- How many leaders in the Bible, when first called, told God they were not a leader or that they were unable to lead?
- How many leaders functioning in a leadership role today have you heard say, “I’m not really a leader?”
- How many people who won’t step up to a leadership role are actually called by God to lead?
- Most of them…Jeremiah, Isaiah, and David for starters.
- I don’t know about you, but in my experience, quite a few.
- A lot–more than we think. Maybe you’re one of these!
When I was in Germany a few years ago, Martin Buehlmann (who invited me) asked me when I first realized I was a leader. I told him it was a process and that there wasn’t a single day or a single moment when I said to myself, “I just now realize that I’m a leader.”
I personally believe there are many leaders whom God has called into leadership who are making excuses and who are not willing to get out of their comfort zone, or who feel inadequate for the responsibility! I have felt inadequate most of my 53 years in ministry. I still fight insecurity and fear a lot of the time.
Lorne Sanny, who was president of The Navigators for 30 years used to refer to himself as the “reluctant leader”; but he was also the obedient leader, because he stepped up even though he didn’t always feel he had what it took to lead. But Jesus has what it takes to help any leader lead–and lead well!
What exactly is leadership anyway? Is it a gift? Is it a role? Is it a position?
I believe the Bible speaks clearly of leadership as a gift. Because you have leadership on your business card or in your job title doesn’t make you a leader. There are many people in “leadership roles” who aren’t leaders; but there are also many more who should be leading and are arguing with God about it.
Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:27-30, Ephesians 4:10-16 are some key passages that speak of leadership as a gift. I don’t believe that everyone is a leader anymore than I believe that everyone is a teacher or an administrator. An exception needs to be made in the family where the husband is called to “lead.” But in the body, His church, there are various gifts…one of them is leadership.
I believe that leaders are people who intentionally, deliberately and proactively try to move people from where they are to where they could or should be, believing that God has called them to do this.
Moses is the best example of this that I know of. He was asked to lead a group of people (literally) from one place to another. Exodus 32:34, ESV: “But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you…”
I see the following in this verse:
- God tapped Moses on the shoulder, spoke to him, and gave him a leadership assignment
- God asked Moses to lead a specific group of people, the Israelites
- God asked Moses to lead these Israelites from one piece of land to another–from Egypt to the promised-land
Leaders are people with certain attributes and qualities that God has bestowed, which enable them to motivate/encourage/persuade people to go from where they are to someplace else.
In closing, here are a few, perhaps painful, questions:
- Are you a called leader who is making excuses and refusing to lead?
- Have you been telling God and others that you are not a leader, but in your heart of hearts you know that you are?
- Are you running from God’s clear word to you as Jonah did?
The body of Christ needs you. Step up and step out in dependence on Jesus and watch what He does…in spite of your insecurities and inadequacies.