Leadership: An honourable ambition

Be a growing leader
A LEADER must be sure he is always growing. Continual growth is key to effective leadership, and God is key to growth. There are, however, certain things that a leader can do to activate the growth process.

One of the keys to the leader’s growth is God’s word.

But to grow by it, he must spend time in it, as Solomon said, Proverbs 16 vs 16, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Notice that it is not just better, but much better. Morning prayer and Bible reading are not electives. They are required. Scripture memory and meditation on the word are still vital to Christian development.

Enemies to growth

Pride

Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way about pride going before destruction.

He was a mighty leader of vast armies and hosts of people. Yet pride was his downfall. God will deal with leaders who refuse to give glory to the one to whom it is due. 2 Corinthians 4 vs 7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

Laziness

If a leader is too lazy to pray, to study, to seek the Lord, he is once again on the brink of doom. Solomon spoke a clear word on this. Proverbs 18 vs 9, “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.”

The lazy man destroys what he has. He lets what he has sift through his fingers. He casts his God-given gifts and abilities to the wind. If a leader neglects his responsibilities, he causes as much damage as the man who busies himself in wickedness. Both are destroyers.

In another proverb, Solomon spoke of the danger of sloth and the reward of diligence. Proverbs 20 vs 13, “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.”

To love sleep is to abuse what God has ordained. Sleep must be used merely to prepare us for further service. Sleep should be the servant, not the master. The lover of sleep will turn into a listless, indolent, halfhearted individual who in no way resembles our Lord Jesus Christ, who did all things well and was consumed with the zeal of God.

Humility

It is clear from these verses that to walk humbly before God is absolutely necessary to spiritual growth. Such humility reverses the Lord and obeys His Word.
Godliness: A person living in sin is obviously not growing in grace and knowledge of Christ.

Christ comes as we learn the commands of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Godliness and growth are interdependent that one promotes the other. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps hisway preserves his soul.

All who walk in the highway of God know that it leads closer and closer to His heart, His will and His love. The prophet Isaiah had an incisive and interesting comment on this point.

What a promise! It doesn’t matter where we start. We may have little education and few abilities. But if we are diligent in our pursuit of holiness on the highway of God, we will grow in both the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. Growth is unmistakably connected to godliness.

When you come right down to it, all the Lord requires of old men and women is that they be disciples. Young or old, the requirements are the same: faithfulness in the basics — in service and stewardship, and in devotion to Him.

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Here growth and prudence are linked. Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.

Note that Solomon added the ear and the heart. What we hear can go in one ear and out the other. But when it lodges in the heart, it affects the life. Prudence involves our attitude toward knowledge.Solomon had much to say about knowledge.

Appollos was an interesting example of this attitude. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Imagine that! A preacher being taught by the lay people! It is amazing that they felt the freedom to do that. It is also amazing that Apollos had the humility and prudence to listentothem. The prudent leader will listen to the voice of his followers.

Be an exemplary leader

The basic definition of exemplary leader is, “someone alongside to demonstrate and to help.”

There are five steps to this:

l Tell him what.

l Tell him why.

l Show him how.

l Help him get started.

l Help him keep going.

One of the great needs in the church today is for patterns. If a lady is going to make a dress, what is the first thing she does? She goes down to the store and buys a pattern. Isn’t that also the first need of a growing Christian? A pattern?

Apostle Paul once said, “follow me as I follow Christ.” Someone to teach us how to walk. 1 John 2 vs 6, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

There is power in a good example. We can learn things we never dreamed possible when someone shows us how.

Be an inspiring leader

To maintain a high degree of motivation and morale, the leader must develop the people involved with him, helping them to reach their fullest potential.

Solomon wrote of four qualities that are vital to a leader.

Honesty

Rebuke should be given in the spirit of love, care and concern. Open rebuke means “speaking with free and unhindered honesty.” A love that is too timid to help a person with his faults is not love at all.

Loyalty

The leader must stay with the person through thick and thin. He cannot walk off when the person fails in his responsibilities or suffers a setback in his spiritual life.

Generosity

The leader should commend work that is well done.

Praise is a greater tester of character. If a person is filled with vanity, if he craves self-glory and hungers for recognition, praise will do nothing but fan the flame of his weakness. On the other hand, if he is humble and wise, a word of praise can be used by the Lord to stimulate him to even greater service for Christ. Just as silver and gold are tested by the furnace, so a person is tested by praise. Saul and David both went through the crucible of praise.

One failed and one weathered the test. Praise, therefore, is that which the vain leader seeks and the weak leader is hurt by. The true character of a leader is manifested by how he handles praise.

Humility

In all of his effort, the leader must remember that God is doing the training in the lives of the people.

In every aspect of life, God is the one who works in their lives to train people, and the leader must let the Lord do His work.The picture in Proverbs 17 vs 3 is of metal in the refiner’s furnace, the dross will remain ingrained in the metal forever.

Outward polishing will not solve the problem. The need is for fire. No mild solution will suffice.The evil that lurks within the hearts of men must be brought to the surface and thrown away.

Priorities For A Leader.

There are two additional principles which are particularly helpful when developing prospective leaders.

a. Choose wisely.

The initial key to developing prospective leaders is careful selection of the right persons.It is a double tragedy to spend time preparing a person for a leadership responsibility only to discover that you have chosen the wrong person.You only have one life to invest and to give it to a wrong person is a waste.So pick the person carefully and prayerfully. Remember, Jesus spent time in prayer before choosing The Twelve.

Luke 6 vs 12-13,12, Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.13,And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles…

As you look to develop a leaders, keep in mind that some people respond to instruction, reproof and correction, while others don’t.Proverbs 9 vs 8-9,8,Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.9, Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Some people are ready for help and counsel, and others are not. Some people have capacity to be trained as leaders, and others don’t.

b. Invest time.

The second key, once you have carefully selected the man or woman whom you believe God wants to develop into a leader, is to spend individual time with that person.Proverbs 27 vs 17,“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

One way God sharpens is through other people. You will learn more by studying people than by studying books. Learn to ask questions, learn by observation.

●Colin Nyathi is a senior pastor and founder of Harvest House International Churches. email hhi@mweb.co.zw

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