Summary: The first in the Lessons in Leadership series this message illustrates the perserverance needed in every leader’s life.
Lessons in Leadership
Part One: “Leaders Make a Difference”
Professor: Noah, the son of Lamech
©Larry L. Thompson (2003)
Text: Hebrews 11:7 (NIV)
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
Today we begin an eight week study entitled, “Lessons in Leadership.” We will examine eight leaders from the Bible and look at a different characteristic of leadership from each life. We will use the word of God to allow the Biblical leader to become our adjunct professor for the weekly course and will entertain a new professor from key Leaders found throughout the Bible.
What is a Christian Leader?
A Christian leader is an individual who is ‘called and equipped by God’ to lead others in the pursuit of the will of God that ultimately results in Christ being glorified.
Christian Leadership should include five key attributes.
1. Leaders MOBILIZE people for an eternal purpose.
2. Leaders INFLUENCE people to pursue God’s will.
3. Leaders PURSUE God directed goals.
4. Leaders SACRIFICE for the privilege to lead.
5. Leaders EARN THE TRUST of those they lead.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHRISTIAN LEADER
Let’s identify Key Characteristics of someone we identify as a spiritual leader. All the Christian leaders I have studied—in Scripture, in person, in history books—possess three distinct but related key characteristics.
1. THE CHRISTIAN LEADER IS CALLED BY GOD. He is called to servanthood, but following the example of Christ he serves by leading. The vast majority of God’s human creation is followers. Those who have been anointed by God to lead are valuable to the Body of believers—in functional terms—by their willingness to follow their call and provide leadership His followers desperately need.
2. THE CHRISTIAN LEADER MODELS THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST. Because the central function of a Christian leader is to enable people to know, love and serve Christ with all their heart, soul, mind and spirit, the leader must himself possess and model spiritual attributes—characteristics of a surrendered and submitted heart, manifested through their speech and behavior—that reflects the nature of God.
3. THE CHRISTIAN LEADER IS SPIRITUALLY EQUIPPED. Christian leaders are able to perform tasks and guide people toward accomplishing the directives of God as a result of being spiritually equipped for their assignment. Spiritual leaders are equipped to inspire and motivate people, direct the energy and resources of people, casting God’s vision, building teams, celebrating victories, reviewing defeats, delegating authority, making decisions, developing strategy, and accepting responsibility for outcomes and always giving all glory to God.
The Bible is perfectly clear that spiritual leadership happens best when it occurs in the context of a spiritually gifted and equipped team of people working with a God called leader. Moses had Joshua, Aaron and Hur. Jesus had Peter, James and John. Paul had Timothy, Barnabas, Luke and Titus. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 12:7, each believer is given a gift to be used “for the common good” (NIV). Each spiritual gift is not meant to be exhaustive, but complementary. No one gift (or an individual possessing a certain gift) is better than any other. Christian leaders can not exercise the gift of leadership without other Christians joining with them and using their gifts to see God glorified and His work completed.
As a pastor/teacher and leader, I desperately need great teachers, administrators, counselors, those with the gift of service and hospitality as well as people with all the other gifts that will come along side with me and to help me lead. God created us to be in community; we need each other for the Body to function properly. Creating a framework in which the synergy for this biblical model to occur is one of the great challenges to every Christian leader.
QUESTION: “Why Begin the New Year of 2003 With a Biblical Sermon Series on Leadership?”
Because It is Perhaps The Greatest Need We Have In Our Fellowship and not only in our church but the fact that The New Testament Church in America is in a CRISIS!
• WE HAVE A CRISIS OF SPIRITUAL FAITH: Tens of millions of Americans are searching for something to believe in.
• WE HAVE A CRISIS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY: Millions of born-again believers have little or no spiritual depth. They are ineffective servants of God because they do not know what they believe, or how to use their faith to impact this world.
• WE HAVE A CRISIS IN OUR UNWILLINGNESS TO CHANGE: The Church seems afraid to invest in new modes of being the Church, fearful of breaking free from antiquated models while still holding true to the one Gospel Message that has the power to change the world. At times we are guilty of embracing our irrelevant traditions while deceiving ourselves into believing we can change our world in this twenty-first-century.