I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership; what it really means and what it really requires. Honestly, any leadership role, whether it’s in your home, in a small committee, or over an entire company or organization, can be fairly daunting. What, with all those eyes peeled in your direction, waiting to see what you will do and what you will say, it can quickly become overwhelming.
Often when I’m teaching in front of a crowd, I have a moment of sheer terror, when I look out into the audience and realize that there is only ONE of me and hundreds of “them.” In that span of time, between the ending of one thought and the beginning of another, there is a sheer, unadulterated silence in the auditorium that feels as real and tangible as anything. And in those moments, it never fails to occur to me that everybody is waiting on me. The uncomfortable silence will linger until I talk again. That idea has a way of sending a chill of terror down my spine. If you’ve ever been in front of a group then you’ll know what I mean.
Yes, leadership roles can often be intimidating and overwhelming. If you are leading in any way and have never once questioned your ability to handle the task at hand, then I wonder if you’re really leading at all. Any good mom will at some time rub her sleeping child’s head and pray that God will equip her to parent well. Any organizational spearhead will look at the team assembled and hope that they’ve got the chops to galvanize their spirits. Any leader will want to make sure they are doing the best they can.
Which is why I’m always on the look out for good trans-formative insight into what successful leadership looks like – and leave it to God to always fill me in.
Yesterday, I started a trek through 2 Chronicles. And the very beginning of the first chapter says (paraphrased):
And Solomon spoke to all Israel; every commander, every leader and every judge. Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him went to the high place which was at Gideon; for God’s tent of meeting was there. . .
(1 Chronicles 1:2-3)
I was struck by these two simple verses. Solomon wasn’t just a leader. He was the leader of leaders (talk about daunting), and yet he seemed to know what to do when they were gathered together under his tutelage. We don’t know what he shared with them when he stood before this auspicious crowd, but we do know what they did afterward: they went to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. And I’m intrigued by the thought that what he said to them, as compelling as it may have been, is not the reason why they went. They didn’t go because they were sent by their leader, they went because he led the way. They went “with him”.
Herein lies one of the most critical elements of leadership. The Lord is teaching me that real leadership in one that doesn’t send people out, but leads them in. It is encouraging those around us, not with our words, but with our lives. So that what they see us do, not hear us say, compels them and commissions them to deeper intimacy with Him.
So, I’m praying for you today, in whatever capacity you may be leading.
Don’t just say it. Live it.