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Summary: The qualities of successful leaders and successful followers.

Loyal Leaders & Faithful Followers

Joshua 1:10-18

George was 28 years old, single, and still living with his parents. One Sunday morning, George told his mother he wasn’t going to church. "First," he said, "I’m tired. Second, the people there don’t like me. And third, the sermons are dull." But George’s mother wouldn’t take no for an answer. "George," she said, "you have to go. First, we always worship on Sunday. Second, it doesn’t matter whether they like us or not. And third, you are the pastor!"

God has always had some rather reluctant leaders. Moses didn’t want the job and flat out told God to “find somebody else.” Jeremiah thought he was too young. Jonah didn’t like being a prophet to Nineveh and went to great lengths—and depths—to avoid being a leader. David was willing to wait on God to remove Saul before he took the place of leadership in Israel.

Reluctant leaders are often the best leaders. It’s those who are power hungry and eager to assert their authority that often do more harm than good. What I have observed is that there are more reluctant leaders in the church than there are those who are hungry for power and authority. In fact, some of you may be sitting here this morning thinking, “If he’s going to be talking about leadership, then I may as well take a nap, because he’s not talking to me. I’m certainly not a leader.”

How many of you here are shepherds? (Ask them to stand). How many of you are Bible class teachers? (Stand) How many of you are ministry leaders? (Stand). How many are small group leaders? How many of you have positions of leadership where you work? How many fathers? How many mothers? How many husbands? How many of you have a leadership position at school? How many of you have younger brothers or sisters? How many of you have ever invited someone to worship? How many of you have ever prayed with someone? How many of you try to let your light shine by being a good influence to others?

Those of you who are not standing can take a nap. No, not really. Because there is a very good likelihood that you will someday be in one of those positions. We are all leaders in one arena or another, whether CEOs of corporations or parents of small families. We all need to know the biblical principles of leadership and authority. Joshua offers us a model of Godly, biblical leadership.


This is the major difference between worldly leadership styles and godly leadership. Godly leadership requires a growing, developing, daily relationship with God. The world only knows how to lead and manage from a worldly perspective. The godly leader is able to see beyond the physical world of spreadsheets, statistics and management theories, to the spiritual world that influences everything around us.

God had made it clear to Joshua that to be successful Joshua had to stay in touch with his leader. Verses 7 & 8 emphasizes that every leader needs to know God’s word and obey God’s will. The key is understanding that, even though you lead others, God is leading you. Just as others submit to your authority, you submit to His.

The best example of this was Mother Teresa: ninety tiny pounds, quiet, and meek. Yet, when this powerless nun came to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington four years ago, in a room filled with senators, congressmen, and world leaders at all levels, she spoke with incredible moral authority and power on the subject of abortion. Her authority did not come from worldly power; it came from her submission to God, her holy life—a life spent sacrificially, serving the dying.

This was the power of Jesus’ leadership! After Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount the people were astonished because he taught as one who had authority. Yet about himself Jesus said, “…the son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).

It doesn’t matter how large or small the leadership role may be we cannot overlook our relationship with God. Why is it so important that a leader stays in touch with God? Richard Halverson the former chaplain to the U.S. Senate wrote, “Whether a man likes it or not—if he’s in a place of leadership—he will be influencing others. He has no right just to consider himself. He must think in terms of his influence. This is part of the price of leadership! Not just the man himself—but what happens to those who follow in his footsteps—is the serious responsibility of the leader….”

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