I spoke with a young leader today who is going through an especially challenging time right now. Seems to me as though most leaders are under the gun these days. I thought this may be a good time to try to encourage my fellow leaders. Think about these four things:
Passion is a non-negotiable.
Many followers, especially lethargic ones, don’t understand passion. They mistake our drive and intensity for pushiness. While I know leaders can sometimes be overbearing, passion is an inner fire that burns for the accomplishment of a goal. We want to complete the mission, and nothing can satisfy us until that happens. The fact that the vision is out in front of us keeps real leaders passionate.
Know that some people won’t like that and may even criticize you for it. Our passion makes them uncomfortable. But if we lose our passion, we will fail. So, leaders, don’t let anyone condemn your passion. It’s a gift from God—let it burn bright.
Naysayers are everywhere.
When you are out in front leading, people will line up to tell you everything you are doing wrong. The world is full of critics. But most of those people won’t lift a finger to actually help you accomplish the mission. Don’t be discouraged. They did the same thing to all the great leaders of the Bible. Think about Moses. His followers hated him.
According to Toby Morgan, “Sometimes God asks leaders to lead in a way that makes the whole congregation grumble. See Moses.” They literally wanted to kill him (so watch your back!). And all he had done was to obey God and try to lead them to the Promised Land. Learn how to allow your critics to say and do whatever they want, but you stay focused on the vision. Don’t let them distract you.
Leaders are change agents.
Every great leader in the Bible brought transformation. We will need to do the same.
Now, we know that some people hate change. They want to stay in their little comfort zones (although they are actually very uncomfortable). But it is our responsibility to lead people to change. It doesn’t matter if your followers like you; God did not call you to get people to like you. So, go ahead and find out what God wants you to change and gently begin the process.
God called you to lead, people didn’t.
You can never please everyone. But you can please God. To be perfectly blunt, the people who love you will love you, and people who hate you will hate you. You have to be okay with that. But we will stand before God to give an account of our obedience to Him. He called you to be a leader. He is with you every step of the way. Be concerned about what He thinks and not so concerned about what people think.
It has always been tough to be a leader. But I believe the cost is going up exponentially. I admire anyone who has the backbone to step up and lead in this culture. The weight is going to get heavy—but you’re going to make it. Be strong. Do the right thing. Be radically obedient to God’s call. You may get kicked around now but later on, you’ll hear “well done” (from God).
Leaders, I’m praying for you today! Be encouraged!