How to be a Godly Leader
Qualities of a Godly Leader
We all have influence. Social media is filled with so-called "influencers." But as Christians, God calls us to use our influence for Him.
Learning to be a Godly leader is similar to a road trip. It takes planning, the right tools, and action steps to reach your destination. Looking at our leadership strategies like a road trip might help us reach our goals too.
Godly leaders plan
Every good road trip starts with a plan. You may route your journey on Google maps or look up places to eat or sleep while on the road. My wife, Lisa, is a tourist. She likes to read the brochures and to know where we're going. Leadership is the same. It would be best if you had a plan of where you're going and how you want to get there.
Godly leaders prepare for fire
On a recent road trip, my wife and I learned about lodgepole pine trees. They grow in Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and the ones we saw were charred a bit. So you could tell there had been a fire.
We learned that the seeds of the pole pine are encapsulated in wax. So the fires are actually healthy for the trees. During a fire, the wax melts off the seeds, and the pines can reproduce. So the fire allows the trees to multiply.
As Godly leaders, we know the fires will come. Everyone has fires in their life. But do you believe the fires will benefit you? Even though the struggles and challenges that come with godly leadership are complex, they might multiply your impact.
Godly leaders do the hard work
Leadership is not for the lazy. It takes hard work and sacrifice. So when the fires come, are you ready? Do you have what it takes to endure? Then, when we view each challenge as an opportunity to grow and extend our impact, people will see us respond to the fires with anticipation of the greatness ahead.
The scattering of the seed doesn’t happen without the fire.
You might think, "Oh my goodness, I'm on fire. I'm going through the heat. I'm going through a time of suffering or a time of pain." But like the Lodgepole pine, we have an opportunity. I have found that in my life, God has grown me more, taught me more, and even allowed me to share more as I have gone through the fire.
Godly leaders are vulnerable
Godly Leadership doesn't come without vulnerability. Recently, my wife and I spoke at a conference with 75 of the leading pastors in North America. As we shared the story of the sudden death of our daughter and our struggles during that time, God used our vulnerability to show that pastors and leaders don't need to be perfect. Vulnerability is not about our weakness. It’s about God’s strength.
Tools of a Godly leader
Before going on a big road trip, it's a good idea to find an outfitter to supply us with the proper equipment. As we lead, we need the right equipment too. When we are connected with our local church, a community much bigger than ourselves, God provides resources to help us be healthy leaders.
Tool of God’s Word
The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:8, “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; it’s leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
As my wife and I explored Yellowstone during our road trip, we saw these beautiful trees with magnificent white trunks. Our friend told us they were Aspen trees. Did you know Aspen trees grow in clumps? As we asked questions about the trees, our guide told us they grow in clusters because they all share one root system. Can you believe that? Forty-seven thousand trees can be connected to one root system.
The same is true for the church, collectively rooted in the Word of God. We share a root system. Your local church is your clump of trees, and you get to do life, be vulnerable with them, and multiply your influence alongside each other. When we're rooted together, we're stronger. We can do more for the Kingdom.
Tool of Praise
Psalm 47:1 tells us, “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!”
As we grow together, we also praise God together.
As we explored Yellowstone, my wife and I knew there might be grizzly bears. We asked a guide what to do if we saw a bear. He told us to clap. As we round the trail bend, we could clap to ensure we didn't startle the bear. Clapping warns the bear you're coming.
It's the same with our enemy, the devil. When we clap in praise to God, the enemy hears. When we praise God, we warn the enemy not to mess with us. We are not alone. We are connected. There's strength when we praise God together.
Tool of Surrender
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
As we praise God, it naturally leads us to surrender. Just as Godly leadership requires vulnerability, it also involves surrender. Open your heart and praise God. We lift our hands because of surrender. As you get your praise on, it changes how you see the fires.
Action steps for Godly leaders
Have you ever been a passenger on a road trip, staring at a screen or sleeping the whole ride? We can't be like that in our leadership journey. We must be active participants, always looking out the window and seeing what God is doing in our midst. Don't stay in the backseat! Look at the beautiful landscape of what God is doing!
We can't just observe. We also have to let God drive. As we stay firmly rooted in His church, His Word, and our praise to Him, we can let go completely. You will never experience the freedom, the power, the understanding of purpose in your life until you relinquish your worry about what you look like or how you may seem. Nothing will hold you back from jumping aboard God's plan in your life!
We must look at God's example as we learn to use our influence.
Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
When we rely on all the leadership advice the world offers, we can easily be deceived. Leaders of the world end up corrupt. No human tradition or hollow philosophy will get us very far on our own. We need God's wisdom to guide us.
When we take the opportunity to go where God's going on this road trip, we will know how to use our influence in His way. We can get equipped with the right tools through the local church, so we never have to do this alone. And when this is the foundation of your leadership, that's when you know what travel is all about.
We have a choice about how to use our influence in every situation. So if you're wondering what next steps to take, here are three questions you can ask to give you clarity:
1. What is the purpose of this?
2. Who do you want me to pour into today?
3. What do you have for me to receive from this person, situation, or event?
Want to learn more? Watch the related sermon.