When it comes to Christian leadership, like General John Gowans, I often wonder, Why Me?
Find someone else!
Your files are full
Of super-gifted saints
Who’d love to do this job for you,
No groans and no complaints!
It’s just not fair,
When You must have
A million men or more,
Your finger falls on me again,
Does no one keep the score?
Forgive me Lord.
It’s not by chance
You want me for this task.
Just call me anytime you like,
You only have to ask.
With you there’s no “coincidence,”
But only good design.
No doubt you have your reasons
Why the name you name
The Idea of Power and Authority
As a young person, I craved leadership responsibility. I loved the idea of power and authority. When I grew older, I made myself available for leadership roles, at university and in The Salvation Army corps where I worshipped. Others saw leadership potential in me, and this affirmed my craving.
Learning the Leadership Craft
As a Songster Leader, Bandmaster and one-time Youth Chorus Leader, I saw my most important priority as a Christian leader was to learn the craft of leadership. I spent considerable time learning about the voice and playing brass instruments, along with choral and band conducting.
As I continue to grow into Christian leadership, I have become more aware of Jesus’ admonition that:
Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities’! (Luke 12:48 MSG).
When it comes to leadership, I continue to believe it important to sharpen the saw as Stephen Covey encourages. I spend time reading leadership and spiritual formation blogs and articles. I also read spiritual and leadership books. I spend time with my mentor, who keeps me accountable in leadership. Remaining teachable is extremely important to me.
The Most Important Christian Leadership Habit
As a Salvation Army officer, I now recognise that what I neglected during my time as a local leader is what I now believe is the most important habit for a Christian leader to develop. That is to be a disciplined disciple and slow down for loving union with God. It is possible to lead a band, songster brigade or corps without Jesus. But if I want to see lasting, full fruit in my ministry, then in the past few years I have learned I must slow down and give Jesus direct access to every area of my life and every facet of my leadership. Jesus says to me:
Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me (Revelation 3:20).
I must open the door of my heart to him. I need to connect with God personally during the week if I am ever going to lead people into the presence of Jesus. I have to make time for God’s Word to penetrate my own mind, heart and soul if I am to communicate effectively when I preach. A consistent devotional life is necessary to effectively lead and pastor a corps, supervise staff and volunteers and manage administration and finances. Slowing down for loving union with God is the only way that I will ever be able to give in love for God and others.
It is for this reason that I try prioritise several means of grace, including silence, Lectio Divina and Daily Office, to ensure I slow down for loving union with God. I try to teach a culture of spiritual formation too, through emphasising means of grace and the pre-eminence of discipleship over ministry.
The Impact of Busyness
Having said that, slowing down with loving union with God is one of the first things I neglect when ministry is particularly busy. I realise this a false economy, and am determined as I go forward to ensure it remains top of the list of my priorities, not only on paper but in real time.
Called by God to Leadership
God cares much more about who I am and who I can be, than what I do. That is the primary lesson I have learned in my Christian leadership development in the past few years. I no longer crave leadership. In fact, there are days when I do not want the responsibilities of Christian leadership at all. But I know I have been called by God to be a leader. And so, like General Gowans, I sense God does not want someone else, and so, daily, I must pray:
Just call me anytime you like, You only have to ask.
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