Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Framing Leadership

As a part of our Sunday evening leadership team curriculum this semester, we have had a ton of great conversations about what it means to be a leader and to grow in your ability to lead.

This past Sunday evening, we ended our discussion with reading of a passage from
1 Timothy:

These are the things you must insist on and teach.  Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.  Put these things into practice, devote yourselves to them, so that all may see your progress.  Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

[4:12-16, NRSV]

As we continue in our discussions on leadership on Sunday evenings, we are going to use this passage to frame three areas in which we need to be continually mindful as leaders.

"...set the believers an example..."  
Growing as leaders, we must always be reminded that whether we realize it or not, we are setting an example for the people around us.  A lot of our discussion on leadership has mentioned the fact that if we are hypocritical or don't walk our talk, our effectiveness as leaders becomes nothing.  This doesn't mean we never make mistakes or have failings, but this does speak to how we handle those situations in our lives as leaders.

"...do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you..."
A significant part of being a leader is recognizing our own unique gifts and using those appropriately.  Likewise, effectively leading in a Christian setting means always living into the fact that our talents and abilities are exactly that--gifts.  Effective leadership plays to the strengths and weaknesses of the gifts that each of us have been given, and keeps the perspective of appreciating those as gifts rather than taking them for granted in self-credit.  

"...pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching..."
Self-reflection is an integral part of being a leader.  Not only does self-reflection allow us to see what example we're setting and how we are leading, but it allows us to always frame our leadership in something that is bigger than ourselves; something larger than simply what we are doing.  In this way, we can continually be a part of a wider picture and not be self absorbed in our own leadership.

Take some time this week to reflect on these areas and how they pertain to leadership.  While not comprehensive nor definitive, there is a rich learning opportunity in these words from 1 Timothy chapter 4 about being effective leaders.  

What else can we learn?

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