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August 16, 2012

Christ Within, Leads Without

by LDI Global Missions

As a Christian leader, are your leadership abilities limited to a Christian context or do they extend into non-Christian environments as well? Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-14, “You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (New King James Version). Clearly, Christ intends for our leadership capabilities to extend into non-Christian environments. We are first Christians, committed followers of Christ (Malphurs, 2003, p. 15). This defines who we are, what we say and what we do. “Our mandate is to lead Christianly regardless of the context” (Malphurs, 2003, p. 13). This makes character or integrity the central focus and directly influences our motives.

Leadership is both a science and an art. There are books we can read and courses we can take to learn leadership techniques (science). Then the art of leadership is learned when those techniques are applied to different situations by putting our own personality and unique insight into it. Yet, Christian or spiritual leadership requires more. The science and art are necessary aspects but without the “spiritual” aspect of leadership we are confined to human ingenuity. Since Christian leaders serve through the power of the Holy Spirit, there should be a constant awareness or sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit wants us to be, say, and do at any given moment. This should extend into the non-Christian environment and set us apart; two examples can be seen in the lives of Daniel (Daniel 1:1-21; 2:47-48) and Joseph (Genesis 41:38-43). Since, “biblical leadership is taking the initiative to influence people to grow in holiness and to passionately promote the extension of God’s kingdom in the world” (Howell, Jr., 2003, p. 3) it will periodically raise conflicts of interest.

Tema is the port city for Accra, Ghana.  Hundreds, even thousands of goods are processed each day as containers come and go. Willy had lost his job with one of the shipping companies. He was sad but held onto his faith and in God’s time another job presented itself in the port. His character and diligence was observed and soon he found himself in a supervisory role, working hard and learning all he could.  After some time, he was called into the office where the president and vice-present offered him the position of inventory/clearance manager with increased salary and benefits. Their only request was when the next container came he was to overlook two large crates and record that eighteen crates arrived instead of twenty. Willy wanted the promotion and told them he would like the new position but could not accept it as his conscious would not allow him to overlook the two crates. It turned out that this was a test, of which three others had failed, and he had passed. The president and vice-president were Christians and knew the necessity of having a godly inventory/clearance manager.

Christian leaders are not perfect but we are committed to doing our best to discern what the “Spirit” wants us to be, say, or do at any given moment. Although the above story could have easily had different endings, this one concluded in favor of the Christian leader. H. Blackaby and Blackaby (2001) remind us that “one’s calling as a Christian not only takes precedence over his or her career; it actually gives direction to that career” (p. 14). That is the essence of Christian leadership; it takes its cue from God and His Word, not man and his vices (Mathew 6:33). “Christian leaders who know God and who know how to lead in a Christian manner will be phenomenally more effective  in their world than even the most skilled and qualified leaders who lead without God” (H. Blackaby & Blackaby, 2001, p. 14).

Remember, you are salt. You are light and yes, people are watching. Let them see that the Christ who lives within leads without. You are a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. Lead with anointing. Lead with conviction. Lead with integrity.

by Nick Sisco

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