The Ingredients of Leaders (in Developing Nations)
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
The New Testament in Contemporary English entitled, The Message by Eugene H. Peterson tells us, “They couldn’t take their eyes off them-Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two laymen had no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus” (Page 245).
Here stood two men, uneducated and unlearned, and a group of Jewish leaders who could not take their eyes off them, and marveled. It is time for leaders in developing nations of the world, even with their limited educational background and disadvantages of poverty and adverse situations, to stand up and take their place in leadership. There is no reason for intimidation or feeling you are lesser than leaders in developed countries. Stand up and let the world take knowledge you have been with Jesus. There is a great job to be done (Great Commission) and leaders from developing nations around the world must join the labor force and work to bring in the harvest until Jesus comes for the Church.
There is much to learn from developed countries. However, you have also learned much from your experiences and your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Recently, an African-American, Wellington Boone, wrote an article in the New Man Magazine entitled “Integrity’s Original Recipe.” He reported he had recently visited Uganda, Africa. Wellington believes there is a strong desire among Africans to hear more about Jesus. People on his ministry trip walked long distances to hear the Word and still often sat in eager anticipation in the church service. They chanted, “Boga, Boga!” The interpretation is, “Serious, Serious.” It is time to get “Boga, Boga” about the King’s business and the work He wants us to do.
Many lack resources of finances, computers, buildings, etc., but we have the greatest resource possible. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is working in our lives. It is a powerful, dynamic resource and when used properly, it can enable us to turn the world around for Jesus Christ. The next greatest resource is ourselves. We have unlimited potential. We can become great men and women for God. We can do great exploits for His kingdom.
In an article entitled, “Preparing Future African Leaders”, a question was addressed to African student leaders who came from seven different countries in Africa for a conference in Zimbabwe: “What is needed today in African Leaders?” From this meeting fourteen ingredients of a good leader in developing nations were found.
These ingredients apply to Africans, but can also be used and applied by leaders around the world.
(Instructors: Please look carefully in the dictionary for understanding of each key word; and also expand each explanation using your own knowledge and experiences. The following is just a skeleton for you to add the meat. Students should also check the dictionary for clearer understanding of all key words.)
“Anybody can do their best. God helps us to do better than the best.”
1. Vision/Purpose in Life. African leaders need a broad vision that will extend beyond their countries to the rest of Africa and the world.
They must have direction from God of where they are going so they will know they have arrived once they get there.
2. Devotion to a Cause. There must be a commitment that is not dependent on expatriate support and supervision. This means there must be a commitment that does not depend on the foreigner for fulfillment with money, etc.
3. Integrity. Leaders should be honest, upright, righteous, and godly. They should not live a double life with hypocrisy present. They should be open to public scrutiny and allow their finances and personal lives to be a public example and witness.
4. Selfless. They cannot be selfish and self-centered. They should be willing to give themselves to ministry even though financial rewards in other jobs and countries may be greater.
5. Hard Work. We must do our best and work hard. We cannot be average and do enough to “just get by.”
6. African Identity. Leaders must be in touch with the people. We cannot live high above our people and be effective in ministering to them.
7. Thankful for Being Africans. Stand tall and be happy you are an African. This will provide the kind of vision or motivation that will enable Africans to rise to the challenge of the new century.
8. Good Managers of Resources. In many developing nations it is difficult to meet the basic needs of the people. Therefore, all talents and financial resources should be used wisely and have careful supervision and stewardship.
9. Humility. A leader must be humble in order to be used by the Lord. He cannot have the “big man and I am your senior mentality.” He must love people and treat them with the same respect he would like to receive. He should not act as a Dictator and the only source of authority, wisdom, and power.
10. Servant Spirit. Africa is thirsty for leaders who do not misuse and exploit power for their own selfish gain, but instead get real satisfaction out of serving the needs of the people.
11. Creativity. Leaders must be able to assess the needs of the people in ministry and develop new methods and approaches of how to minister. These developments usually mean risk and confrontation but creativity is needed to make a difference. We cannot copy what other churches and leaders are doing.
12. Steadiness. We must be steady, anchored, and consistent. Pressures and temptations will try to divert leaders from their vision from God for ministry. This needs to be counteracted with a determination to reach the goals, strategies, and policies outlined by the vision.
13. Willingness to Train Others. We must be able to trust others and delegate responsibilities to them. We must train the next generation in order for the church to go on.
14. Christ-Centered. Leaders must:
A. Have a firm grasp of the Bible.
B. Combine faith with practice.
C. Be people of prayer and fasting.
D. Retain flexibility but still uphold Bible principles.
God help us to be better leaders, in Jesus’ name!
By James G. Poitras