Yesterday I was privileged to be able to teach our Kids Camp Volunteers what it is that would earn them the title “good leader”. Or, more precisely, what would grant them the label “good Christian leader”.
Here’s what I said:
In being a good leader, there is A LOT that could be said and many books that could be read. To hopefully bypass and summarise some of that, I’m going to try to break it down into three points. Purpose. Passion. Practice. To be a good leader, I would suggest these three points are essential. So let’s look at these Three P’s so that we all become better leaders.
There are two types of Christians in the world. There are believers, and there are leaders. Believers know what they believe but don’t know how to lead others into that same faith, and leaders know how to lead but don’t know where they’re leading them. To be a good leader we need to be both. We need to know how to lead, and we need to know where we’re leading them. We need to know our purpose for leadership, and we need to know how to achieve that purpose.
We’re all leaders in some form or another, some of you are camp leaders, some youth, some are brothers or sisters and need to help lead their siblings. But, in any situation you find yourself a leader, you need to ask yourself – Why do you do what you do?
If you don’t have a purpose, you don’t have a reason to lead. It’s that simple. Without a purpose, any and all leadership will eventually lose steam, fall apart and fail.
This is what sets Christian leaders apart from non-Christian leaders. A Christian leaders purpose ultimately should always end with God (Or, rather, should begin with God). Leaders, who are not Christians, their purpose always ends somewhere man made. Christian leaders, there purpose should always begin and end in God.
“Wait a minute!” Some of you may be saying, “who said a Christian leader’s ultimate purpose always ends in God?” Well to answer this question, let’s ask another: what is the main purpose of every Christian? Or put more famously in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
- Q – What is the chief end of man?
A – Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Scripture supports this answer too. Turn with me to:
Isaiah 60:21 (NASB)
“Then all your people will be righteous;
They will possess the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.
This is God talking – He wants to be glorified.
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Again, God is deserving of praise and glory.
1 Corinthians 6:20
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
If you are a Christian, you have been purchased for a purpose – to glorify God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Regardless of what we are doing, whether it be menial or substantial, we are to be doing it to the glory of God.
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
Lastly, a reminder that God is worthy of all of this glory.
This, this right here is the goal of every Christian: to glorify God. Therefore, it is the goal of every Christian leader! God is to be glorified. Therefore, a Christian leader is to lead others to also glorify Him. This is our purpose as leaders, to point others to God.
Once you’ve got your purpose, you need to have passion about it. No one is going to listen to you if you don’t care about what you’re talking about.
Back in the day (1714-1770) there lived a man called George Whitefield (if you don’t know about him, learn about him). He was an amazing evangelist and preacher. On more than one occasion he preached to over 20,000 people, outside, with no microphone. I don’t know about you, but that impresses me. But, what impresses me more about his life is the passion that he had about God’s Word and men’s souls. He was a very passionate preacher and evangelist. To illustrate, let me tell you a story.
George Whitefield once told a tale of another preacher asking an actor: “what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why…’ says [the actor], ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’”
What he’s saying is “why do fake things excite people as if they were real; when things in the church that are very real bore people as if they were fake.
Therefore Whitefield said, ‘I will bawl, I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.” In essence, he was saying he will be a passionate preacher.
We need it some of what Whitefield had! We need to stop talking about things that aren’t important as if they were and start talking about important things as if they are – because they are! We need to find our purpose of leading, and then we need to be passionate about it.
So you’ve got your purpose, and you’re passionate about it. Good. Now you need to practice what you preach. It’s no good having a purpose and leading people there passionately if you’re off doing the opposite of what you’re telling them to do. People will soon find out that you’re a hypocrite and you’re leading will be worth nothing. Another important area in your practice of leading is being a servant leader. Our Lord Jesus Said in Matthew 20:26-28:
“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
This is Jesus teaching on leadership. A lot of people think being a leader comes with fame, glory and honour – but it’s not always meant to be like that. A true leader needs to be ready to wash his follower’s feet just as Jesus did.
In closing, to be a good Christian leader you need to know your purpose of leading, be passionate about it and then be one to practice it. You need to set the example and then be the example.