Breaking growth barriers

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growth barriersBreaking barriers to growth

Our capacity for leadership determines the scope of our work. However, as we have already seen, each one of us must develop our own leadership. Each one of us must grow and advance in the midst of all barriers, resistance and impediments.

Jesus shows us various barriers in the parable of the sower in Chapter 13 of Matthew where he compares the development of the seed of the Word of the kingdom in each of four different types of soil which represent four types of human hearts.

Through this parable we learn that:

  • Plants do not grow in the shade. Good discipleship leaders expose their disciples to the sun.
  • Plants do not grow if the vase is too small. We need space for our roots.
  • Plants cannot grow in hard soil. Hard soil corresponds to the wayside that is constantly trampled upon. There is no growth without taking the risk of following alternative and new ideas.
  • Plants do not grow in stony ground. The stones point to the ego and to sin.
  • Plants do not grow in containers covered with lids. The lids are natural and emotional blocks.

The effectiveness of our leadership depends on eliminating lids that are placed upon us. The leadership of David and Saul gives us two examples of leaders who dealt with lids in different ways.

Both were anointed by God

The same anointing that was over Saul was also over David. There was no difference at all. The anointing was the same, but each of them responded differently.

Both received the help of an experienced prophet

Both Saul and David had instruction and teaching. Samuel instructed Saul and Nathan instructed David.

Both faced great challenges

God tests our leadership through the challenges and obstacles along the way. Goliath challenged Saul just as much as he challenged David, but only David responded to overcome the enemy.

Both had the chance to change and to grow

Saul and David had different attitudes in the face of their circumstances. After Samuel reprimanded Saul, Saul merely tried to justify himself. David, on the other hand, repented bitterly after Nathan rebuked him.

The lids that limited King Saul

  • Fear: he hid in the camp afraid to face Goliath.
  • Concern with the opinion of others: he asked Samuel to honor him even after he had sinned (1 Samuel 13:8-12; 15:19-25).
  • Presumption; he did not wait for Samuel and offered a sacrifice that he wasn’t qualified to offer (1 Samuel 13:11, 12).
  • Impulsiveness: he made a rash oath that almost cost the life of his son.
  • Falsehood: he offered his daughter to David, but his desire was for David to die in battle.
  • Jealousy and envy: he became angry when the people unfavorably compared him to David.
  • Wrath: he tried to kill David two times

The lids in the life of David

  • His family: he was the youngest and least remembered when Samuel came to visit.
  • His social status: Saul was from a rich family (1 Samuel 9:1), but David was from a poor family.
  • His leader: Saul constantly tried to inhibit David’s leadership.
  • His youth and inexperience: David was just a kid when Samuel anointed him as king of Israel.

The leader must grow so that his cell can grow. The leader can only grow if he makes himself available to remove the lids that block his development.

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The leader as pastor of the lost sheep

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THE LEADER’S ATTITUDE – THE PASTOR & THE LOST SHEEP

leader as pastor of the lost sheepIn the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we read the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7). In this parable, we learn of the attitudes of the leader with a shepherd’s heart. I believe that the central truth of this parable points to the shepherd and not to the lost sheep. The principal meaning refers to the Lord, but His example can be translated into principles for all leaders. The most important principle to be stressed is the value of the leader’s attitude.

Attitude is the hidden secret behind great leaders. We can use Paul as an example of a leader for each characteristic and attitude that we observe in the shepherd of the parable.

1.   Control

The shepherd exercised quantity control: he knew how many sheep he had. The shepherd also exercised quality control: he knew that a sheep was missing. We must be constantly attentive to the safety of our sheep. Control is the result of a holy concern, a passion, and a responsibility before God. Paul had a deep concern for the churches. Several passages clearly show the evidence of his concern:

Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:28)

Then after some days, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” (Acts 15:36)

Control is nothing more than information. We plan actions, establish goals and make course corrections on the basis of information. As a leader, you must perceive the importance of controls, such as visitation reports, so that your work becomes more efficient. Paul knew exactly what was going on in the churches simply because he had information:

For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. (1 Cor. 1:11)

For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part, I believe it. (1 Corinthians 11:18)

2.   Right attitude

The shepherd did not have a commercial attitude – for a mercenary businessman, it makes no sense to leave 99 sheep alone to go look for one that got lost. However, the shepherd did not see the sheep as a source of profit. Leaders are like parents, they don’t want to lose any of their children. If the father has ten sons and he loses one of them, it does no good to tell him that he still has nine. Writing to the Thessalonians Paul reveals his heart free of financial interests:

But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

For neither at any time did we use flattering words, but we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 7).

. . . nor a cloak for covetousness, For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you (Thessalonians 2:5; 9).

Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. That you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thess. 2:6; 12).

The shepherd did not have a passive attitude – he did not wait for the lost sheep to come back on its own. He could have thought perhaps: “when it is hungry it will return, or when it gets dark it will show up”. Many leaders fail because of their passivity. They expect the work to get done by itself but real leaders make things happen.

The shepherd did not think about what was convenient – he could have thought, “I only lost 1%, that isn’t so bad! It’s not worth it to leave the 99 and go after just one and risk the 99 that remain”. However, it is necessary to be clear that the success of the leader is guaranteed by his willingness to obtain excellence and do the best work. We find no comfort in comparing ourselves with those who are average. This is the principle of mediocrity.

The shepherd did not have a spiteful attitude – the shepherd could have had the following thoughts: “this sheep that left doesn’t deserve my love and care, it was a traitor”. Many leaders demand an eternal debt of gratitude from the flock because of their work. Leaders are servants and not investors seeking a return on their investment. In the book of Acts of the Apostles we read the abandonment of John Mark, who had helped Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13). We see the consequences of this desertion and how Paul dealt with the matter. First, Paul and Barnabas separated themselves because of Mark (Acts 15:37). It is possible that Mark’s desertion had left Paul indignant. However, in the letter to the Colossians, Paul recommended Mark to the church (Colossians 4:10) and, in his second epistle to Timothy, he said that Mark was useful for the ministry. In the letter to Philemon we see that the relationship was completely restored (Philemon 1:24).

3.   Planning, strategy and perseverance

The shepherd did not go out searching with no direction, but he sought after the sheep. “To seek” speaks of planning, strategy and perseverance. These are the fundamental ingredients in the life of a leader. A leader who does not plan is destined to failure.

Planning – the shepherd planned a way to find the lost sheep. Our planning is not based on circumstances. We plan our course of action and our work independent of circumstances.

Strategy – he knew the possible places where he might find the sheep and even the means to attract it to himself in the dark of night. He knew where the sheep most like to graze, where they prefer to drink water and where they occasionally get lost.

Perseverance – he did not give up, but searched until he found the lost sheep. He probably didn’t notice the absence of the sheep until near the end of the day. The food was on the table and he was tired, but even so, he decided to seek out the sheep until he found it.

Paul was also a strategist. He prioritized the large cities in his missionary work: Athens (Acts 17:16), Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), Philippi (Acts 16:12), Corinth (Acts 18:1) and Ephesus (Acts 19:17). He began preaching in the Jewish synagogues to the Jews whose hearts were already a prepared soil (Acts 16:12, 13; 17:1; 10; 16, 17). He always consolidated his work with systematic teaching (Acts 18:11; 20:27).

4.   Self-denial

The text in Matthew tells us that there were no guarantees that the shepherd would really find the lost sheep, but even so, the shepherd left in search of it. We don’t invest our time only in sheep that guarantee a return. The shepherd abandoned his comfort and went out in the hot sun of the day and the chill of the night to look for it. This shows his self-denial.

Every leader is like a spiritual father. As spiritual fathers, we must be healthy fathers. Healthy fathers exercise self-denial. As fathers, we must avoid certain excesses:

Fathers that never released their children – these parents want their children to remain tied to them forever. Healthy parents raise their children to win over the world.

Mothers and fathers that demand eternal gratitude – “after everything that I’ve done for you this is how you repay me?” These are expressions of unhealthy parents.

Parents who demand a return of the investment that they made in their children – the parents should store up for the children and not the other way around. (2 Corinthians 12:14)

Our children are our glory, but it is terrible when the children shame the parents. Parents should prepare their children to be proud of them. Trees do not grow in the shade; allow more space for your children to grow larger than you have grown. Be the shoulders upon which your children can rise up and gain new levels of which you have never attained.

5.   Celebration

The shepherd only puts on a celebration feast after he has found the last sheep. Our work as leaders is to find lost sheep in this world covered by the darkness of sin. It doesn’t say that the shepherd exhorted the lost sheep or that he gave it a beating, but simply that he put it upon his shoulders and took it back to the flock.

One of the greatest secrets of successful leadership is learning to celebrate victories. Learn to celebrate each goal and each objective that has been reached together with your team. This will strengthen the team and motivate the team members for the next challenges that you wish to reach.

Basic Principles of Spiritual Leadership

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principles of spiritual leadership7 principles of spiritual leadership

When some of the Lord’s disciples became interested in receiving positions of leadership Jesus taught his disciples some basic principles that determine how God distributes leadership. His answer to the mother of James and John provide basic principles in seed-form that are vital to understand and properly apply in the ministry of the gospel.

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:20-28)

When the mother of James and John asked Jesus to seat each of them on either side of His throne in the kingdom, she was thinking of a position of dominion and leadership. Evidently, they only wanted a position and status of leadership. We can see the true essence of spiritual leadership in the Lord’s answer.

Leadership is predetermined (v. 21)

The woman asked the Lord to grant her something that he was not willing to guarantee. It is necessary for the Lord to determine, to grant. We do not choose if we will lead or not. We merely obey the call of God. We are not volunteers but called servants.

Leadership is a prepared position (v. 23)

The answer that Jesus gave is that the Father has prepared someone for each position. For God to prepare us means that we have the tools, the gifts and the ability necessary to develop the function of leadership to which He calls us.

Leadership requires a price to be paid (v. 22)

Each position of leadership has its own price. You will never reach the purpose if you fail to pay the price.

The laws of price:

  • There is a price tag for everything that has value
  • You can achieve anything depending on the price that you are willing to pay
  • Not everyone pays the same price. Each one of us has a different cross to carry
  • The more you want something the higher price you will pay
  • If you complain of the price, you will probably give up before you pay it
  • Your talents do not determine your success in life, but the price that you are willing to pay to reach it
  • You will be criticized for paying the price
  • The price never goes down. Each time you are successful the next challenge will be more difficult, the criticisms will be more severe, the tests stronger and the price higher
  • The real price will increase and the perception of the price will decrease when your desire to improve grows and become more and more intimate with God
  • All spiritual payment is made beforehand

Leadership is within every man (v. 24)

The fact that the other disciples became indignant shows the yearning for leadership that existed in all of them. Just as back then, today disciples become indignant with those who want to be great leaders. Jesus did not tell His disciples: “don’t try to be great because that is pride”. He did not say that their aspiration to be great was wrong. He just explained how to arrive, how to become a great leader.

God is pleased when his people desire leadership

We do not know why James and John were among the three closest disciples to Jesus. However we can suppose that one of the reasons was their desire to be great leaders.

This is a faithful saying: if a man desires the position of a Bishop, he desires a good work. (1 Timothy 3:1)

Leadership is not for your own benefit but for the benefit of others (v. 28)

To serve is to seek the interests of the person that you are serving. Therefore, the goal of the leader is not to take advantage of or profit from his followers, but to discover how to contribute to the fulfillment of the full potential of each follower.

Leadership is to fulfill the purpose of benefiting others (v. 28)

The way that the Lord served was by fulfilling the purpose of God. We serve the members of our cell when we serve God, and not the other way around. It would be difficult for someone to say that the Lord was serving His disciples by dying on the cross. However, Jesus served God on the cross by doing His will.

The natural results of this leadership are:

  • Authenticity (the authority comes from the authorization of those who are called)
  • Originality (God’s call is individual)
  • Genuine trust (based on the conviction that the one who calls is also the one who enables and equips)
  • Personal fulfillment (because the fulfillment comes when we fulfill the purpose)
  • Sense of value (because every call of God includes a purpose that has eternal implications)
  • Absence of competition (because of the uniqueness of the call of each one)
  • Absence of jealousy (because each person who has been called has his own value)
  • Absence of fear (because of the conviction of all of the above)

Levels of leadership

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levels-of-leadershipFive leadership levels

John Maxwell wrote about five levels of leadership, which I will briefly share here. Your leadership can be developed and elevated to new levels. In practice, there are five levels of leadership: position, permission, production, people development and personal maturity.

1.    Position

This is the basic entry-level of leadership. The only influence that you have at this level is in virtue of your title. At this level people appeal to rights and titles. In other words if someone has the title, he is the boss and that’s it.

True leadership is much more than simply a title that confers authority. True leadership expresses you as someone who others follow joyfully. An authentic leader knows the difference between a boss and a leader. God did not call us to be chieftains, but to be leaders. Think for a minute, what is the basic difference between a boss and a leader?

This level of leadership is generally acquired by nomination. Such is the case when your leader nominates you to be a small group leader or chooses you to lead another group in which no one knows you. In this case, your leadership initially will be merely positional.

People do not follow a positional leader beyond their specific realm of authority. They limit themselves to do only what is required when the leader requests it. When there is no confidence in the leader, the members do not commit themselves.

Few people are prepared to follow us because of our titles. Our joy and our success in leading a small group or a network depend on our ability to continue reaching new levels of leadership.

  • At this level of leadership, you must:
  • Completely know the attributes of a small group leader
  • Be clear of what the vision of the church is
  • Be on board with the leadership of your network in the church
  • Accept responsibilities and challenges
  • Develop your work with visible excellence
  • Do more than is expected of you
  • Propose creative ideas for improvement and positive change

2.   Permission

“Leadership is moving people to cooperate with you when they are not obligated to do so”. This will only happen when you advance to the second level of influence. People do not care about your title until they perceive how much you care about them. Leadership begins in the heart and not in the head.

Level 1 leaders lead by intimidation. We advance to the second level only when we relate and demonstrate real interest and love for our followers. You can love people without leading them, but you cannot lead people without loving them.

Be careful not to attempt to skip this level. We cannot advance in leadership without gaining the people’s permission. On this level of leadership, you must:

  • Love the people in your group
  • Help the members help themselves with their battles
  • See through the eyes of the people
  • Place the members as a priority
  • Position yourself confidently before the group
  • Include all the members of the small group in fellowship
  • Treat difficult and resistant people with wisdom

3.   Production

Everyone is oriented toward results. Invariably results and goals that we reach are the principal reason for leadership and the principal reason why leaders must be established. Once strong and lasting relationships are established, people are open to cooperate on the third level, which is production. It will do no good to try to reach goals or fulfill tasks if we have not reached the prior level.

The level 1 position is the door to leadership, but level 2, the level of permission is the foundation. Therefore, in the third level we must:

Accept the challenge and responsibility to multiply our leadership

  • Pursue the purpose of growth
  • Make everyone accountable including ourselves
  • Plan strategies that will help reach the goal
  • Communicate the strategy and vision of the church
  • Transform ourselves into instruments of challenge for the members
  • Make the difficult decisions that will establish change

4.   People development

We can identify a leader through or by way of his recognition. Recognition exists when leaders constantly exhibit superior development of functions entrusted to them. The leader becomes great not because of his power, but because of his ability to delegate power to others. Success without a successor breeds failure.

The principal responsibility of the worker is to do his work. The principal responsibility of a leader is to develop other leaders. The small group leader must have leaders in training. Therefore, if the small group does not have leaders in training this means that he has not yet attained the fourth level of developing people.

In the second leadership level, the members of the small group learn to love the leader. In the third level, they learn to admire him. In the fourth level, the leader wins the loyalty of the cell, winning the hearts of his followers by helping them grow spiritually. However:

  • You must continue meeting together systematically teaching those that are under your small group leadership
  • Be aware that the lives of your team members are your most valuable assets and must be your focus of work
  • Prioritize the discipleship of your team
  • Be an example for them to imitate
  • Concentrate your efforts on leaders in training
  • Provide growth opportunities for them
  • Learn to attract overcomers around you

5.   Personal maturity

On this level, you lead and inspire people simply because you have already reached total recognition. You have become an example of leadership because of the results of your ministry over a long time. On this level, it must be evident that:

  • The members of the small group or network are loyal to you and willing to make sacrifices
  • You have spent years orienting and molding leaders
  • You have become a discipler or pastor with a testimony worthy to be followed
  • Your greatest joy consists of observing other leaders grow and multiply

Beginning with the recognition of these levels we can build a structure that helps us to understand influence and what can be done to increase it. In order to go to the top, a leader must do two things:

  1. Recognize what level he is presently operating in and
  2. Know and apply the necessary qualities for success in each level

Whatever your position within an organization or group, you will only grow as a leader when you successfully identify on which level of leadership you currently operate and identify the aspects lacking in your leadership to move to the next level. Then it is a matter of striving to overcome what hinders leadership growth and acquire the qualities necessary to move past the next level. Cultivate the attitude that this process will continue for the rest of your life.

Grow your Christian leadership influence

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JOSHUA’S LEADERSHIP INFLUENCE

leadership-influenceLeadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. When Joshua was sent to spy out the Promised Land, he was already a leader within his tribe (Ephraim). In the account of the book of Numbers, we see that Moses sent only the heads of each tribe to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:3). However, Joshua didn’t have much of a significant influence. Perhaps just as Joshua you are also a leader today without much recognition. Let’s analyze Joshua’s case.

Joshua’s leadership in the beginning (Numbers 13:25-33; 14:1-12)

He had no influence – Joshua and Caleb rose up and tried to show the people that they could conquer the land, but nobody believed in them. Maybe you have risen up and have said that it is possible to conquer certain things and that it is possible to multiply your group, but the members of your group choose not to believe in you. Do not be discouraged if your influence is still small.

No one believed in him – Joshua’s report concerning the land was positive, but the people did not believe his words. It is frustrating when the members of a group simply do not believe in the possibility of victory through God’s power.

No one followed him – The other 10 spies were able to convince all the people to follow them, but Joshua was unable to gain even one follower. He didn’t appear to be a very promising leader.

No one respected him – Besides the fact that the people did not recognize him, Joshua didn’t even have their respect, since after hearing him they wanted to stone him (Numbers 14:10). Many leaders feel disrespected, if this is your case, don’t try to defend yourself, let the glory of God raise you up and defend you (verse 10).

How Joshua grew in influence

Recognition comes from consistence. Influence is the result of anointing and character. Joshua was not discouraged by having to walk for 40 years in the desert because of the people’s sin. He could have entered into the land quickly, but he waited and walked with the people for all of those years.

Joshua’s recognition and influence grew because of his relationship with Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-8; 23) – only an existing leader can constitute another leader. No one can become a leader merely by studying in the classroom; there must be a mentor or discipleship figure that eventually constitutes the new leader.

Recognition grows with time (Joshua 18:1-10) – the words of Joshua in verse three were the same as those in numbers 14, but now his influence and the generation to which he spoke was different. Now he had recognition to lead them ahead. Nothing can substitute time. Joshua and Caleb were the oldest men of the nation when they entered into Canaan (Numbers 26:65).

Recognition comes through character and seeking the Lord (Exodus 33:11) – while Moses would pray, Joshua would not leave the door of his tent. Whoever desires to grow seeks to walk with his discipler. Observe that Joshua is called the servant of Moses. Service reveals character.

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)

Recognition comes from the transferring of anointing (Deuteronomy 34:9; Numbers 27:18) – after Moses laid his hands on Joshua, he grew in influence and recognition before the congregation.

Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. (Deuteronomy 34:9)

And the LORD said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; (Numbers 27:18)

The power of a recognized leader (Joshua 1:16-18)

So they answered Joshua, saying, “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses. (Joshua 1:16, 17)

In verse 16, we see three declarations that reveal that the people learned to recognize Joshua’s leadership:

  • All you command us we will do
  • Wherever you send us we will go
  • In all things we will heed your word

Leadership Myths

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leadership mythsCHANGE YOUR MENTALITY

The true spirit of leadership is a matter of mentality and not of techniques or methods. A wolf that has been raised as a dog may appear to be a domesticated animal, but he will always have the cry for the wilderness within him. Since God created man to govern and to lead, he will always have this cry from within his heart.

What would cause a wolf to live as a dog? I can think of several answers such as, comfort, the convenience of receiving everything with no effort and no need to hunt, the security of having food every day or in other words, the fear of the pressure of fending for itself. The problem of the wolf that lives like a dog is that he would not live out what God created him to be, thus he would never be truly content.

FALSE CONCEPTS ABOUT LEADERSHIP

False myths about leadership affect our mentality and block the spirit of leadership within us. You were born to lead, but you still must become a leader. God has placed the spirit of leadership within every person, since we were all created in the image and likeness of God. However, this potential must be awakened. In order for this to occur, we must first debunk some leadership myths.

  • The myth that leaders are born, not made (see illustration Everyone a leader)
  • The myth that leadership is the will of God for only some people
  • The myth that leaders have the most charismatic personality
  • The myth that leaders are mostly authoritarian and more temperamental than most people are
  • The myth that leadership is a result of some super special training

It is important that we clearly understand that leadership is the means that God has chosen to fulfill His work and that it is something that will spontaneously flow if we enter into the principles of the Word of God.

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP

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EVERY BELIEVER A LEADER

effective leadership

The leadership that God has chosen to establish is different from that of the world. Man was created to subdue the earth and have dominion (Genesis 1:28), or in other words, each person was created to be a leader. Understanding this implies a change in your way of thinking, which for lack of revelation, has caused you to believe that leaders are generally those who are the most charismatic, best trained, and possessing the strongest temperament. Reject these erroneous concepts. You were born and created to lead.

John Maxwell affirms that leadership is influence, therefore those who through the Spirit are full of power and authority will influence many others. This implies that whoever does not exercise influence does not act as salt, because whoever acts as salt has influence.

In light of this, I want to mention four foundational principles without which no church or Christian organization should establish anyone as a leader.

Image produces dominion

The exercise of dominion is intimately associated with image (Genesis 1). We cannot separate the exercise of dominion from image. Everything is determined by the image or identity that we possess, whether it is that of a scorpion, a serpent, a lamb or the Son of God. In the book of Revelation we read that God has the appearance of a Jasper stone (Revelation 4:3) and that the New Jerusalem will be built with Jasper (Revelation 21:11; 18).

Image is expression. If we have the proper image, the more we express ourselves the more we exercise dominion and leadership. Image is the expression of the author and creator. Only He can authorize us as leaders to exercise authority. Because of the fall, we lost our image, but the work of the Holy Spirit transforms us so that we can again express God. The word “transformation” occurs three times in the Bible.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The third reference is in Matthew. In the place of “transform”, we read the word “transfigured”, but the word in Greek is the same, metamorphose (Matthew 17:2). In another passage, Jesus said that some would see the manifestation of the kingdom (dominion) (Matthew 16:28). The (Dominion), the transfiguration of Christ represented the manifestation of the kingdom. Only when we are transformed or transfigured do we genuinely express the authority of the kingdom. There is an unavoidable principle related to this: those who have image receive dominion. Invariably the Lord will place those who have his likeness as head.

The priesthood introduces royalty

Image speaks of priesthood and dominion speaks of royalty. The New Testament shows us that God has made us kings and priests (Revelation 5:10; 1 Peter 2:9). The priesthood always introduces royalty.

In the Old Testament, there were two basic ministries: the priesthood and royalty. The priesthood introduces royalty in the same manner that Samuel, the priest constituted David as king; or John the Baptist the priest of the tribe of Levi, introduced King Jesus of the tribe of Judah. If we are genuine priests, we will introduce royalty.

David’s ministry as a king was successful because he was also a priest. He ate the consecrated bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat (1 Samuel 21:6). He was not a Levite priest, but he certainly prefigured a priest of a higher order. First, we become priests leading people to God, and then we become kings manifesting the authority of His kingdom on the earth.

You may be thinking, “If we are all leaders, then who will be the followers?” Remember that the Lord is the King of Kings. This title was given to Him because His followers are also Kings. Today Christians are a nation of priests. If we are a nation of priests, we can also become a nation of Kings, or in other words a nation of leaders.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:5-9)

We are a holy nation made up of kingly priests who carry within our spirits a new nature that qualifies us as a new elect race.

Dominion is for service

If we read Matthew 20:20-28, we will see that the Lord did not reprimand or rebuke the disciples for their desire to rule as kings over the people. He even said, “If you want to be great in God’s kingdom”, this shows us that the desire to rule exists in each one of us because that is what we were created for.

However the Lord showed the manner that we should lead: by serving. This does not mean that we will have to do tasks that have no meaningful purpose. The Lord Himself was an example of someone who served. He demonstrated the manner that we should serve by fulfilling the purposes of God for His life. Christ came to give His life as atonement for many. Upon doing this, He served and exercised dominion. Therefore, the true spirit of leadership is serving others by fulfilling the purpose for which God has called us.

Every true leader is merely a glorified servant. The path to leadership is the development of the service to the call that we have received from God, which is His purpose for us. We serve God and man by fulfilling His purposes.

The power is for dominion

In order for Adam to exercise dominion, he needed God’s image, but he also needed a second element: the fruit of the tree of life. Only after having eaten of the tree of life would he definitively be able to exercise dominion as head over the earth.

The eating of the tree of life is nothing more than receiving the life and energy of God within us. Just think of the example of a computer without electrical power: so much potential, so much information, so much usefulness lost for lack of the most important element, electrical power to make access possible.

The Lord’s last promise to His disciples was not heaven, but power (Acts 1:8). This power is an enablement to impact, to change and to alter circumstances. The power of God transforms us into lions.

The author Miles Monroe once said: “an Army of lambs led by a lion will always win over an army of lions led by a lamb”. David had a flock of rejects, but since he was a lion, he transformed them into giant killers.

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