After leading in the same church for a good stretch of time and meeting other leaders from around the country. I have started to notice a leadership trend of sorts that I don’t believe has been talked about much. It’s the lifecycle of a leader. Have you ever met a 50-year-old person who is trying to act like they are 20? It’s weird and unnatural. I’m not saying you have to wear Hawaiian shirts because you are 50; it’s just weird because there are certain levels of maturity you expect from people at different points in their lives. Leadership is much the same way.
This is personal observation, and I’m still working through it, so bear with me. Here is my challenge to everyone who is leading someone out there—know where God has you in your lifecycle of leadership. Don’t despise where you are but embrace it with an attitude of faith and obedience, and God will use you where you are more than you will ever know.
1. Learning –
- When you are staring out, don’t pretend you know everything, because you don’t. Actually I know that I know less than I thought I knew when I started. Ask more questions than you answer.
- Email, call, tweet, connect with leaders who are further down the road than you.
- The moment you feel that you have arrived, you are in trouble and you are the last one to know it.
- It’s in this season that you need to observe, grow, learn and formulate ideas—get big vision. In some ways we never move on from here.
- Build your team. Lean into God more than you lean into anything else.
2. Doing –
- This is where you start pulling your team together. You start to put to action those things God place on your heart to do.
- This is where you start to find your voice for your generation. This doesn’t mean that you are going to travel and speak; it means that you are going to use the skills you have learned to reach your generation.
- Every generation has a means God uses to reach them. It’s our job to find that means and speak His message to Glorify Him, not ourselves. In the “doing” phase you are applying what you have learned and are typically too busy to help others because you are in the thick of what God has called you to do.
3. Teaching –
- There is a point somewhere along the way that you start to share with others what you have learned and how you have seen God use what you have learned to bless other people and reach people.
- You start to let go of things so that you can allow others to learn and do.
- You impart to the next generation not the means that you used but the lessons you learned, the mistakes you made and victories you won.
- You take the sum total of what you have learned and what you have done to help create a foundation for the next generation of leaders to build on using the methods and the means God has called them to use.
We need fathers who will step up and teach, and we need more sons who will be quiet and listen. Too much of leadership is about preference; not enough is about timeless principles. There is nothing more frustrating (for the leader and for those they are leading) than a leader operating outside of their where God has them, a young guy teaching untested theories as if they are gospel, older leaders blindly clinging to older methods and neglecting to pass on the principles behind the methods.
I can’t tell you where you are as a leader, but you know. Embrace where you are, grow, learn, apply and give away. In the end everyone will forget who you are and God will get the glory, and that’s just how it’s supposed to be.