Develop the Character of a Leader
- Friday, May 11, 2007
* Learn humility. Know that humility isn’t about debasing yourself; instead, it’s seeing yourself as God sees you. Accept the identity and mission that God has given you. Be comfortable with who you are. Balance the way you view yourself, realizing that you’re both a sinner who can do nothing apart from God’s power and a saint who should use the spiritual gifts you’ve been given. Regularly remind yourself that you don’t have anything that you didn’t receive from God, either directly or indirectly. Own your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Establish a regular habit of prayer and be aware of how often you rely on the strength God provides in answer to your prayers. When you can, kneel while you pray. Pray with other people sometimes, confessing your needs to them and asking them to pray for you. Constantly seek to learn, through such means as reading personal development books, participating in conferences or conventions even when you’re not preaching or teaching, and seeking advice from colleagues you trust before you make major ministry decisions. Focus on getting your work done well, regardless of who gets the credit, rather than trying to take credit for yourself. Acknowledge what God and other people have done for you, and express your gratitude often.
* Become a servant. Check your motives for serving in a leadership position. Recognize that guilt, duty, and money are the wrong motives for serving. Instead, let your love for God and other people motivate you to serve. Create a personal mission statement (a one-sentence statement of God’s unique assignment for you) to clarify your purpose as a leader. Read the Bible to understand God’s mission in the world and how you contribute to that. Ask friends and family members to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself questions like: “What do I really enjoy?”, “What am I really good at?”, “What does God bless when I do it?”, “What is really special or unique about me?”, and “What am I doing that is not very productive?”. After thinking and praying about the insights you’ve received, write your mission statement. Be flexible enough to adjust your mission statement over time. Make sure that your mission makes good use of your personality, gifts, abilities, calling, training, experiences, and character. Apply your mission to your unique ministry setting so there’s a good fit. If you’re having trouble being motivated properly, shape your motives by choosing to do a dirty job and learning from it, undertaking a task anonymously, serving an enemy, or choosing to make someone else successful.
* Gain wisdom. Understand that wisdom isn’t reserved for certain people or groups of people; it’s available to anyone, and you can develop it now, regardless of your age or situation. Decide to become a lifelong learner, realizing that gaining wisdom is a gradual process rather than a one-time event. Seek God as the source of wisdom. Ask God to help you develop the discernment to clearly separate His true wisdom from the world’s false wisdom. Read the Bible often to discover how God works and learn how to apply biblical principles to your life. Pray frequently for wisdom. Learn from wise people who you respect and admire for their maturity. Measure your growth in wisdom by several benchmarks: growing in your ability to see life’s situations from God’s perspective; able to relate biblical principles to challenging situations; choosing the best behavior over license in questionable situations; and having a growing humility about your decisions, positions, perspectives, and insights.
* Practice discipline. Develop the ability to regulate your behavior by principle rather than impulse, reason rather than emotion, and long-range results rather than immediate gratification. Work to master a difficult area in your life, such as breaking the control your appetite has over you by fasting until you can exercise more self-control when you eat. Choose just one area of your life to focus on for a yearlong project, such as saving a significant amount of money each month to break a spending habit. Join some other people to work on another project to accomplish a reasonable, shared goal, such as memorizing a certain amount of Scripture by a certain time. Notice how the discipline you develop from your projects spills over into other areas of your life. Replace bad habits with good ones over time. Learn how to control emotions like grief and anger.
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