Kingdom Principle: Leadership requires being & doing. Management is controlled doing.
Attitude may be everything…. yet attitude is shaped by something much deeper within you.
It is one thing to know what to do, and quite another to do that very thing. I know it is my responsibility as a parent to provide for the needs of my children and to guide them in the way they are to go… but doing that can be quite a daunting task. I might even go so far to say – it is not fair (Phar-U-see) for the more you give yourself to parenting, the harder the task becomes much like crawling deeper in a hole. The leaders of the church hold the same responsibility to provide for its followers as parents do for their children – leadership. There is no church, who wants to hear from its leadership – “Do as I say, not as I do”, in fact that message is liable to get the leader fired. (Insert the plethora of examples here) Parents who use this style of directing for their children are not giving their children what they need most; leadership and values. They (both the church leaders & parents who declare – “Do as I do, not as I say”) are merely managers of circumstances, rather than leaders of children. (1 John 2:1, 12, 18, 28, 3:1-2, 4:4-6, 5:21) I will address below – that we are all called to be leaders, but it is not just about saying certain words or not saying them at all –The point is, “Do you know and uphold your values and are you living them out?” When you are not aware of your values, there is little chance that your “being” and “doing” will align and therefore, your message will be “do what I say, and not what I do….”
When parents communicate “do as I say, not as I do” (verbally or non-verbally) they are confessing that they are not leaders for their children, rather they are managers of the house. Leaders shape and influence others, while managers control and direct actions. While on the surface this may seem acceptable or a best option for a parent, the reality is that parents have been entrusted with the shaping of the child and to lead them through the changes of life. This is the very context that Jesus found himself with the leaders of the church in his day. The leaders of the church in Jesus day – the Pharisees, had become managers of the church, not leaders of the people and Jesus is saying – you can do as they say, but not as they do…. (Matt 23:3)
The Pharisees and scribes in Jesus time managed their way into leadership. The result was a need to control others and demonstrate superiority based on that control. But control is the enemy of change and leadership is about leading people through change. The Pharisees prided themselves on being the managers of actions and time (see last week), and in the same breath proclaiming to follow the ways of Moses. However, Moses did not manage or control, in fact Moses released control (which he had to learn– Ex. 18 see verse 24) and led the people to change the very way of life they had come to trust. (Num.14:26-35) The one time Moses did take control, he learned the hard way, and he would not enter the Promised Land. (Num. 20:11-12)
Paul further exemplifies, to the Thessalonians, that leadership is balance of both our actions (doing) and in our attitude (being). Last week he described his attitude as being that of a loving mother, this week we see his actions as an encouraging father. Your attitude directs your actions, but what is behind your attitude? Attitude is based on your “way of thinking/seeing the world around you” and it is not changed outside of an act of leadership. Meaning – someone can change your actions if they have the “power” to do so – but if you remove the power – then you will go back to your old way of doing things… (Hence why may children reject their parent’s demands & direction as teens) True leadership leads to conversion, but most leadership remains a conversation. Paul’s conversion is detailed for us (Act 9, Gal. 1:11-24) … This was not simply an attitude adjustment – it was deeper than that – his very understanding and thinking about life, purpose, the world and God – changed – this change is expressed Biblically through repentance. Behind the action, and deeper than an attitude is way of thinking that is called a Philosophy. And when our philosophy changes it is called a Paradigm shift. This is the greatest act of leadership which often goes unnoticed, and it is this act that determines our being. Paul demonstrated the depth of his philosophy as he proclaims his “being” and the leaders with him as holy, righteous and blameless (1 Thess. 2:10)–not based on the credentials of the Pharisees, (Phil 3:1-11) rather based on the work of Christ. Many Christians hold or at least believe in the attitude – “Christ died for me” & “I live for Christ (Phil 1:21,Gal 2:20) – but they do not hold this as a conviction or paradigm so then their “doing” falls short because their “being” is not clear. (This is the premise behind WITH.) When we do not seeing ourselves through the eyes of the Father looking upon Jesus and us being with God, then we do not live as if we are “Forgiven and Set Free” (Gal 5:1,13-25) It is this which prevents those same leaders from leading – therefore they resort to management.
Leadership is an art of bringing about change in a way which others will conform to a new way of thinking and behaving. Good Leaders lead others to an edge, and Great leaders ensure they never fall to their death. Again, a leader who is not bringing about change is a manager. There is nothing wrong with managing, but leadership is different than managing. Managers do things right, while Leaders do the right things… Managers control things, Leaders change people.
Kingdom Leadership (often referred to in this blog as servantleadership) is rooted in the heart. For out of the heart the mouth speaks and fruit is produced. (Matt 3:8, 12:34, 15:18) Therefore leadership begins not with what we do, but what we hold most dear in our hearts. And yet – leadership is not simply a matter of the heart – it must be matched with visible expression of action. (James 2:14-26)
Leaders learn to find balance in their being and their doing. This is identified by:
One self-imposed restriction of leadership, is the leaders own comfort level with change. I am an advocate that people, especially parents, become leaders more quickly by expecting change (a philosophy) rather than working against change or being surprised by it. While some may declare, “I’m not a leader” I believe that all Christians are called to be leaders and that parenting is the highest calling of Christian leadership. (again my philosophy) To lead and to be comfortable with change, a leader must have their own personal compass that does not change. This compass is their calling. Calling happens in a moment, and is refined and clarified throughout the commission of the leader’s life. Joshua’s commissioning is found in the annuals of Moses life. (much like children find their becoming in the context of their parents life.) (Ex. 17:8-16, 24:13, 33:11) And God called Joshua and confirmed his values in Joshua 1:1-18.
Do you believe you are called to leadership? – this is one of the biggest indicators that you will or will not ever become a leader. (again – it is rooted in your philosophy.) It is God who calls – have you heard him? (1 Thess. 2:13)
What are your values and how do they motivate you? – if you don’t know this you will find yourself looking back more often than looking forward when it comes to understanding the change that takes place in your life. Discover your values @ viacharacter.org
If you long to bring change in another’s life – especially children, be the change in the world you long to see most in their lives. (Gandhi – got this right) Talk is cheap, control is illusion, and change is going to happen so invite it and lead through it by demonstrating peace amongst chaos and joy amidst trial rather than reacting to it.