The Leadership Challenge

A couple months ago my friend Lee shared a statement that has messed with my brain.  It stuck with me because it sums up the tension and challenge of being a spiritual leader. So here is the leadership challenge:

Be above nothing,
Rise above everything

The role of a spiritual leader is so unique in that it requires both boldness and humility. It requires both a servant’s heart and shrewdness.  We as leaders are called to be above nothing but rise above everything. (Click to tweet)

Be Above Nothing

Having a position or a title does not remove your need to serve. (Click to tweet) We as spiritual leaders must be above nothing in the arena’s we lead. Our model for this is Jesus, who “though he was God…took the humble position of a slave” (Phil 2). His final lesson for the disciples was on servant-hood, and was displayed as He put on the servants towel and began washing the feet of those who He was called to lead.

Being a leader will change your calendar. Perhaps there are roles or responsibilities you once held that are now carried out by someone else because you have risen to the role of leader. Just because something is not on your job description does not mean you are too good to do it. Stay humble and be above nothing.

Rise Above Everything

Two things have equal ability to limit the effectiveness of a leader: Sideways Energy and Being in the Details.

  • Sideways Energy – There is a reason Paul spent part of his letter to the Roman church speaking to the idea of respecting authority. In our fallen world being a leader means you will have doubters, haters, skeptics and those that will challenge your authority. That is called sideways energy – it is momentum that takes you off course and away from the mission.
  • Being in the Details – Details matter greatly, but it is impossible to lead from 30,000 feet while tending to the details that are only seen at 10 feet off the ground. In Acts 6 we see the Disciples overwhelmed with important details (food distribution to widows), but they acknowledged they could not sacrifice the work God had for them by spending their time running a food program. They empowered others to be in the details so they could stay focused on the big picture.

Leaders must rise above those things that can take them out. Whether it is sideways energy or getting caught in the details a leader must learn to rise above everything.

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