What Is Leadership? Part 2
TeenPact Founder Tim Echols wrote in his book, Real Citizenship, “We live in a culture that expects very little from young people. In fact, our culture presumes that teens will be disrespectful, disinterested, and irresponsible. Thus it follows that our culture generally ‘under-challenges’ youth.” TeenPact is counter-cultural in this way; we believe in the capacity of young people. We understand this principle from the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
Do you consider yourself to be a leader? Think about that. Are you a leader?
Yes, of course yes. I hope that is your answer. Why? Not because I said so, but rather because the most basic definition of a leader is someone who influences others. Leadership is influence. We all have varying degrees of influence, but each of us utilize that influence every single day through our words and actions or through the lack thereof. You are constantly influencing people. You are constantly leading people. The question is not so much whether or not you are a leader, but rather what kind of leader you are and what kind of leader you ought to be.
“Leadership is influence.”
So, where do you lead people? Perhaps you direct their focus to you, your life, your interests, your stuff– all things you. Perhaps you direct their focus toward a cause, a movement, something that drives your passions and interests. Or perhaps you lead them to Jesus, the greatest leader of all, the one who will meet every need and bring about true change in your life and theirs.
Paul writes to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” – Philippians 3:12-16
“Let those of us who are mature think this way.”
Do you think this way? What kind of people actually think this way? Here’s a hint, it’s not those that continue to act like children, focusing their lives and their leadership on themselves. Paul says, “Let those of us who are mature think this way.” Maturity requires you to give up your childish ways. Children think about themselves. They care about themselves. You have to care, not only about your own interest, but of those around you. If you want to think this way and act this way and be this way, then you must pursue maturity as you follow Christ. Paul concludes this thought in the very next verse, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” – Philippians 3:17
Leadership is not about building your name, fame, or fortune. It’s not about being the loudest and proudest. Leadership is about humble servant leadership, and it’s about influence. You are a leader whether you like it or not. Answer the call of leadership, to live a life following Christ and leading others to Him. Then you can say, like Paul, “Join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” It’s time to grow up and give up our childish ways. Step up and be the leader God has called you to be.