Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is anyone following?

It is said that to be a leader, you must have followers. But even more than having followers, you need to have influence in the lives of others. Without influence there is no change, and without change there is no forward movement. But with this said, anyone can be a leader, because we all have the opportunity to influence others; we all have people in our lives whom we influence. For parents it could be their children, for bosses it is their employees, for children it could be their friends.
Being a leader can't be enough though. The question then becomes, 'where are you leading?' Is the direction you are going worth following? Hitler was a powerful leader, with many followers, but he was leading people down a terrible road. Being a leader isn't enough. We need to have the right vision, so that we can lead people in a worthwhile direction.
I believe the greatest leader ever was Jesus. He was a great leader first and foremost because He was leading people to a place where they could know and follow the will of God. He was a great leader because He loved people deeply, caring for their deepest needs. He was a great leader because He invested Himself fully into the lives of His followers. He was a great leader because He had great wisdom and compassion. He was a great leader because He in essence gave us a passport, a ticket to heaven through His death and resurrection.
So how can you and I be great leaders? We need to care deeply for those we are seeking to lead. We need to be humble in our leadership, helping others to understand we are learners as well. We need to have a vision of God's will so that others will know they are on a purposeful journey. We need to be compassionate and forgiving for our own mistakes and others'. We need to help others see that the destination is worth the effort that is to be given.
Leadership is not about power, it is about lovingly influencing others for the sake of Christ and for the life God has for us to live. As you seek to live, I encourage you to implement the characteristics of Jesus' leadership, and see what a wonderful difference it will make. What do you think?