Today, we talk about leadership.
Over the last few years, I’ve read my fair share of books about leadership. I’ve tried to understand what it is, how to do it with excellence, and what it means to me as a woman in the church today. One of my favorite quotes so far on this topic is from a book that isn’t even faith-based. It’s a training manual for the company my husband and I work with, and I don’t know who wrote it! But it’s made an impression on me nonetheless. It says:
“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”
Let’s unpack that a bit, shall we?
Do what you believe in.
We’ve already spent time praying for our sons to be men of purpose (link) with clear vision and direction from the Lord, staying on a path that has Him as the end result. As new opportunities come our way, my family is constantly asking, “how does this serve our greater mission? Does this fit with what God has called us to do? How will it get us closer to the vision we feel God has given us for our lives?” It helps us know what to say “no” to, and creates a training ground for our boys as they figure out God’s call for their own lives.
Paint a picture of the future. Go there.
One thing a leader needs to be good at is telling the story. Where is your company/family/ministry/relationship going? Can you see a clear picture of what you’re working towards? If not, ask the Lord to make it clear to you. If so, just go there. Make calculated, purposeful steps each day that will get you closer to where you’re going, and work to keep your picture of the future always before you…always before those you’re leading. Everyone feels more secure when they know where they’re going.
This doesn’t mean you have to have all the details all the time. Many times throughout scripture God asked someone to go without telling them where. At its most basic level, working toward the future God has called you to simply means purposing to walk in obedience to him, no matter where that obedience takes you.
People will follow.
Do you know why people follow the leader? It’s not because they’re so far advanced in their life, or because they have so much more experience, or even because they’ve finished well and have much to show for it. It’s because the leader is at least one step ahead of where they currently are. When I lead my team well…when I lead my boys well by staying true to the vision God has given me for our lives and doing what I believe in, they’ll follow. I’ve seen it over and over again. As my boys have grown and matured, I’ve gone from a “do they ever hear anything I say??!” mentality, to a deep knowing that they are indeed hearing me. I know it, because I’m watching them make choices in alignment with their faith and what their father and I have tried so hard to teach them. It’s not perfect (they’re only almost 10 and 12), but seeing God move in their lives now gives me faith that he’ll continue to do so in the future.
What do all these things have in common?
Service. The mindset of a true leader must be one of service. Whether it be service to God, service to the vision God has given, or service to the people God has placed around him, the leader must be service-minded or he’ll eventually fail. In fact, Scripture tells us Jesus Himself came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Our boys don’t have to have their names in lights in order to lead people. True influence comes as we lower ourselves to a place of obedience to God, and serve those around us out of love for Him.
So let’s take time this week to pray for our sons to be leaders who serve God’s greater call, and the people that go with it.
4 Verses to Pray to Help Your Son be a Servant Leader
1. Lord, may (your son’s name) be strengthened, motivated, and lead by the knowledge of your grace.
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus…” (2 Timothy 2:1).
2. Lord, may (your son’s name) fear you and serve you only, putting away all other gods.
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14).
3. Lord, may (your son’s name) use the freedom you’ve given them in Christ to serve others without reservation.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
4. Lord, may (your son’s name) share all that you teach them with others, helping them be strengthened in the faith.
“…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.…” (2 Timothy 2:2).
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
This week, add these verses to your prayer time each day. If your family doesn’t really have a vision for what God has called you to do together, take the time to pray and listen for his direction. It will change everything!