Lead on

Numbers 27:12-23
It’s the fundamental leadership question: Are leaders born or are leaders made?

How you answer may influence your leadership development. If leaders are born, then innate skills shape your abilities and even your drive. If leaders are made, then there’s hope for us all. Studies show the answer leans more to the made side. That people learn to lead. So, we can all pick up ideas and strategies that help us lead well.

After all, most of us have had to lead in some fashion. Our first thought is to our careers, but what about our volunteer work? Our families? And, of course, church ministry?

I haven’t read too many leadership books lately. Excluding the last one, which blew me away, they all started sounding the same. No, I’m not suggesting I’ve learned everything about being a leader. Nor am I hoping you believe I’m great leadership material right now. Please do not take it to mean we should stop learning how to become more faithful leaders.

What I’ve felt is we, as the church, overdid leadership.

That’s all we wanted to talk about. We shaped all the problems of the church through the lens of leadership. That is, we had a leadership problem. So, attend this seminar and follow this leadership guru. Read this book and send all your volunteers to our next workshop. Read leadership into every Bible story you can. I’d be fine if I could go the rest of my life without hearing another pastor use the term “servant leadership.”

I’m not convinced ours is a leadership problem. We’ve thrown every effort into leadership development and we’re still struggling. Do we really think we’re waiting for the right people at the right time to finally get it? Leadership development without revival is nothing short of foolish building on sand.

Can leaders lead us to revival? Sure. But not by focusing on leadership. We can see this when God chose Joshua to succeed Moses. First, let’s recognize the spirit of Moses. He doesn’t fight with God, hoping to change God’s mind about him entering the promised land. He wants to make sure his people have someone faithful over them. Did he learn that?

According to the NIV, God chooses Joshua because he has “the spirit of leadership.” Deuteronomy says it was the “spirit of wisdom” (Deuteronomy 34:9).

I don’t see Joshua full of ambitious goals. He isn’t hoping to overtake Moses or position himself as the people’s choice. I see Joshua being led himself. Led by his trust in God. Led by his desire to be faithful.

Yes, we can all learn something about leadership as we serve together. We should. But our priority needs to be our walk with God. If we aren’t asking God to lead us, where are we leading each other?

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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