Pastor and Christian Leadership Resources

5 Reasons Why Surrender Is Vital for Leaders

5 Reasons Why Surrender Is Vital for Leaders

Surrender is far from a widely embraced concept in our culture today. Surrender is the opposite of the independent “I can do it” attitude plaguing modern-day society. In whatever capacity you lead in your church, we’re all called to let God lead the way when it comes to His vision and your church’s future. Many times throughout Scripture, God calls His people to lay down their prideful ways of living life and embrace His way, which sometimes seemed counterintuitive to culture. Yet, embracing surrender makes us leaders who can more effectively lead because we no longer rely on ourselves, but on God.

What does it mean to surrender?

Exodus 14:13-14 is a great example of what it means to surrender. The Israelites are surrounded by a swarm of armies. After realizing they are outnumbered, they complain to Moses, saying things like, “We’re going to die! Why did you send us here? We told you we didn’t want to come here!” Moses then says, “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” It is only when the Israelites lay their weapons down, that God is able to do all the miracles that follow the rest of that chapter. Could God have done all those things even if they hadn’t laid down their weapons? Of course! But God does not force Himself on anyone. He asks us to choose His way over our ways. This is one of the many characteristics we as leaders need to possess if we are going to lead our people effectively.

Surrender is a choice. But in this technological world where any pastor’s sermon is available with the push of a button, it can feel like we are competing for people’s time and attention. The beauty of surrender is there is no longer competition. We can lay down the areas of our lives that are God’s already, give Him full access to those areas and watch God do the impossible in our lives.

5 Reasons to Surrender

But it’s easier said than done. Leaders can gravitate towards pretending they know all the answers, instead of giving God access in humility. How can we be leaders who effectively surrender? Here are five reasons why surrender is so important in leaders’ lives:

1. A person who regularly surrenders exudes humility.

A prideful person selfishly pursues his own agenda. But someone who surrenders his own will to God’s will always opens the door for God to work in his life. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Pride puffs out the chest; humility softens the heart. Scripture also says knowledge puffs us up. It gives us the false sense we know better than God. When we rebuke the lie that we know everything, God can use us because we are surrendered to His will. Someone who is full of pride, however, cannot be used as effectively because he believes he knows what to do with his life better than God does. This paves the way for God to use someone in leadership to further the work of the Kingdom.

2. Regular surrender reveals God’s agenda.

Surrender is the antithesis of control because we are more focused on what God wants to do to accomplish His work than what we want to do to have a better life. When we let go of areas in our lives that are difficult, it makes room for God to speak to our hearts. Control tries to manipulate our life’s circumstances to create the most favorable outcome possible. God can use those who hold their palms side up towards heaven, rather than a clenched fist in rebellion.

3. Surender allows you to adapt to changing circumstances.

If this pandemic has taught us anything it is that circumstances can change in an instant. What is our normal one day can become a brand new normal tomorrow. Perhaps this is why the Bible assures us to not worry during these times: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:24-27).

By learning to let go of your own plans and embrace the new normal, it makes it easier to adapt to whatever new circumstances come your way. Once we have practiced surrender routinely, we are less apt to worry when church services are canceled or when ministries are eliminated due to low attendance or lack of interest. We are able to see God through it all and know everything we do is to glorify God and not ourselves. In this way, ever-changing situations are no match for a surrendered heart.

4. A surrendered heart embraces accountability.

All leaders need people with sound advice and wise counsel to help them make wise decisions that are in the best interest of all involved. A life surrendered to God will point out those wise people and seek them out and not only accept their advice, but also embrace it. It is imperative for us to be connected to a local church body now more than ever. During the pandemic, churches shut down, so it was easy to turn on the TV and watch whatever preacher’s sermon was televised. Since churches have reopened, however, people are still relying on this method.

Never underestimate the power of human connection. Moses needed Aaron and Hur to help him keep his hands lifted when he was tired. Similarly, we need people to help us encourage us during our trials and celebrate our triumphs. People serious about spiritual growth will find those who will keep them accountable, so they can be the people God wants us to be.

5. A surrendered heart increases a person’s faith.

Jesus called twelve people to join Him on His journey. Although they were of all different backgrounds, heritages, and places in society, He knew they would drop everything in their lives to follow him. Many of them lost their comforts to embrace his new chapter in their lives. As leaders, we will always be asked to sacrifice for the good of those we are leading. When we surrender, our faith increases because we must trust God to lead in our lives. Good leaders let the Lord guide the way; prideful leaders believe they already know the way.

Surrender is never easy. It can feel impossible at times. But by increasing our faith, embracing God’s agenda, adapting to changing circumstances, and allowing others to hold us accountable, surrender will not only make us better leaders but also better disciples.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Olaf Speier 

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website