When it comes to leadership there are several things to keep in mind. It is easy to find a teacher on how to teach you to play chess, build a house, sail a boat, etc., but it would be a little more difficult for someone to teach you how to be courageous, optimistic, inspiring or other qualities of leadership.
The question is: Is it possible to train people to become leaders? One can learn to lead, but one cannot really learn to become a leader. Many companies send their people to training programs to become leaders and so many of these programs approach training in many different ways. When it comes to training in different professions the training programs are quite the same, but with leadership it is different and perhaps the reason why is that not everyone agrees what leadership even means.
With what is already brought out about a leader being courageous, optimistic, and inspiring I would like to also mention three other things as well when it comes to spiritual leadership.
1 Chronicles 12:32 “…men of Issachar, who understood the times (seasons) and knew what Israel should do.” Situations that are stressful, fearful, chaotic have probably produced more leaders than many of the training programs put together.
In times of uncertainty people turn to those who are fearless and who seem to know what is going on and the direction in which people or events should be moving. In spiritual leadership a leader must have a sense of what is happening, and how to respond, and have the ability to take others with him/her.
Jeremiah 23:18 “But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?”
John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Spiritual leaders are men/women of the Bible, God’s written Word. They hear what the Lord is saying that leads them into what they should do. It is important that when we hear the Word, we speak it out loud and know that the Word will accomplish what it was sent to do. The Word and the Spirit work together to reveal what is happening and giving us the wisdom to know what to do.
We can also learn to see clues in the present that foreshadow what is coming. Cicero said, “It was ordained at the beginning of the world that certain signs should prefigure certain events.”
One clue would be Isaac Newton’s first ‘law of motion’ that states that an object will tend to stay in motion or continue in doing whatever it was doing – unless acted upon by some outside force. If things are steady and stable, they will continue that way unless acted upon by some outside force. So, we learn to pay attention to what is happening.
Patrick Henry in his famous 1775 speech said: “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.”
Rabbi Daniel Lapin said: “If you want to know tomorrow, you must know yesterday.” One of Judaism’s best known aphorisms: “Whatever has been is what will be and whatever has been done is what will be done.”
Jeremiah the prophet, in addressing Shallum, King of Judea, son of Josiah said: “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. Jeremiah 22:15
In spiritual leadership it is the ‘inward’ that speaks and not the ‘outward.’ I am not saying that it is not important on how we dress and take care of ourselves outwardly, but when it comes to spiritual leadership it matters most who a man is ‘inwardly’ instead of outwardly.
Paul told Timothy to appoint leaders in the church (bishops, elders, deacons) who ‘must be’ above reproach. Today we have turned the ‘must be’ into ‘it would be nice.’ Character is important.
1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Paul was a peacemaker, a quality of spiritual leadership. Paul recognized the need for unity in the Body of Christ. The word Paul uses for being ‘perfectly united’ is the word ‘katartizo’ and is used in Matthew 4:21 “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending (katartizo) their nets; and he called them.” To keep the fish in the net they need to make sure that there are no holes, or the fish will be lost; so it is with the Church. If we do not mend our nets, mend relationships then people are lost. Disunity in the Body of Christ has done more damage to the cause of Christ than anything else.
THE GREAT NEED TODAY IS FOR LEADERS WHO CAN MEND THE NETS.