The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down. Psalm 146:8
For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 3:7-8
Diane and I are at the PLI Leadership Essentials gathering this week at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas. It’s been a great beginning of the process today. Jock Ficken, Executive Co-Leader (along with Gail, his wife) of PLI shared a key teaching about leadership in the church.
Three pillars of leadership: respect, confidence and trust. These are built on three foundations: competence (respect), clarity (confidence), and character (trust). While all are essential and important the first – the connection between trust and character is perhaps most important to seeking God’s reign and rule as a leader.
We are spending significant time here dealing with issues around identity, context of ministry, and competence. We are leaning especially on issues of identity and character in these initial days of the teaching. Character is forged in a matrix of integrity, honesty, loyalty, self-sacrifice, accountability, self-control, and humility. Especially important in this matrix is the H-Factor: humility.
We often see passages like this used to encourage people who are in distress to remain hopeful of God’s favor and confident of God’s help in difficult times. Humility has to do with more than being encouraged when you’re under the gun. Although people in leadership are sometimes under the gun, promises of God’s blessings to the humble are valuable and precious to leaders in times of joy and favor as well.
Humility is essential for Christian leadership. It opens the door to deeper conversations about God, grace, truth, repentance and faith. Humility allows me to speak into someone’s life without being overbearing or pedantic. Humility allows me to listen when someone questions my ideas and even my motives. Humility is a reflection of the character of Christ:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:5-9
If we are truly seeking God’s reign and rule we will also remember the last part of that passage:
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11
Any leader could do worse than seeking to reflect Jesus’ character as a key element of his or her leadership efforts.