The topic of leadership has come up a lot in the past week. We’ve not necessarily been talking about what makes GOOD leadership. Rather, just what is it and who does it?
In the church, and in the wider culture, too, we think of leaders as those people who are out in front of us – politicians, CEOs, teachers, pastors, etc. Those people certainly are leaders. But, I think that leadership takes on many forms.
I think of leadership in the context of church. If you are part of a church, or even if you just profess to be Christian (or any other particular religion for that matter), you should think of yourself ALWAYS as a leader. That doesn’t mean that you are the one who is up in the pulpit, or puts yourself in charge of some major church event. That means that you lead people, every day with how you live your life.
Most people, even the ones in churches, don’t seem to recognize that their life is always reflecting what it means to be a Christian. Most people don’t learn their most valuable faith lessons by reading a book. They learn from their experiences with other people.
I remember when I was a teenager and I began to recognize, perhaps a little too acutely, that so many of the people around me who professed to be Christians did not live that faith at all. In typical teenage form, I rejected the church and all the “hypocrites” within it.
Although I was definitely a little harsh in my judgment, there is validity to this perception. The reality is that we cannot go to church on Sunday morning and then act as if our faith has nothing to do with the rest of our lives. This is poor leadership.
Recent research has supported the notion that the way Christians live their lives has a lot to do with why people do not join churches. In the book UnChristian, Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons report on research that shows that Christians are often perceived as being hypocrites — people who do not walk the talk (so to speak) in their everyday life.
So, for those of us who are Christian, perhaps we should think back to how Jesus lived his life. Jesus certainly taught and preached, but he also spent lots of time with all kinds of people. Most of those people were not the most popular or powerful. They were regular people who wanted to have greater purpose and meaning in their life. He helped make them leaders – by teaching them how to live better lives.
How can we live our life like leaders? How can we SHOW people, not just TALK about what our faith means to us? Let me know.