This month we are discussing growing together in Ministry. Brenda kicks us off with today’s Monday Minute on growing together in leadership.
Growing Together in Leadership
by Brenda Pace
“Brenda, you are a valuable part of the history of this organization. As such you carry institutional knowledge and wisdom to share with others.” My inner dialogue as I heard these words went something like this, “I’m barely 40 years old, and this woman is telling me I’m a historical and institutional relic? Close your mouth Brenda, breathe normal, smile, and take no offense.” To say the assessment caught me off-guard is an understatement. To be fair, in the context of the military community of which Pew Research reports the average age as 27-30 the words spoken to me made sense. The reality check was still a rude awakening.
After that conversation, I began to work on embracing the titles and descriptions of “seasoned”, “older”, “Titus II”, and “mentor” because I started hearing them increasingly in relation to my role in military environments. I have a dear young person in my life who told me when he was three years of age that I would never be old because I was too short! Short or not, the age scale only moves upward, and I want to always move and grow in that direction as I age.
Biblical Instruction for Growing Together as Leaders
Romans 12:6-8 instructs:
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in teaching; the one who exhorts, in exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
I especially like the New English Bible translation of the leadership admonition in Romans 12:8 as, “If you are a leader, exert yourself to lead.”
So, what does it mean to be a growing leader and how do I do my part in growing others in leadership? The list could be exhaustive, but here are a few I see as essential:
A growing leader exhibits enthusiasm and interest.
Enthusiasm cannot be taught, but it can be caught. A leader who is enthusiastic about her relationship with God and her ministry calling will communicate that attitude through words and actions. A leader who leads others will take the time to get to know what is going on in the lives of those in her sphere of influence. She will learn to ask good questions. Jesus modeled a fundamental principle by meeting people where they are to guide them where they need to be. Discovering areas where others need motivation can come through asking good open-ended questions.
A growing leader depends on prayer.
Prayer strengthens a leader both personally and relationally. Leading others does not work via an assembly line. For the Christian, it is spiritual labor and requires spiritual warfare. The enemy of the soul does not want to see more faithful followers of Jesus. A growing leader will recognize that only the power of the Holy Spirit can bring transformation in the life of another person. You can see no greater model for this than Jesus in John 17 as he labors in prayer on behalf of his disciples and those who would come after him. A life characterized and strengthened by prayer will overflow into your life and into the lives of those you lead.
A growing leader is willing to be vulnerable.
Authenticity and vulnerability are more than cultural buzzwords; they are necessities in relationship and influence. These words describe the valuable leadership trait of humility. One military branch went so far as to adopt this trait as a core value. Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 6-22 reads, “A leader with the right level of humility is a willing learner, maintains accurate self-awareness, and seeks out others’ input and feedback.”
Before I end this reflection, may I speak to the more sage among those reading these words? A growing leader is intentional about understanding a younger generation. As one who now truly is a historic relic, I never want to stop growing in the areas mentioned above, not to hang on to youth, but to share lessons learned in both directions. I long to remain teachable and willing to listen to viewpoints different from my own. In other words, I believe a true leader will never stop growing!
Read: Hebrews 13:7
Reflect: What leaders have influenced you? What about their lives has made an impact?
Respond: On a scale of 1-10 how are you growing in the areas of enthusiasm, prayer, and humility? What are steps you can take to rekindle growth?
Lord, help me to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
Here are just a few of the many great resources to aid us in growing together in leadership:
Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders
Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
In the Name of Jesus by Henri J. M. Nouwen
The Jesus Hearted Woman: 10 Leader Qualities for Enduring and Endearing Influence by Jodi Detrick
The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast
The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast
The Jenni Catron Leadership Podcast
Lead Stories Podcast by Jo Saxton and Steph O’Brien
The Alli Worthington Show