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A Paper Presented to Dr. Andrew B. Seidel Dallas Theological Seminary


In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course SL305OL Dynamics of Leadership


by John Stanley April 2013 Box #1529

PERSONAL LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES The Bible has many leadership examples for us to follow. For a leader aspiring to be a servant and a leader among equals, the Old Testament presents classic scenarios for us to learn. In this paper, I will be gleaning thoughts from what I learnt from the life of Moses, Nehemiah and Joseph and their leadership styles and how God developed them into worthy men of integrity and character to lead, in the first section of this paper. These thoughts were gleaned from all the class videos and from the books reviewed. In the second part of this paper, some leadership traits are laid out for my own benefit and deeper study. These are the lessons I take home from this course and use it in the wider context of ministry, developing and mentoring young Christian Internationals as leaders. The third part of the paper deals in brief some of the possible pitfall for a spiritual leader. Common Characteristics of biblical leaders Leaders know the value of solitude. Biblical leaders had a deep perspective and value for solitude and listening to God when faced with a tough decision. Take the example of all the 3 biblical leaders. They had the audacity to pull away from their followers and take a retrospective look at how to approach leadership. Moses1, when faced with a crisis, ran away to the wilderness only to meet God at the end of 40 years. God had his attention when He needed Moses to listen to him. Nehemiah, facing a dilemma of approaching the king to ask permission to carry out his mission goes into solitude and seeks prayer as a refuge on the verge of making a major decision. Personally, this has challenged me to treat solitude as one of the musthave spiritual disciplines in the way I deal with leadership issues. One of my favorite

Moses, had a tent of meeting with the Lord where he could practice solitude, as in Exodus 33:7, 11

verses in the bible for relying on the Lord by going alone to his presence is from Psalms 23:1 Leaders endure in spite of circumstances Moses had a great head start into ministry, so to say. Born into pharaohs household, he had at his disposal all the wealth and wisdom to be a leader and to be trained as one, under the ruler himself. But God had different plans. God took him through failures and defeats to squish any trace of pride and self-reliance. Life situations are specifically designed to take us to that point of self-denial on our own abilities. Joseph had to go through a horrific time of seeing his life props removed before he saw God working in his life. I can attest firmly from my own life experiences that Gods way of molding me into a leader involves me going through a series of defeats and disappointments before calling me2. Leaders learn to love and grow with criticism and possible rejection. Ask any leader if he has been ever ridiculed and rejected in life and the answer will always be in the positive. If one has a calling to be a leader, its almost taken for granted that his/her friends and neighbors might take a cheap pot shot to diminish their calling. Moses was driven away from his homeland to the wilderness when he knew that he is going to be rejected by his own household. So was Nehemiah who was ridiculed by Sanballat and Tobiah, who didnt want the wall to be built up.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because Gods love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Leaders embrace the unknown by faith. Moses did not know that the Lord had some life-changing plans charted out for him while he was passing by the burning bush. Abraham3 did not know where he was going when he was called out of his comfort zone. Managing risk and uncertainty with truth should be a hallmark of true leadership. Accepting them by faith sets them apart as Godly servant leaders. Leaders see mountains and giants as opportunities to rise and shine. Nehemiah was presented with a mountain of a need. Instead of buckling under the pressure of the same, he responded as a Godly leader should. He went to the Lord in prayer and sought Gods wisdom in the whole matter and went forward to tackle the issue with the divine strength he received by knowing that God was on his side. Leaders are servants Jesus is a great example of this form of this leadership value4. Both Nehemiah and Moses followed this principle when leading their flock. This is one value where Godly wisdom reigns supreme compared to worldly wisdom. Its not easy to be a Godly leader as it requires one to give up self and be sacrificial in leading. Being servanthearted is not easy, as ego should take a back seat in our hearts before we start to lead. Learning to wash peoples feet makes great leaders as it shows the followers that the leader really cares. Leaders recover from failures. Moses failed miserably before the eyes of men and God. Moses took his time to recover from a major setback but when he did God used him for His purposes. In fact,
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Genesis 12-21 Matthew 20:25-26

failures have a way of making the leaders depend on the sufficiency of God and keep one humble. King David became a great leader for the nation of Israel only after he waded through failures in his personal and public life. Learning from failure5 requires a lot of humility and patience, as the lessons learnt might sting for a long time as in the case of Moses. It took him years to detox himself from his leadership failure at Egypt. Characteristics of a Leadership trait: Its an honorable ambition True greatness and true leadership is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in inducing others to serve you. Its a worthwhile ambition to pursue in life, but one, which can require ones all as a passion. Leadership requires discipline A leader is a person who has learned to obey a disciple imposed from without, and has then taken on a more rigorous discipline from within. Those who scorn discipline and authority are not fit to be leaders. Many are gifted for ministry, but have large swaths of their life not yielded to the Holy Spirits control. Lazy and disorganized individuals rarely rise to true leadership. If a young man is called to leadership, he will develop a strong sense of selfdiscipline making others notice it and follow it. Leadership requires Vision: Vision not only involves foresight, but also insight. Responsible leadership not only involves looking ahead to see how policies affect future generations. Its filled with optimism and hope. Leaders take lessons from the past, but never sacrifice the future for the sake of mere continuity. As a summary of this characteristic, Oswald Sanders

I John 1:9

sums up this with A vision without a task makes a visionary, a task without a vision is drudgery and a vision with a task makes a missionary Leadership requires wisdom: It is the insight into the heart of things6. If knowledge is the mere accumulation of facts, and intelligence the development of reason, wisdom is heavenly discernment. Wisdom involves knowing God and myself. More than mere knowledge, it is the right application of knowledge in moral and spiritual matters, in handling criticisms and dilemmas and in negotiating complex relationships. Leadership requires clear decision-making skills: A visionary may see, but a true leader decides when its due. When all the relevant facts have come in, swift and clear decision is the mark of a true leader. A spiritual leader will not wait and sit around to take a firm decision when faced with a fork on the road, not procrastinate making it. Leadership requires courage: Leaders need courage of the highest order. Not just physical but also mental courage as well. Courage is when people face difficulty without any fear or discouragement. Scripture is filled with Godly leaders who had to face adverse situations and discouraging scenarios. But through them all, they stood the test of faith with courage and stood tall. Leadership requires humility: There is nothing more dangerous for a leader to possess, than pride. Even among worldly leaders, its commonly accepted that Pride takes one nowhere, but an impending fall. For a spiritual leader, humility should be salted with grace and wisdom

Colossians 1:9

and used effectively when dealing with any situation. Moses was known to be a meek man and God could use him in any situation before he was humble in his persona7. Leadership requires patience Sometimes keeping ones mouth shut is the best thing a leader can do. An angry leader is an oxymoron. Emotions have to be reined in for an effective leadership to be nurtured. The Bible teaches us to be slow to anger for a reason. Angry emotions clouds discernment and it breeds hostility from within the team. Towards that, I believe that every leader has to recognize the sin nature in his/her own life and call it out before it consumes them. The Practical disciplines of a leader in the making: Prayer: A spiritual leader should outpace everyone else in the realm of prayer. True prayer requires a lot from the pray-er. It demands discipline and commitment. Before a leader tried to move people en masse, he should learn to move God through prayer and asking according to His will. It does not come easy. Certainly it was not easy even for Jesus as he had drops of blood streaming down his face when he prayed. If it required discipline for Jesus to pray, how much more for the rest of us who aspire to be leaders? Prevailing prayer that moves people is the outcome of a correct relationship with God. Time management: The way a leader makes use of his time, separates him from other ordinary men and women who can only dream of being accomplished leaders. Each moment is a gift from the Lord that deserves care and diligence on how we handle it8. A true leader

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Numbers 12:3 Ephesians 5:16

can seldom say to a priority- I dont have time. A leader should carefully weigh his priorities and responsibilities. Every day needs utmost care on how its planned. I personally believe in the statement If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. To achieve that, a leader should learn effectively to deal with procrastination. If it has to be done now, it has to be taken care of before it consumes me, mentally and emotionally to a point of breakdown. Jesus had a very short window of ministry. But in those three and a half years, he relied on the father to show him how to handle his time well and to make best use of it. Making decisions requires moral energy as well emotional energy. The longer its put off, the tougher it gets to be done. Reading: Francis Bacon quipped Reading maketh a full man: Speaking, a ready man, writing, an exact man. A spiritual leader should make it a priority to fill his mind with the word of God primarily and strive to obey it with all his being. Reading widens the horizons of thinking and to cultivate a speaking/preaching style through the books he reads. By having that fellowship with great minds and engage them while reading. A leader should not be afraid of new ideas and not carried away by new whims and fanciful dreams either. Reading steadies the mind as well seeps in slowly wisdom from ages past, like the great classics. So a spiritual leader should select books for growth and for intellectual benefit, to be current in time and well informed when asked for a defense. Art of Delegating A degree to which a leader can delegate work is a measure of his success. There are only so many things a leader can accomplish in a given amount of time. Failing to delegate can mean that a leader might immerse him in a deep pit of minor details, which can slow down the leadership juggernaut. A true leader knows his weakness and his shortcomings in his skillset.

Tests for a leader: Failure How a leader handles failure will set him apart in terms of the respect he gets. No one is perfect and no leader is above anyone. So admitting failure, if it happens adds so much credibility to a leader than anything else. Jealousy Knowing where a leader stands within the identity and the personality he/she is born with, is an important antidote to jealousy. Ultimately God will defend his leaders as he has chosen them and kept them in that role. Leaders do not need to worry about fighting for their rights or their position as their security lies in the Lord. Popularity A leader in no time can create a cult following. Followers can get awe-struck at a leaders virtues and make him believe that he is more than a mere human. This is one area a spiritual leader needs to be very careful. Indispensability At times, tied with popularity, comes the notion that a leader is indispensable. This can feed into a persons ego and cause pride9 which can lead to a slow fall. Leaders can get less objective about their work as they get older. Conclusion This paper outlines most of the ideals I love to carry beyond the course to help me with the ministry vision God has placed in my heart. I understand and humbly accept that God has called me to be a leader and be intentional to apply scriptural values to my

Proverbs 8:13


leadership style. All the above characteristics mentioned are lessons, which deeply resonate within me as I prepare myself as a lifelong student in the art of leadership.