Effective Leaders are Called
Today, CrossChurchSchool.com welcomes guest writer, Katie Yarbrough. She is a Resident Minister in the Cross Church School of Ministry serving in the Children’s Ministry, Pinnacle Hills Campus. She is from Shawnee, Oklahoma and graduated from Seminole State College.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to witness true examples of effective leadership. In watching and learning from these leaders, I believe effective leaders live their lives in accordance to the calling God has given them. Gordon MacDonald says it best, “Called people understand stewardship, called people know exactly who they are, called people possess an unwavering sense of purpose, and called people practice unswerving commitment.” (MacDonald, 1939). I want to take a moment and break each of these points down and look at them in relation to leadership.
First, let’s look at stewardship. Living as a servant to others means we are not living for ourselves and we are serving the people around us. Great leaders don’t expect to be in the spotlight or look to be recognized for their hard work. Effective leaders expect to be in the shadows or behind the scenes working and serving others while lifting their team into the spotlight. A great example of this is MacDonald’s reference to a Best Man in a wedding party. “The best man has fulfilled his purpose most admirably when he draws no attention to himself but focuses all attention on the bride and groom.” (MacDonald, 1939). This is a beautiful illustration of how we are to be as leaders. When we serve others and expect nothing in return, God receives the glory and our team is encouraged to continue following our leadership.
Second, leaders who know who they are, will not cause confusion and chaos with their team by living double lives or pretending to be someone they are not. I’ve seen so many leaders in the corporate world get on stage at conventions and conferences to speak, and their teams didn’t believe what they were saying because they saw someone completely different in the office. An effective leader has a team that believes in them and their goals and wants to be a part of their mission. Otherwise, they begin working against each other instead of with each other. There is so much power in two or more people working together towards one goal and mission. This cannot happen without the leader knowing who they are and what they stand for. “Forgetting who they are not, they begin to make dangerous assumptions about who they are.” (MacDonald, 1939).
Third, leaders who live with a sense of purpose know and understand their roles and responsibilities. If we don’t know our destination, how can we lead other people there? As leaders, we need to know where we are going and how to get other people to come alongside us. People will believe in us and look to us as leaders when they believe we know where we are going. As leaders, we are leading people somewhere, we will either lead them down a successful road or a road to destruction. It’s our responsibility to know our purpose and where we are headed. It’s okay if God leads us somewhere else along the way, because then we’ve built a trusting relationship and we can effectively communicate and likely gain their support.
Finally, effective leaders are committed and willing to release their responsibilities at the right time. “A called person- because he is a steward, because he knows who he is, because he is purposeful- anticipates the day when it is time to step back and let go.” (MacDonald, 1939). If we anticipate letting go of our leadership roles, then we will be intentional about who those responsibilities are passed down to. Leaders who put more of themselves in what they are doing are more likely to hold onto their role and they are not willing to give it up when the time comes. These people end up staying in their leadership role and potentially end up getting burnt out on their calling. This will pour over into everyone around them as well and create a negative environment.
It is the responsibility of someone (like me) who wants to lead others in an effective way to begin working on themselves and looking at the calling God has given them. Each of the areas mentioned above are vitally important in becoming an effective leader.
MacDonald, G. (1939). Ordering your private world. Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, pp.49-56.