The idea of being a leader in church can be daunting. We may think of ourselves as leaders in other areas of our lives, but when it comes to church settings, we can find all sorts of reasons to avoid stepping up. I’m not sure I’m that committed to this church. I’m not spiritual enough. I don’t have time.
It’s easy to come, to sit, to be entertained without really having to invest in serving the church community. But Jesus isn’t here for our amusement. He didn’t die so we could experience a cool Sunday morning show.
In many ways, the call to follow Christ is a call to leadership.
Faith isn’t a spectator sport. The influential Christians we remember throughout history were the men and women who would not wait on the sideline when there was work to be done. They realized that Jesus didn’t just save us from something. He saved us for something. He has a mission, and His church and His people are part of it.
Being a leader isn’t just about standing on stage and preaching a sermon to a room filled with people. You don’t have to lead worship or even stand in a spotlight. You don’t have to go to seminary or train to know all the right answers. All you have to do is follow Jesus.
The disciples weren’t gifted leaders. In fact, they were dropouts. By the world’s standards, they didn’t have what it took. Yet God used them, 12 non-spectacular people, to change the world. Why? Jesus could have called the elite, the skilled, the highly desirable. He didn’t. Following Jesus is not for some elite few. Leaders in His Kingdom don’t have to be the most talented or special people in this world. They just have to know and follow Him.
Jesus turned ordinary men into world-changers. If Jesus could use them, we can’t rightly say He can’t use us.
We all have people in our lives who follow our example—our kids, our friends, our co-workers. We all have areas of influence, which means we all have opportunities to lead people to Jesus and to lead people to grow in their relationship with Him.
It’s time we, as Christ’s followers stepped up. It’s time we stepped out on faith and started living out what we claim to believe. It’s time we served the people around us. It’s time we loved the people who hate us. It’s time we started leading.
Leadership is not easy. It’s especially difficult when we lack confidence. But our confidence, our faith, our hope, our life isn’t in us. It’s in who Jesus is and what He has done. We can lead with confidence in Him even if we lack that confidence in ourselves. Here are some helpful ways to develop your leadership:
Think About Other People
Don’t just do this because it’s the second greatest commandment in the law. It will make you a better leader. Too often, we walk through life thinking only of ourselves and maybe our close bubble of friends and family.
But great leaders think about people outside of just their circle. That guy that cut you off in traffic, the co-worker who doesn’t pull their weight on a group project, the annoying neighbor who really needs a hobby—try to put yourself in their shoes. Why do they do what they do? The more we think of others, the more considerate of them we naturally become.
There is nothing more powerful than praying for people who frustrate you. Turn that road rage into fuel that lights the fire of grace in your heart. Pray for lost people, for frustrating people, for the people who bother you the most. It’s amazing what prayer can do in our hearts and in the hearts of those we pray for.
If you feel God pulling on your heart, see a need or just see an opportunity to help someone, do it. Don’t make excuses.
Leaders take action. They see a need and they find a way to meet that need. They can’t stand by doing nothing. Sometimes, it can be better to approach the spiritual leaders over you before doing something to make sure it works with what the church as a whole is doing. In those cases, take initiative to approach them. Bring them your plan, your idea, and offer your help along the way—or just bring yourself and ask how you can get help.
Jesus said the greatest among us will be the one who serves. Leadership in the kingdom of God is not gaining power and authority for ourselves. It’s about serving. Find a place to serve. Find a way to serve. There is nothing that grows a leader in the kingdom faster than serving.
Whatever you do, invite others to be a part of it—whether it’s leading a group through a Bible discussion or inviting others to serve alongside you at the church, an outreach event, or in some other way that brings glory to God in sharing the Gospel with others. Throughout the Bible, we see Jesus constantly inviting others to be a part of what He was doing. You may get turned down a lot, but never stop inviting.
Live on Mission
The best leaders are not the ones who stand on a pedestal and bark out instructions. The best leaders set examples. They don’t even really think about it as leadership. They just live with a passion for Jesus and a drive to fulfill His calling on their lives. In the process of their faithfulness, they set an example for others to follow.
There are many places to lead. The opportunities are endless. The harvest is plentiful. The workers are few. The kingdom of God has a shortage of workers, not a shortage of opportunities. It’s time for the church of God’s people to step up and lead. It’s time for us to show the world the grace and love of God through our lives. It’s time to make this earth look a little more like heaven. To do that, we need leaders. We need you.
Tyler Edwards is a pastor, author, and husband. He currently works as the Discipleship Pastor of Carolina Forest Community Church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is passionate about introducing people to and helping them grow in the Gospel. He is the author of Zombie Church: breathing life back into the body of Christ. You can find more of his work on Facebook or you can follow him on Twitter @tedwardsccc.