Summary: A look at the necessary building blocks for effective leadership.
An optimist has been defined as a person who, falling from the top of a forty-story building, says on the way down, “All right so far!” You do not need to ignore or overlook the facts to be able to look upon the bright side of life. Realism is necessary. But for the Christian, God must figure in prominently to the realism equation. When God’s power and ability to get things done is added to the equation the situation is never as bad as we originally thought. A comedian once described “status-quo” this way, “That’s Latin for the mess we’re in.” Christians as well as leaders will get into a mess and make mistakes on occasion. However, we need to realize that we live with the assurance of God’s Spirit to help us during those difficult times. When you work in the church, you deal with people. They may be Christians but they still get discouraged, still get their feelings hurt and still have their own unique opinions. So they are really not any different from us. When we realize our own shortcomings we can be more sympathetic toward those of others. If you are not too proud to admit your own mistakes; other people will usually be big enough to forgive you. They will also be more willing to admit their mistakes. This is the beginning of true humility. We need to realize that we can not lead where we are not willing to go. The Christian leader must model the self-giving service taught by Christ and required of His followers. Jesus taught that a leader is not the boss, but the worker; not the master, but the slave. Today I would like us to spend some time discovering the four elements that make up the right attitude that is required by effective leadership. This attitude will be the same displayed by Jesus Christ in His life and ministry.
I. The right attitude requires humility.
A. Christ is the supreme example of humility and selfless concern for others.
1. Many people believe that they can not control their moods or attitudes.
2. Paul wants his readers to realize that as a Spirit-filled Christian we are not to be slaves to our attitudes and feelings.
3. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. (Romans 8:6—New Living)
4. Christ modeled humility in the fact He did not hesitate to set aside His self-willed use of deity when He became a man.
5. As God He had all the rights of deity, and yet during His incarnate state He surrendered His right to manifest Himself visibly as the God of all splendor and glory.
B. Many of the Jews in Jesus’ day had the view that it didn’t matter what your attitudes or motives were as long as you did the right things.
1. When Jesus lived a life of humility he effectively erased this misconception.
2. Oswald Chambers said, “God can do nothing with a man that thinks He is of use to God.”
3. No one can have his own way all they time, in fact no one should expect to.
4. Humility involves admitting our own short comings and seeking the greatest good for the most people even if that means we are not real fond of the results.
5. Humility requires us to display a cooperative spirit seeking the ultimate good for the community and the local church.
II. The right attitude requires a servant’s heart.
A. Many people are willing to serve others if it does not cost them anything. But if there is a price to pay, they suddenly lose interest.
1. Jesus went far beyond us in any act of service. He made servanthood His essential mission.
2. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45—NIV)
3. The person with a servant’s heart does not avoid sacrifice. He lives for the glory of God and the good of others; and if paying a price will honor Christ and help others, he is willing to do it.
4. A servant’s heart leads to joy because it helps us to become more like Christ.
B. Thinking of “others” in an abstract sense only is insufficient; we must get down to the nitty-gritty of true service.
1. A famous philosopher wrote glowing words about educating children but abandoned his own.
2. It was easy for him to love children in the abstract, but when it came down to practice, that was something else.
3. True service and leadership is measured by what you do not what you say. Never expect someone to do something that you are not willing to first do yourself.