What model of leadership do you want to follow?

Lorraine Shonaman

True leadership is always first and foremost a gift from God. Therefore true leadership is in the Holy Spirit under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, whether it is leadership in the Church or in the business world or in families. True leadership has its basis in Christian ethic. Therefore leadership ability is a “grow as you go” process. That is, we never completely ‘arrive’. Leadership is above all about service to others done in love.

One of the primary qualities of a good leader is discernment. Discernment as to whether our decision comes from our self, from the devil, or from the Holy Spirit. Discernment grows with a prayer life steeped in the Word of God. Proper discernment also means that serious sins have been eradicated in our lives. It also means that our lives are in order according to the ways of God. Leaders need to fine-tune their listening power wherever they are so they can discern what ‘spirit’ is operative. The aim is always to desire to follow the Holy Spirit and nobody else.

In a meeting setting, it is important that we remind ourselves that what we are trying to do is to discern what the Holy Spirit is actually trying to get through to us, what decision to follow, what direction to take. No one person has it all!! The safest way to discern God’s will is to do it as a group, in the Body of believers.

We, in a meeting setting, though we prepare with prayer and put on the armour of Christ, have to realize that we are always, nevertheless, in a battle. It does not take much sometimes for the evil one to derail us and we get into our flesh if we are not careful. When this happens and your inner peace is gone, it is time for you to quietly go within yourself right where you are and turn whatever is bothering you to Jesus Christ asking for the Holy Spirit’s help. Then move back confidently into participation in the meeting. The Lord always helps us in all our afflictions.

When most people at the meeting are in a bad place, that is, coming from much turmoil, then no major decision should be made at this time. When only one or two are struggling, then be aware of where they are coming from….. Discern it well. It could be that they are touchy in their emotions and can react rather than stay in the Holy Spirit. Though some can and do produce much fruit when their ‘weaknesses’ are in the Lord’s hands and the Holy Spirit empowers them. Gal.5: 25 says “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.”

Discernment, love and understanding are required. It might be good, at the end of the meeting, to see if anyone is going home with hurt feelings. All this is done in love so as to repair relationships quickly. I have found that when this happens, it is our ‘weaknesses’ that bind us together in love, not our strengths. But I have also been aware that some may not want to be vulnerable to each other for lack of trust in the group. Be careful of ‘cliques’ developing in the group when this happens.

At other times, especially when important decisions are being made, be very attentive that the evil one does not side track you by changing the subject, by creating a distraction by a few beginning a conversation by themselves that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. James 1:14-15 says: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin…”

The devil loves to distract us from what the Holy Spirit wants to say and do. The devil loves to create a confusion and frustration in a discussion by some going on and on and not letting anyone else have a say. And the devil can use anyone of us if we are not careful. So stay on topic and only say what actually needs to be said. The devil loves it when we waste the Holy Spirit’s time.

Be alert and at peace for that will be a sure sign that Jesus is in charge of your life and the group’s. Hebrews 13:20 says: “May the God of peace,…..equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”

Another thing to watch is when someone else has their own ‘timetable’ on how to proceed rather than the Holy Spirit’s way. The Holy Spirit works in order and in unity. Opinions may differ but the goal is always to seek what the Holy Spirit desires for us. Do we still have a need to get things done now regardless of where others are? Imagine the pressure you put on others, let alone yourself?

One of my gifts is organization. I have learned that when something ‘bothers’ me as how others might do some things, I take it to prayer and surrender it all to Jesus and ask to have things done His way and in His timetable. I also ask Him to grant me His peace in all the situation. Then I watch Him work! I have to tell you that it brings me great joy. All in the group get it done in peace. Joy overflows! There are actually different ways to get some things done by somebody else.

That does mean, however, that our gifts need to continuously grow in Christ. A leader grows in their giftedness only to the degree that he or she recognizes their own weaknesses in that gift! The flip side of the gift is our sinful self, our personality flaws. Transformed by our Lord, our weaknesses indeed become our strengths and we do and say things more and more in the Holy Spirit who only gives life. James 1:19 says: “Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak…”

Love has to grow in a leader – love of Jesus, love of self and others. Fear has to be dealt with in a leader so that love can overcome our weaknesses. A leader has to have inner peace and freedom. 1Cor. 16:13 says: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

A leader cannot be afraid to call forth order in the midst of disorder; to guide gently but firmly when needed. A leader grows in confidence as the years go by. But a wise leader knows that there is always much more to learn that is already learned. A true leader always “grows and goes” in the service of others to build the Kingdom of God. ++++







The way of Jesus