Points to Consider Regarding Leadership
- God is the Ultimate Leader, and he calls every believer to lead others
- Every time God desires to do something great, he calls a leader to step forward
- Jesus taught that being a leader means serving others
- Leadership is influence
- If you are being salt and light as Jesus commanded, then you have begun to obey God’s call to leadership
The following is adapted from The Maxwell Leadership Bible / Third Edition by John C. Maxwell (@JohnCMaxwell). Copyright © 2002, 2007, 2018 by Maxwell Motivation, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
By John C. Maxwell
Where do most people go to learn leadership? The answer to that question today is that they search many places. Some examine the world of politics. Others seek models in the entertainment industry. Many look to the world of business. Most people seem to look to successful CEOs, management consultants, and theoreticians with PhDs to learn about leadership.
But the truth is, the best source of leadership teaching today is the same as it has been for thousands of years. If you want to learn leadership, go to the greatest Book on leadership ever written—the Bible.
The Bible has the potential to change your life and the course of your development as a spiritual leader. It is a Bible that draws out the leadership principles that have been woven into it by the One who invented leadership. Who could possibly teach us more about leadership than God himself?
Many years ago, I published The Maxwell Leadership Bible (now newly published in its third edition). With so many different Bibles to choose from on the shelves of bookstores today, why would anyone take the time and energy to create a Leadership Bible?
THE CRYING NEED OF THE CHURCH TODAY IS LEADERSHIP
The most critical problem facing the church today is the leadership vacuum that grew during the 20th century. Church expert and statistician George Barna asserts, “Leadership remains one of the glaring needs of the church. People are often willing to follow God’s vision, but too frequently they have no exposure to either vision or true leadership.” Just a few years ago, Barna penned some sobering conclusions based on his research: “After 15 years of digging into the world around me, I have reached several conclusions regarding the future of the Christian church in America. The central conclusion is that the American church is dying due to lack of strong leadership. In this time of unprecedented opportunity and plentiful resources, the church is actually losing influence. The primary reason is the lack of leadership….Nothing is more important than leadership.”
Christ left his church on earth to do work that has an eternal impact. If the local church isn’t well led, then the bride of Christ suffers, and she will not be able fulfill her mission for this generation.
GOD HIMSELF CALLS US TO LEADERSHIP
God is the Ultimate Leader, and he calls every believer to lead others. God could have arranged his creation any number of ways. He chose to create human beings who possess spirits and the capacity to relate to him and follow him, yet who are not forced to do so. When mankind fell into sin, God could have easily executed a plan of redemption that did not include sinful people in the process. But he has called us to participate and to lead others as we follow him. He makes that clear from the beginning: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion” (Gen. 1:26).
I wholeheartedly believe that everything rises and falls on leadership. By that I mean that, more than anything else, the leadership of any group or organization will determine its success or failure. You can see the impact of leadership frequently in the Bible. In ancient Israel, when God’s people had a good king, all was well with the nation. When they had a bad king, things went poorly for everyone. That’s why Scripture teaches that without a vision people perish (see Proverbs 29:18).
The call to leadership is a consistent pattern in the Bible. When God decided to raise up a nation of his own, he didn’t call upon the masses. He called out one leader—Abraham. When he wanted to deliver his people out of Egypt, he didn’t guide them as a group. he raised up a leader to do it—Moses. When it came time for the people to cross into the Promised Land, they followed one man—Joshua. Every time God desires to do something great, he calls a leader to step forward. Today he still calls leaders to step forward for every great work.
BELIEVERS OFTEN MISUNDERSTAND THE TRUE NATURE OF LEADERSHIP
Somewhere along the way, countless Christians became convinced that if they were going to follow Christ, they must become sheepish, quiet, and withdrawn. The problem is that they have confused meekness with weakness. As Christians we recognize our own weaknesses, but that is when God’s strength is perfected in us (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). What God desires is that we display a broken boldness.
A follower of God should be a leader of people. That’s more than just being “boss” or having a leadership position. And it certainly doesn’t mean being pushy or in control. Jesus taught that it means serving others (see Matthew 20:25–28). While there is a gift of leadership (according to Romans 12:8), you need not possess that gift to exert your influence in a Christlike way. Leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less. If you are being salt and light as Jesus commanded, then you have begun to obey God’s call to leadership.
ALL BELIEVERS CAN FURTHER THEIR POTENTIAL WITH LEADERSHIP
One of the most important leadership lessons I teach—it’s the first law in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership—is the Law of the Lid, which states, “Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness.” That is key when working with others. Greater than resources, talent, money, or intelligence, leadership makes the difference when it comes to making an impact. Consequently, my goal in creating The Maxwell Leadership Bible is to enable you to raise the “lid” on your own effectiveness. I want you to reach your potential in Christ! To become more Christlike, you need to think and act more like a leader. You must become a person of influence.
GOOD LEADERSHIP IS THE BEST MEANS FOR LEAVING A LASTING LEGACY
We live in an age of tolerance, where protecting feelings is more highly valued than proclaiming the truth. People look with suspicion upon anyone who desires to influence others to embrace their beliefs. I want to encourage you to buck popular opinion. As Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of conscience, stand like a rock.”
I want to challenge you to become a dedicated student of leadership—if you aren’t already one. Becoming a good leader may not guarantee that you will be able to leave a spiritual legacy for future generations, but it certainly provides you the greatest opportunity to do so.
The Law of Legacy states, “True success is measured by succession.” A legacy that does not include people has no eternal value. That is why leadership is critical. Make it your aim to practice transformational leadership, where people’s lives are changed from the inside out. That kind of leadership is based on character, conviction, and Christlikeness. In other words, transformational leadership follows the pattern laid down in Scripture.
The need of the hour is great. That is why I have dedicated my life to teaching leadership in the church. And I will continue to do so until God calls me home. My hope is that The Maxwell Leadership Bible will be of great value and assistance to you. In addition to God’s Word, which is more precious than riches, it contains leadership truths, principles, and examples which I have drawn from the Scriptures and attempted to make accessible through case studies, profiles, outlines, and lessons. Study from it, use it in your prayer times, teach from it, and use it as a reference tool as you face leadership challenges at home, in the marketplace, and at church.
My prayer is that you will be transformed by spending time with the men and women God has used as leaders to change the world for millennia. And if you are transformed as a leader, then you won’t be able to keep from influencing your world.
The above is adapted from The Maxwell Leadership Bible / Third Edition by John C. Maxwell (@JohnCMaxwell). Copyright © 2002, 2007, 2018 by Maxwell Motivation, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.
The Maxwell Leadership Bible / Third Edition is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: John C. Maxwell is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 30 million books in 50 languages. He has been identified as the #1 leader in business by the American Management Association and the most influential leadership expert in the world by Business Insider and Inc. magazines. He is the founder of the John Maxwell Company, the John Maxwell Team, EQUIP, and the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation, organizations that have trained millions of leaders from every country of the world. The recipient of the Mother Teresa Prize for Global Peace and Leadership from the Luminary Leadership Network, Dr. Maxwell speaks each year to Fortune 500 companies, presidents of nations, and many of the world’s top business leaders. For more information, visit JohnMaxwell.com.
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