Getting Started in Leadership

A friend of mine asked me a few questions for a project she was working on for a class in Christian leadership. Here they are.

What are some guiding principles for how you arrived at being a leader? 

1. Spend time with leaders. An internship is a great way to do this. Simply seeing what they do on a weekly basis can be the best visual for determining whether or not someone is fit to do it as well.  Taking counsel from a spiritual leader is valuable for the person seeking whether or not leadership is for them. At least once a month, ask a leader to lunch and be prepared with questions ahead of time.  Here’s an example.

2. You need three people, or types of people on your life: coaches, comrades, and counselors. Here’s another post about that.

3. Read. Read a lot. Read not only books on leadership, read Scripture, biographies, poetry, blogs, etc. Have a diverse approach to learning. Deep reading is your answer. While not all readers are leaders, ALL leaders, without exception, are readers. Here are some good books for young Christian leaders that are getting started in leadership.

  • Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
  • The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman
  • Developing the Leader within You by John Maxwell
  • A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke
  • The Character of God’s Workman by Watchman Nee

4. Mentor someone. Having the burden of being prepared for someone keeps you sharp and intentional about the things you’re learning and practicing.

5. Abide in Christ. This should be first and last. Read through John 15 once a month. Jesus said “Apart from me you can do nothing.” I would love to tell you that my drive as a young leader wasn’t influenced by pride.  I had no cause other than the one to be known and admired by others.  Sylvia Plath says “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”  The old brag of my own heart was vaulted in a secretive ambition to win the world over to myself and not to Christ.

What would your top 5 insights on Biblical leadership be?

  1. Prayer really does change things, but mostly me.
  2. The stones in the shoes of the gospel of peace are not always to be removed.
  3. The Gospel is for believers and nonbelievers alike.
  4. Bleeding people means a hemorrhaging leader.
  5. It will only, ever, and always be about Jesus.
  6. Not citing sources is a mark of a proud heart.
  7. Visible suffering for righteousness sake in the leader’s life can be an encouragement to the people and suffering brought on by sin is a huge turn off.

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