I love the story of the pastor who lived alone so he got a parrot because he thought it would be fun to have someone to talk to. He hadn’t had the bird for long when he realized that all it would do was curse all the time. (His friends wondered where the bird learned all these words). A sweet, elderly widow in his church heard about his problem and said she had a parrot as well. Her parrot, however, just sat around on her perch all day and prayed. She offered this solution: Let’s put our two parrots together and perhaps mine will have a positive influence on yours!” The pastor thought, “Why not?” so they put the widow’s parrot in the cage with his. The pastor’s parrot move close to the female parrot and said, “Hey baby, what do you say we make beautiful music together?” The little praying parrot looked up and said, “Praise God my prayers have been answered!” Influence works both ways doesn’t it? YOU are an influencer. What kind of influence are you bringing to those around you? There is perhaps no greater need in our world today than the need for leadership. Think about it: All great countries, great schools, great communities, businesses, governments, and families have great leaders. Leadership matters. Some see leadership as simply a position in an organization and as long you have the title of “leader” then you can power-up on others and order them around based on the authority and assumed power that you have because of your position. Others define leadership in terms of the ability to manage the chaos of a rapidly changing world. Peter Drucker, the great business guru, once made this distinction: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Leadership may be all of these things but ultimately leadership is how you interact with yourself, God, your family, co-workers, partners in ministry, and the world around you. In order to understand the vital nature of leadership, it is important that we define the term.
Leadership redefined: A leader is a person involved in a process of influencing and developing others in order to accomplish God’s purpose, in God’s way, and in God’s power.
Simply put… Leadership = Influence. If you’re a parent your success as a parent is determined by your ability to influence your children in a positive way. If you’re a teacher your success depends on your ability to influence your pupils. If you’re a coach, a manager at work, if you’re a friend, a colleague, if you connect with people in any way you are an influencer. Of course the greatest influencer and leader of all time is Jesus Christ. One definition of leadership says, “It is the ability of a leader to affect human behavior so as to accomplish a mission.” Well, if that’s it then Jesus is clearly the greatest leader of all time. I remember at the turn of the new millennium, TIME magazine ran a cover article that was not the “Person of the Year” or the decade, or even the century, but the person of the millennium. Guess who it was? Jesus. I remember thinking, yea and the millennium before that as well! Jesus remains the greatest influencer of lives in our day- and He always will be. And He leads in a way that no one will ever match. I’ve embraced a daring assignment for the next few weeks. I’ve been, for years, studying the leadership of Jesus- and trying to emulate it in my life as a husband, as a father, friend, and pastor. I have been led to the Beatitudes as a model for leadership and influence in our day.
Read the Beatitudes- Matthew 5 and see if the traits Jesus offers there describe your life. I’m finding in the Beatitudes something I’ve never seen before: I believe that in the Beatitudes we find the ingredients necessary for leadership in our world today (and it has been an amazing journey for me thus far). The BIG idea in this: In the Beatitudes Jesus describes what it is to be a person of influence. Stay tuned… let’s explore this together! I’ll post some more learnings soon!