Leadership is discipleship “kicked up a notch.” To be a Christian leader, one must first be a disciple. To influence another, then a person must be prepared and equipped to live the Christian life in a deep and faithful way.
Over the years I have seen many people come and go. Some of these people appeared on the surface to have great leadership potential. Many have had leadership positions in the marketplace. Others just had a “leadership demeanor,” in that they just looked like a leader. Perhaps they had potential but potential is not enough.
Not everyone is willing to do the work that needs to be done to be an effective Christian leader. Taking course work or attending seminars will not be enough by themselves. Reading books or subscribing to leadership and management periodicals are not enough. There is something more and if it is not done, then the potential leaders will either burn out or burn others.
To truly be a Christian leader, one must be a faithful, sold-out disciple. While this may sound easy, it is a road less travelled. Discipleship is not a part-time pursuit. It demands our best. It demands our heart, soul, mind and will. I cannot tell if someone is going to be an effective leader by simply looking at them. In I Samuel 16:7, we see the difference between how we tend to choose leaders and how God does: “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Leadership is not impossible but it is demanding. Too many times I have seen people seek to lead only to give up. I have seen potential leaders step forward only to eventually disappear. The reason is simple: leadership is discipleship “kicked up a notch.” Trying to lead without truly seeking to follow Jesus in a radical way always ends up in the same place: disappointment, disillusionment and defeat. I have travelled that road myself only to come back to where it all began, giving my heart, soul, mind, and will to God. Surrendering to God’s will and His desires is the only place for true leadership to begin.