Yesterday I sat in on Four Characteristics of an Influential Leader: another eye-opening and insight-packed breakout with North Point Ministries' Tim Cooper. So helpful!
I came away with too many insights to share in a single post, but I think you need to know about a powerful idea at the very heart of one of the biggest issues facing many of us.
Here's the essence of the issue: In the midst of an increasingly post-Christian culture, how do you identify (and then recruit and develop) the kinds of men and women who can become truly influential leaders (i.e., leaders who have a posture that can influence culture).
If you're like me (and I know you are), you are constantly wrestling with this exact dilemma. As you look around in your congregation, as you rub shoulders with people in your church, there are not many who have strong biblical knowledge or positive experiences of leading previous groups or discipling others. Instead, most of the people you meet clearly need to be mentored or discipled themselves!
Right? Is this not your experience?
So what are we to do? How can we identify (and then recruit and develop) the kinds of men and women who can become truly influential leaders?
I came away from the breakout yesterday with several insights that can help many of us.
First, in order to help anyone grow spiritually, they must be connected relationally.
Note: I know you know this, but it is an essential building block if you want to understand what it next
At the essence of this insight is the awareness that a class taken while seated in rows is not likely to produce spiritual growth.
Second, Titus was instructed to find this kind of potential leader even on the island of Crete, which in the first century was one of the most evil places in the known world.
Note: if you think you live in an evil place in the world, does the mention of your city or of your region define what it is to be an evil or bad person (i.e., "So and so is a Cretan!").
This is a profound understanding. It means that all of us can find the leaders we need if we are looking for the right things.
Third, character reflected in posture has the greatest potential to influence others. What is the posture of the most effective leaders?
The posture of the most effective leaders:
Humble: They do not think they are "all that." "Humility in leadership and dependence on God are often found together."
Teachable: They do not think they already have it all figured out. They have a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset (i.e., they are willing to be changed by their members).
Curious: They have genuine curiosity and practice "the art of suspending judgement" and earn the right to be heard by asking lots of questions and listening to the stories of others.
Intentional: They don't just take action. They are purposeful. They know they won't passively find what they are not actively pursuing.
Questions that remain:
How do you identify the presence of these attributes in potential or aspiring leaders? I think you can see how, by asking the right questions, we might begin to see glimpses of several of the desired attributes. And, you can see the need for the development of a set of interview questions.
How do you develop these attributes in leaders once they've been recruited? Clearly, these attributes will only be developed in others by leaders who already demonstrate them; who are already living them out. "If we are not the example, we might be a stumbling block."