Several days ago I came across this quote by the late great A.W. Tozer, “A man highly honored today can be looked upon with scorn tomorrow.” After reading it, two thoughts came to my mind. The first was the reality our Lord Jesus faced. Literally, in one moment the crowds were clamoring for His healing touch, but in the days to follow would cry out for Him to be crucified. The second thought was the reality of Christian leadership and how quickly a leader can go from loved to despised, often because of a single decision.
By having the right mindset, I saw an interesting thing happen. No matter where I went, and whoever was around — from my cellmate to other prisoners in my housing unit, to even the correctional officers who delivered my mail, people gravitated toward me, asking questions about what I was focused on.
Even though I wasn’t leading groups or recruiting people to better themselves, my actions made me an agent of change, no matter where I was in prison. I began to positively influence the people around me. The people in my housing unit started reading my books, joined my workouts and focused on their emotional and spiritual states.
Leaders must be truth-tellers.
But it’s equally important to be truth-hearers. In order to chart a strong, accurate course, leaders must know they are receiving honest, direct feedback.
But the reality is, every leader has experienced an occasion when the answer to a question has sounded somehow “off”. It might not have sounded like a blatant lie, but you simply couldn’t shake the notion that what you were hearing in response was something less than truthful.
I’ve always been inspired by Scripture that describes how we walk with the Lord. Walking with the Lord can be literal as well as a metaphor for the time I spend with my Creator. Spending time with God is the pathway to intimacy and knowing Him in a deeper way. My conversations and time in His Word quiet my soul and give me margin to meditate on His Word and His involvement in my life. Walking provides me a place to pour out my heart, cry out my questions, and seek direction for next steps.
Joshua was one incredible leader.
We have many incredible leaders in our churches today. But, perhaps more often than we admit, some church leaders stop leading. I have spoken with hundreds, probably thousands, of them over the years. I hear common themes of why they put their leadership in neutral.
Video of the Week: The Lure of Isolation for Leaders