken the verses just quoted as my position and right. I have accepted the exalted position of divine authority and power. The criteria mentioned is the same for anyone aspiring to leadership and ministry.
Many people look for substantial human learning and degrees to get them into a position of leadership, but too often education stamps out the ‘fire in the belly’ instead of fanning the flame into an unstoppable fire.
First, examine Paul’s revelation of the divine gifts. Then add man’s ideas if you must but if you are growing cold in enthusiasm go back to the scriptures I have quoted and soak your spirit in them.
Experience has shown me the only credentials of any worth that open the doors of eternity, power and authority of God are given and paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross. These truths have been the basis of my ministry and leadership, open the package and use the gifts. Stop praying for God to put more in; you already have all of God within, just go forth.