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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Makes a Great Leader?

This football season several coaches were fired. Each of them had success somewhere at some time. One had even won the National Championship a few years back. That didn't matter to those who decided his fate. They weren't asking what he had done but what had he done lately. Unfortunately that is true for all football coaches. (and preachers and heads of companies and you-fill-in-the-blank leaders.)

Neither the successes nor the failures of these men made them great leaders. Great leadership cannot be determined by circumstances.

A great leader is not someone who has always had success. A great leader may have had significant failures. (Look up the life of Abraham Lincoln if you don't believe me.)  A great leader is someone who chooses the right people and puts then in the right positions. A great leader might even be considered a failure at some time during his or her leadership. Getting the right people in the right position at the right time is not an easy thing to do.

So, a great leader must have an uncanny ability to choose the right people. He or she must be able to see into the heart of others and choose them for the right task. A great leader must overlook what others are saying whether it is good or bad. Yet, most leaders go with the flow. They choose the most obvious person for the position. They listen to too many others who tell them what they should do.

Why? Because they really don't know how to choose. They would be much better off if they would simply admit that. Then, they would have the sense to go to the One who does know.

Jesus prayed all night before choosing His disciples. They were such an unlikely group that the conventional carriers of wisdom thought that He must not be such a great leader. They even questioned Jesus' relationship with God because of His unlikely choices. Yet, when the stakes were much higher than a winning season, Jesus went to the One who would reveal the hearts of those He would choose.

What was at stake? In three years Jesus would die on a cross. He had come to give salvation to all. He would die for that purpose. This good news must be carried to all places in the world. People would so need to understand that this was their purpose that they would die to keep the gospel message alive. Then, he chose people who did not make sense to others. Among the group were fishermen and a tax collector; sinners every one of them.

Most of my mistakes have come from one simple sin.-- I  decide without asking God. I am so arrogant in my own abilities that I decide as if I know what only God can know.

My church needs a vision. It needs to come from its leadership. It needs a leadership team that will carry that vision to fruition. I am tasked with choosing the people who will carry this vision. The vision is greater than I am. I cannot make decisions like I have in the past. I must ask God if I am to choose correctly.

So, I am praying:

"God, I do not know who I should choose. Great decisions need to be made. I need your vision for our church. But I also need your eyes to choose who will carry this vision beyond myself. I cannot do it without your leadership, Lord. Please help me. Amen."

I will always be a mediocre leader without God's answer.

 Luke 6:12-13 (ESV)
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13  And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:


Anonymous said...

A timely message for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I applied for the Executive Director's position at a local Christian non-profit (A pro-life agency).

I have the education, the credentials and the experience to do the job. In fact, my credentials are better than the two previous directors they have had. (The last one lasted 6 months.)

But I don't know that they'll choose me. If God wants me to have the position--and if they listen to Him--I will, of course, be hired.

Here's the thing... I came to them telling them about my heart for the ministry, the message I would carry to the community and the churches.

I was pretty excited about it and I knew that the message the Lord has given me, gave me decades ago as a matter of fact, matched their stated mission because I volunteered for them a few years ago.

The problem? The only thing the wanted to know was my fundraising experience. Had I done professional fundraising.

So, we'll see. Will they fall on the side of ministry or money? (I do realize that a ministry needs funds to operate and I do have a plan for that.)

I should hear next week.

I have no doubt that the Lord will give you the guidance you need.


Prentis McGoldrick said...

A few weeks ago we had an architect present plans to renovate our sanctuary. He wanted us to make the presentation during the two morning worship services on Sunday. I refused. He did not understand. I told him that we do not let anything take the place of worship. It is so easy to lose your focus. Sometimes even something that appears essential can get in the way. Martha spent too much time cooking fish and lost who she was cooking it for. The wagging tail appears essential to the dog.

Anonymous said...

Acts 1:24-25 - 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”

God is the knower of heart; the Greek word used in verse 24a points to God is the knower of heart. Jesus knew that, when He was walking on the earth, and just as Ps Prentis has given, the text at the end of his entry, Jesus went before the Father God for the choice of His Disciples.  Now, His Disciples, they learnt, they, too, in the text above, Acts1:24-25, they approached God to know who was to replace Judas Iscariot who hung himself after betraying Jesus to the Cross.

Will we believe God makes the best choice? That, really is at heart of the issue. Do you really believe God is wisdom, and therefore, His choice must be the best? Do you believe that God cannot but make the best choice, even, for you? Do you believe that God is the Greatest Leader? Does He not have everything, the Greatest Leader is supposed to have? Will you submit to Him? Though you and I have not, all wisdom, we can be a great leader, if we would be humble before God, submitting to Him, in all things.

Are you anxious? Are you in frustration? Are you feeling you are unfairly treated? Have you really committed and submitted your predicament to the Lord? Really?  Who is the your rewarder, man or God?

We are all leaders, even as we are followers.  Are you not a leader? Any one who leads, is a leader.  You may not be a leader in all of circumstances, but you and I are sure to be leaders very so often, in our work, in our family, in our many relations and affairs. Learn to be a great leader; that is the desire of our God.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions