There are many things that make up a great leader. To me, the core of a great leader is a relationship with Christ. I would say that most of my life I have possessed the qualities I have that make me a good leader, but I didn’t know how to properly use them until I met Jesus. My view of leadership resides in the leader that Jesus was when He walked on this earth.
Brent Reinhart explains “9 Essential Qualities of a Godly Leader” according to Proverbs 16 in his article on Crosswalk.com. In this article he states that “A good leader seeks God’s direction…is modest, not arrogant…is a peacemaker…fair and just…surrounds himself or herself with honest, trustworthy counselors…then listens to them…is a good learner…humble…sensible and kind…[and] slow to anger” (Rinehart, 2015). As someone whose purpose is to bring people closer to Jesus, I must first know Him, live like Him, and lead like Him. In this article Reinhart describes that being a leader is being like the person Jesus was. When Jesus came to this world, he acted as a servant, He was here to die for our sins after living a spotless life. But even knowing that He was God in the flesh, he was always humble, fair and just, honest, surrounded himself with trustworthy counsel, always slow to anger, and the first to strive for peace. Jesus is the prime example of what a good leader should look like.
And the Greatest Is Love…
In a book called “The Most Excellent Way to Lead” I read about how in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul is writing about the leadership of the church, how it should properly be run, and how to lead like Jesus led. Right between a chapter about spiritual gifts, and the chapter about prophesy, Paul explains the importance of love and what love should look like in Chapter 13. In Verses 4-7 we read that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (ESV, 2001). Paul is simply relaying the most important message that Jesus spread in His teachings. When asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied with “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV, 2001). Jesus led with love (Noble, 2015, p. 7). He did not gain a following by forcing people, or bossing people, or simply because He was God in the flesh. In fact, many people, including his own disciples, were skeptical of this until He was raised from the dead just three days after His crucifixion. No, Jesus was not a good leader because He made himself that way. Jesus was the greatest leader in history simply because He loved everyone, all people from all backgrounds, and every person who had sinned against him unconditionally.
leadership is not a trait or ability that resides in the leader
Because of this, I have based my own view of leadership on roots of love and compassion. It is my belief that you will never get anywhere with brute force but you will go far with love. I started to fall into my role as a leader when I realized that people actually liked and listened to what I had to say. This didn’t really start to happen though until I was saved in October of 2015. When people started to notice the complete change in who I was, they started to ask me questions, wanting to know more about how I did it, what my story was, and how someone so broken became someone so filled with life. Northouse says that leadership is “not a trait or ability that resides in the leader, but rather an interactive event that occurs between the leader and the followers” (Northouse, 2015, p. 7). Once I was aware that what I said, did, and thought influenced those around me, I knew that I could make a difference by modeling the behavior that I believed to be what is good and what is right. I get all of my morals, ethics, and structure for living straight from scripture and studying God’s word.
what was so special about me, my testimony, and my life?
I would say that my leadership style developed mostly because I had no idea what I was doing and then suddenly had a following and had to figure out what it was that meant for me. So I started as a Service Coordinator for the weekend services at my church. This is the volunteer position that oversees all the other volunteers in any given weekend and makes sure the services are running smoothly and everyone is where they need to be. My vision started simple and that is “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Now, that’s kind of broad so I needed to figure out okay… well how? Since most of my influence resides inside church walls, that’s how I came up with the idea for Coffee Talk Online. Coffee Talk is my blog platform where I share stories, testimonies, articles about heavy and uncomfortable topics, etc. I’m still building a reader base for this blog but, it’s slowly starting to get a little wind beneath its wings. Mostly how my leadership in these roles affects people is by my actions, my organization, and my writing. My heart, my intentions, and my passion for Christ is my main focus and I try to portray this in everything I do, from keeping the church services running smooth on the weekend, to discussing hardships with people, to sharing the gospel. I’ve had people tell me that my testimony is an inspiration, that my relationship with my fiancé gives them hope, that my life-change has inspired them to come back to church, or to meet God in the first place, and more. At first I found comments like this uncomfortable, like what was so special about me, my testimony, and my life? Then I found that it’s love. Jesus’ love keeps me going, it shines through me to people, and people see that love and want to know more. I wish I could say I was good about building my community, but most of what I have been able to do is keep people motivated through the virtual world of social media. I try to send encouraging messages, prayer, and uplifting text messages when I see that others are struggling. I encourage them that with Christ, anything is possible. I unfortunately often times let the busyness of life get in my way and I find it hard to stay connected to those that I find myself in relationships with.
sometimes people will be unhappy with you, but this is part of the position you’re in
I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you how great of a leader I am, because often times, I don’t see myself that way. Sometimes I even feel like the blind leading the blind. After taking gifts tests and personality tests and the like, I found that I have the gift of discernment/perception. Which means that I have a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, and I usually have a good idea of how to fix it. With that being said, I am usually pretty uncomfortable dealing with conflict. After taking the Conflict Style Questionnaire at the end of Northouse’s Chapter 10, I learned that in a leadership position I am most likely to try to accommodate others by compromising and collaborating with my followers to come up with a solution. I have always believed in the philosophy that two heads are better than one. What this means is that I am not afraid to admit that my ideas are wrong or that others may have a better way to approach a situation. There was one example at church while I was coordinating a service where we had a discrepancy with reserved seating. The way that I handled this was first by apologizing for the inconvenience and then taking the opportunity to explain the special circumstance under which the seats were reserved and then took it upon myself to help this person find a seat that they could still feel the worship the way they had in their usual seat. As someone who likes to accommodate everyone’s needs, I also know that this is impossible and sometimes people will be unhappy with you, but this is part of the position you’re in as a leader, knowing when to give in to peoples wants as well as knowing when to say no.
people often get defensive when you tell them that what they are doing is wrong
When I took my gifts test in the beginning of this semester, I found that I scored 100% as a perceiver, and 95% as the ruler. “Perceivers have a keen sense of right and wrong and thus hold high standards. They have a unique ability to detect when “things aren’t quite right.” …Perceivers can appear too direct or inconsiderate of others’ feelings, when their intention is to help or warn people. Motivated to stand up for what is right, they have an intense disdain for injustice. Perceivers tend to live “out loud” by overtly applying their values and convictions to everyday life… Rulers have an ability to see the “big picture” and therefore look ahead for possibilities and dangers. A Ruler brings order by setting up structures, systems, and methods for others to follow. The motivation of a ruler is to guide everyone toward a common goal. Hence, Rulers are protectors.” After learning this about myself, I have come to the understanding that this is exactly how I lead. I lead by perceiving and ruling. I know this definitely doesn’t sit well with some people because I am always the first to point out when something isn’t right. Even though my heart is in the right place, people often get defensive when you tell them that what they are doing is wrong, or could be better. I’ve had to learn this the hard way as the more confident I am in my beliefs, and the more I notice flaws in the system, I have been speaking out more and more often which has resulted in my being told to essentially keep my nose out of business that it doesn’t belong in. Naturally, that isn’t something I do well, but I know when I have offended someone or when I have done something wrong, so I apologize and move forward.
My dream for my leadership career is to have Coffee Talk take off and have readers all over the world learning about the amazing man who is Jesus and how following Him changes your life for the better, always. I have actually started writing my first book as well about how when I said yes to marrying my fiancé, I basically said yes to marrying the church as well. It’s a work in progress with no estimated publishing date but I’m hoping my book will inspire women to be strong and believe in themselves and I want women to know that there is more to life and dating than the worldly ways that we have constantly shoved in our face. When Jesus has His hand in our lives, it makes everything in life easier, including things like dating, marriage, and leading. As a Christian woman, I am hoping to use my position in the church to start a small group specifically for raising up young women to spread the love of Jesus and to live according to his purpose. My model that I have set in my own life, with my book, and with teachings of God’s design for marriage I know I can make this possible. I’m currently in the process of a professional studies degree at Regent University with a concentration in Christian Ministry. This course load will help to prepare me for raising up young women to be passionate lovers and followers of Jesus Christ.
Big things are happening in the future of Coffee Talk, and I am so grateful to be sharing it with each and every one of you.
Craig, N., & Snook, S. A. (2014, May 1). From Purpose to Impact. Retrieved May 6, 2017, from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2014/05/from-purpose-to-impact
ESV Bible (The Value Thinline Edition ed.). (2001). Wheaton, IL, USA: Crossway.
Noble, P. (2015). The Most Excellent Way To Lead. (S. Rische, Ed.) Carol Stream, IL, USA: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Introduction to Leadership (Third Edition ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications, Inc. .
Rinehart, B. (2015, May 15). The Qualities of a Godly Leader. Retrieved May 6, 2017, from Crosswalk: http://www.crosswalk.com/family/career/9-essential-qualities-of-a-godly-leader.html