What is it that makes a person a good Christian leader? What is it that separates those who follow Christ and those who have not found the love of God in their lives yet? These have been two burning questions in my mind since we left camp 9 months ago, and since then I have struggled to answer the question. What is it that I should be doing to demonstrate good leadership as a Christian man in my everyday life?
I became focused on the surface attributes that everyone does. First, I must be better at whatever it is I am doing than everyone else because that immediately makes me the leader, correct? Two issues immediately became apparent when I attempted to install this idea in my life. The first was that I was never going to be as good at some things as others, and if all I based leadership on was being the best, I would fall short in many areas. When I think back to some of the most brilliant leaders I have ever met, none of them established themselves as perfect or the best. They were just trying to do the best they could and help as many others as they could to find the love from God that they had. That was my second issue. Even the greatest leaders I have met or heard speak were not the best in their field at times. It had to be something else.
So the next area I thought to try was control. To be a great leader you must control everything and instill in others your dominance. Immediately, I found this difficult to replicate because as I began my attempt to control others and establish a leadership, the opposite would occur. They would not look to me as a leader, but instead as a pushy, obnoxious man who attempted to control them in order to feel better about himself. Where was I going wrong? If a leader is not always the best at what he is doing and a leader is not just the person asserting control or fear, what is a leader and what makes that leader a good one?
Then it finally dawned on me. Some of the strongest and most influential Christian leaders I have ever met were not perfect or in control, but instead they loved unconditionally. I realized that the men who had helped shape my spiritual life through Highland and other Christian environments I have been a part of did so through unconditional supportive love. They lead by example in one area at all times, loving others. John 13:34 “"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This commandment was so special it was given apart and separate from all the others. It focused on one thing and one thing only, love.
Now you maybe asking yourself, “Well of course I love everyone but I don’t feel like I am a great leader?” Well I felt that way too. Then I found this quote in a book I have been reading by A.G. Riddle, “Great leaders as forged from the fire of hard decisions.” How does this apply to love and Christian leadership? The great leaders I have known have loved through difficult and trying times. These leaders love everyone regardless of their stories or their background. They love through their character flaws and difficulties. That love and caring displays and it creates what their leadership is founded on. This love is difficult and hard, but it is through these fires that their leadership is built.
I want to grow in that area. I may never be the best speaker or the greatest writer, but I want to be a leader in my communities for Christ. I want my life to be an example for Christ and I feel that if more Christians focused on this tenant of our faith, Love, we would become great leaders for our world that at times feels so lost and distant from the love of Christ. May God bless you all.
--- Written by Ian Johnston