To be a leader we must first be led. This is a principle that can’t be avoided and if we resist it, we’re limiting our potential growth. No one knows it all and everyone needs someone to help them grow. This is reality and when it comes to being a Christian leader, it’s even more important.
Being a Christian leader is to be a servant leader and a part of this is willingly being led by someone else. Before people trust our leadership, we must trust someone else’s leadership. Before someone follows the vision God has given us, we must follow the vision God has given someone else. Before someone follows us, we must follow someone else.
This is how this principle works and the better we are at being led, the better we’ll be as a leader.
This is exactly what Paul said to the church at Corinth,
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”I Corinthians 11:1
Notice his direct instruction and yet they struggled with this then. We also struggle with this now.
I’m surprised at how many people grab for leadership but resist leadership in their lives. This attempted shortcut produces short-term leaders.
But there’s a better way.
Be led to be a leader.
When we receive leadership we were putting ourselves in a place to grow, be challenged, and expanded. One of the main ways any leader grows through personal barriers is by getting with leaders who have already broken through those barriers.
This requires humility and the courage to press through insecurities. When we do this, we’re opening our hearts to walk through new opportunities and discover what we can be.
The centurion commander understood this and Jesus called it great faith. When his servant was sick at home, he asked Jesus to heal him. Then he said if Jesus only spoke a word, he would be healed, and here’s why he knew this.
“For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”Matthew 8:9
He knew to have authority, you must under authority. To have influence, you must be influenced. To be a leader you must first be led.
This understanding released the healing touch of Jesus and his servant was healed.
For us today as leaders, we have to receive this to grow. We must humble ourselves and be led. We must be real so we can break through ourselves and the things that hold us back.
We must be led to be a leader.
So, here are two things we can do to be led.
1st – Listen first and talk second.
If we’re listening, we can learn something new every day and when we’re around leaders ahead of us, we need to listen.
Listening impresses them more than incessant talking and trying to prove who we are. Listening shows confidence and smarts. It opens the doors of favor to not only hear what leaders are saying, but also opens the door to ongoing relationships.
If leaders are being listened to, they will share more. When they are respected and valued, they will give value to the relationship. This is the way it works and the sooner we can get over ourselves, we can grow past ourselves.
Are you listening today? Or are you talking too much?
The value we bring is not what we have done, but rather it’s who we are. Listening allows who we are to come through. Talking too much promotes what we have done and closes doors.
2nd – Ask questions.
Asking questions is a strength. Asking questions pulls out the treasure in a leader ahead of us. Asking questions is smart and it’s how we learn.
There have been times I was tempted to feel inferior because I didn’t know what others knew. This wanted me to shut down and not ask questions. But that’s pride and foolish since we all learn from someone and we all start out not knowing.
When we ask great questions, we get great answers and we’re expanded. When we let pride shut down us from reaching out, we shrink and get stuck.
I want to be a person who asks great questions. I want to be humble and admit I don’t know and I want to learn. How about you?
We can either spend our time proving ourselves as a leader. Or we can invest our time asking questions and become a growing leaders.
What do you want to be?
To move to the full potential God has for us, we must be led. Furthermore, we must choose to listen, and then ask questions. It’s not our job to promote ourselves, but rather it’s our job to open our hearts with humility and learn new things. God is our promoter, and we are his vessel. The more we are led the more God can come through us and promote his work in our lives. The more we are under authority, the more authority we will have.
This is the way it works so what will you do?
Will you let others lead you? Or will you shrink in a silo hoarding what you have and know?
This is our time, and this is our moment to be led to be a leader. God has great things for you to discover; therefore, we must let someone else help us break through ourselves and see all that God can do.
I believe in you and God is with you!