Leadership has become an idol for us. Well, it has for me. Over the years, I have found my focus shifting more and more to becoming a more effective leader. Maybe yours has too. For me, something needs to change.
Jesus' invitation in Scripture is clear: "Follow me." Paul states in I Corinthians 11, "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." The foundational element of leadership is following.
Following Jesus requires us to “deny ourselves,” and to “take up our cross.” It means putting aside our own desires and considering Christ’s desire for us to be more valuable. This type of self-denial goes against everything natural within us.
My tendency is to want attention, prestige, or fame, as opposed to living in such a way that I would decrease, and He would increase. My eyes drift to myself. In the process, my soul begins to wither.
As a husband, dad and leader, I want to be leading people toward Someone much greater than myself. In order to do so, I need to be following Him first.
Current leadership theory suggests good leaders are also good followers, and this is particularly true of spiritual leaders.” -Henry Blackaby
There are three questions I recently asked myself, to better reveal the focus of my leadership:
1. How are you making space in your life for God to speak?
2. Who have you invited to intentionally invest in you on a regular basis? Do you have a mentor?
3. Who knows you? That is, do you have any friends?
In vocational ministry, it is easy to get busy doing the work of the ministry. In the process, leaders create a persona that is difficult to see through. Bill Thrall said it well in his book, The Ascent of a Leader,
The greater the degree of influence, the greater the potential for a leader to lead a lonely and hidden existence, where people only see what the leader wants them to see.”
Been there. Done that. But I don't want to anymore. Neither do you.
So where are you? Busy leading, or following to lead?
If you liked this post, check out Kevin's personal blog, Following to Lead, where he regularly writes on following, leading, fostering and family.
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About Kevin East
Kevin East is the Executive Director of Family Matters. He and his wife Stephanie have five unbelievable kids, two of which they most recently adopted. If Kevin isn't busy with work or family, you'll probably find him in the woods near his house with a power tool. He writes at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
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