You Can’t be Real and be a Leader.

Way back when during my seminary days, I took a class on pastoral leadership. Basically how to lead a church. We went through a lot of different scenarios, but the one that I wrestled with the most was when we were basically told that to be an effective church leader/pastor you can’t be transparent to those in your church. You can’t really have good friends from the church. In essence, you can’t be yourself. You can’t be real. I wrestled with it then and I wrestle with it now.

My understanding of biblical leadership is all about authenticity and transparency.  It’s all about recognizing your weaknesses, embracing them and learning from them. Biblical leadership is about knowing that you don’t have to have  it all together, and that’s ok.

Over the past few years I’ve been in a variety of church leadership roles, from leading discipleship programs, leading a worship team of 45+ or my present role of being a church planter. In all those roles, there is no difference to how we lead. No difference because of the size or scale of the leadership role. From these experiences I’ve determined that there are 4 vital components to be being a strong and healthy leader. Now, in my context these are founded in the Bible, but I believe that they are just as vital in the secular world too.

So, if you’re interested keep reading. Oh, and because I’m preacher now, I felt like I need to keep them all starting with the letter “A” and, I may have made up a word or two!

AUTHENTICITY

I really think that this is one of the toughest areas that all of us wrestle with. Cause, if we’re authentic…real, people won’t like us.  God won’t like us!  Psalm 13 and 15 are great references that speak well into this idea. Authenticity means we’re real. With ourselves, others and most importantly with God! Even when it doesn’t feel good or you know you’re wrong. God already knows our heart, He desires that we allow ourselves to become transparent.

Question:  How honest about your inner heart are you?  With others?  With God?

ATTRACTABILITY

This isn’t what you think. It’s not about how pretty or handsome you are. This is all about your character and your heart. This is what draws people to you. This is what I hope draws people to me. King David was the prime example of this quality. When God was look ing for a new King for Israel. He looked passed all of David’s brothers. Why?  They all looked like kings. Strong. Tall. Handsome. That wasn’t what God was look for or at. He was looking at the heart. And He found a full heart in David.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 [TNIV]

 Question:  Are you a man or woman after God’s own heart?

APPROACHABILITY

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:15-17 [TNIV]

I love these verses. This is Jesus telling us and showing us that if we’re not approachable even by little kids, we need to work on some things.  I would say that if we’re not approachable, then the other two “A’s” aren’t developed. This is about joy.  Tenderheartedness. Love. Patience. Peace. You know. The fruit of the Spirit.  [Galatians 5:22-23]

Question:  Do people enjoy being around you?

Lastly.

AUTHORITY

Why is Authority last? Simple. If we begin with our Authority or God’s Authority we can become arrogant or prideful. I have it last because it’s the FOUNDATION to everything. We all have authority to some degree or another, let’s not lead out of it. Let’s stand on with Authenticity, Attractability and Approachability. When we do that, our Authority will speak volumes without you ever having to say anything.

One last thing.  There’s a great scene at the beginning of the movie Gladiator.  Russel Crowe’s character is speaking to the troops right before they go into a battle.  He reminds that “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”  That’s it!  That’s Biblical leadership.