In order to lead well, you must first be willing to follow.
There is no leadership apart from followership. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
As Christians, our leadership starts with our ability to follow Jesus. If we can’t or won’t follow His lead, how can we then lead others?
This is not about perfection; it’s about the intent of our hearts.
No one is forced to follow; it’s a choice. That’s part of the beauty and power of your willingness to follow those who lead you.
For example, you choose to follow your Sr. Pastor as you lead those who follow you. It’s not either-or; it’s both lead and follow.
When a volunteer says yes to you; they choose to follow. It’s a beautiful and sacred trust we must lead well.
Following is also an attitude based on character, and humility is the core character trait of a follower’s attitude.
Leadership is based on responsibility over authority.
“All authority in heaven and on earth…” (Matthew 28:18) has been given to Jesus, yet He does nothing apart from the Father.
The way Jesus handles His spiritual authority is our model for leadership and followership.
“Verily truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Don also does.” (John 5:19)
As a spiritual leader, you have authority, but that’s not what you seek.
- If you seek authority first, your leadership feels heavy to those you lead.
- If you seek responsibility first, your leadership feels light to those you lead because you carry the burden; you carry the load along with those you lead.
When you focus your leadership on responsibility over authority:
- Your eyes are on the purpose.
- You are willing to sacrifice your personal gain.
- Your authority is only for the good of the people.
Serving is second nature to a spiritual leader.
Many have learned that serving is the nature of a spiritual leader but it takes maturity to learn to serve with joy. “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)
Putting others first and serving them is not our instinctive human nature, but it becomes second nature to a spiritual leader over time.
Human nature is “me first.” Jesus’ example is others first.