The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, had this to say about leaders: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” That’s a powerful definition! At GT Church we’ve struggled at times with how to raise up these kinds of leaders. We want to build a strong leadership culture, and we have worked towards that goal by developing a discussion model of training we call Lead U.
We invite current and potential leaders, both staff and volunteer, to go through this training so that we share a unified vision of what a leader does. When they’ve completed the training, our leaders should walk away understanding and applying five core practices/values of leadership which were taken and adapted from The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.
You’ve heard the phrase “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” and it’s true. Sometimes an image can speak volumes. We have chosen to tie each core practice to an image in order to create a picture of leadership:
Model the Way
David was chosen by God to lead the Israelites, and Psalm 78:72 says that, “He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” Lead with character and competency. Set the example. Model the steps and actions you want people to take. Things need to get done, but if you’re lacking character, then you’re missing the most vital piece of the puzzle.
Inspire a Shared Vision
Moses was a leader with a clear vision from the Lord, and he needed to get the Israelites on board. Leaders should be like a pair of glasses, helping others to have a clear vision of where they are going. Leaders should not only cast vision, but inspire those who are following them and move them toward action.
Challenge the Process
In Daniel 1:8 we see Daniel challenge the process when he requests permission not to eat unacceptable foods given to him by the king. Be willing to ask and be asked questions, even when it causes friction. Just like friction helps gears to turn and create forward motion, challenging the process can help to bring about positive change in your ministry.
Enable Others to Act
In Judges 4:14, Deborah enables Barak to act when she tells him, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” Make it practical and possible for someone else to do something. The ripple effect that could create will go far beyond what you could do alone.
Encourage the Heart
1 Samuel 6:7 tells us, “people judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Leaders need to recognize the work of individuals and create a spirit of community within their teams. Don’t forget to encourage your own heart as well – it’s hard to encourage others when your tank is empty!
I love having the opportunity to provide leadership coaching not only to leaders at GT, but to other churches as well. For more information, please visit www.bryankoch.net. We lead Better Together!