Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Leader with a Purpose: Biblical Leadership

Hi, hope you are enjoying my post on the Biblical perspective of leadership? In my last post I began with integrity as a trait of a good leader with emphasis on Samuel’s speech to his people.
(1Samuel 12:1-8)
Today, I would like to share with you other common traits of great leaders, culled from the book, The Bible on Leadership. It is often said that, show me a leader without a goal and I would show you a man with a boat and nowhere to go.One outstanding trait of great leaders is purpose. A leader with a purpose does not only accomplish much but sets the fire in others to carry on. Purposeful leaders are not self centered, people are his priority, their needs are his needs, and he sells his hopes and aspirations with his followers and goes the extra mile to put smiles on their faces. Unfortunately in our society today, we just have positional leadership who obviously lack clear sense of where they are heading the flocks to. When a leader is dedicated to a purpose, and when the entire ‘troops’ see that dedication is unwavering and ‘‘for real,’ great things happen.
I remember, some years ago, my local church was struggling to complete its building, past Church leaders failed to accomplish this task until we had a great leader whose single purpose was to finish the completion of the church building before the end of his administration as a resident minister. He was so committed to the project that in six months, the job was done. How come? The members identified with the vision of the leader and when they did, great things happened.
King David, faced with the daunting task of the construction of a temple, handed it over to his son Solomon, who admittedly lacked experience in the construction business. But David had also given himself wholeheartedly to this project: ‘‘With all my resources have I provided for the temple . . . gold for the gold work, silver for the silver . . . bronze . . . iron . . . onyx . . . stones of various colors. Besides I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple . . . Now who is going to consecrate himself today to the Lord?’’ (1 Chron. 29:2–5)
What David really meant was, ‘‘Who is going to buy into my vision and join hands with me” Like King David, every leader should have a  purpose road map so that in their absence competent successors can carry on with all uncompleted projects. Is it the same in our churches and even our nation? One Government fails to complete a project and the successor doesn’t see it as their priority, they begin chatting their own course. Church leaders and administrators come into office with their own agenda and vision, leaving the formers works untouched till they are true with their plans. Should this be the situation?
Great leaders with great purposes always face obstacles and opposition. Consider Nehemiah rebuilding process when he heard Jerusalem was in ruin. The colonial officials in Jerusalem ridiculed and opposed Nehemiah’s efforts to rebuild the wall. Tobiah the Ammonite chortled, ‘‘what they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.’’ And Sanballat the Horonite chimed in, ‘‘what are those feeble Jews doing? . . . Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble— burned as they are?’’
(Neh. 4:2–3). One key indicator of a purposeful leader is the challenge and opposition you would face in trying to implement something of significance.
This just goes to show you that if your purpose is good and worthwhile, you will probably have some vocal opponents.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Biblical Perspective of Leadership

Last month I got the opportunity of facilitating a leadership discussion on my church facebook group. Because the discussion was for church folks, I decided to focus it on the biblical perspective of what leadership entails. The Bible is filled with great leadership examples which when carefully read would do a lot of good to humanity. To facilitate my discussion, I dug into my eBook archives on my laptop and came across one of my leadership books the perfectly provide the solutions we are all looking for, it is call the Bible on Leadership by Lorin Wolfe. After reading its content all over, I started the discussion with my group and it was eye opening. Today, I share with you some of the wisdom I glean from the book. Let’s start with Integrity in Leadership.
Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord . . . Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right.
‘‘You have not cheated or oppressed us,’’ they replied. ‘‘You have not
taken anything from anyone’s hand.’’ (1 Sam. 12:1–4)
Now, how many of today’s business, church or political leaders can stand before their followers and make such a profound statement? Lately, managers and leaders across the world have often left us wanting in this key area. For instance it is reported that Richard Nixon hired people to break into the headquarters of the opposing political party, then lied and claimed he had nothing to do with it. Bill Clinton, former US President had an affair with a White House intern a few years older than his daughter, then promptly denied that he had never participated in any sexual activity with her.
Integrity and honesty was key in biblical days from Moses to Matthew and would still remain one of the outstanding traits of a good leader. Who then is an honest and integral leader?
An honest and integral leader would not say one thing and do the other, their words and actions are all mixed up. He would not tell the Congregation to go on a 21 day fast when he knows he would barely complete the first seven day. He would not tell his followers to come for a meeting at 6:00 p.m only to find out he did not make it and late pile up a whole file of excuses to justify his lack of integrity. It doesn’t matter how noble or worthwhile your cause; if you haven’t earned people’s trust by constantly keeping your word and being true to your values, people won’t follow you too far. They may follow you to a point, but when the going gets tough, they’ll start to hang back or look around for another leader ,no one is going to line up to follow you through a deep mud puddle, let alone the Red Sea. The principle of integrity as a leader runs throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Consider the farewell speech of the disciple Paul to his followers:
I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions . . . They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see
his face again. (Acts 20:32–37)
What Next?
Think about this:
If you left your organization today, would your followers grieve so openly about losing
you, and if they did, would any of their grief relate to losing a leader of integrity?
But is integrity really attainable at the highest levels in modern business?
Can’t it be an impediment to material success? HAVE YOUR SAY