How to Cultivate Humility in Leadership

For the past week or two I have been studying through the book of Acts in my devotions. As I have been studying Acts, I have seen several leadership principles I have been wanting to share. If you read my blog regularly, you know I love to write about leadership principles I see in Scripture. I was going to write a few posts about the leadership principles I have seen in Acts, but I realized all of them come back to one thing-humility. If there is any trait a Biblical leader must have it is humility. It’s not an easy trait to maintain and cultivate, but with God’s help we can be leaders known for our humility. Here are three ways to cultivate humility in leadership as seen in the book of Acts:

1. Don’t be afraid to serve behind the scenes. At the end of Acts 1 we see the disciples are faced with a situation-who is going to replace Judas. In verses 21-22 we see that whoever replaces Judas has to have been among them the whole time they were traveling with Jesus from the time He was baptized by John until His ascension. There was only two men who meet this criteria, one being a man by the name of Matthias. Peter prays and asks God to show them which man He has chosen for this job. God reveals to them Matthias was the man and so he replaced Judas. The reason this is so interesting is because we have not heard of this Matthias guy until now. He has been walking with the disciples and Jesus for years and we just now hear about him! What does this teach us? Sometimes we have to serve behind the scenes. Sometimes as leaders we have to go unnoticed and serve in the background while everyone else is getting the recognition. The first thing we can do to cultivate humility in leadership is be ok with serving behind the scenes. At the end of the day, it’s not about us anyways.

2. Always depend on God. Before Peter and the other disciples made their decision about who will replace Judas, Matthias or the other guy, they prayed and asked God for His will (Acts 1:24, 25). Many times in leadership we try to make all the decision on our own. We feel that as the leader we must call the shots. But if we want to be Biblical leaders who maintain humility, we must depend on God. Not just in making decision, but in everything we do. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, you must get serious about depending on God.

3. Don’t allow any task to become to small for you do to. A lot of times in leadership we feel like there are some tasks that are just too “small” for us to do. For example, a lead pastor might not feel like it’s too small of a task for him to clean the bathrooms. That is a somewhat extreme example, but if we want to be leaders who have humility, we must realize we sometimes have to do those “small” tasks and get our hands dirty at times. If you’re in leadership and refuse to do something because it’s too “small” or “lower” than you, your probably struggling with pride and you need to cultivate humility. In Acts 6 a need arose-widows where getting neglecting in the daily distribution of food. Because the apostles were called to pray and minister through the Word so they equipped other faithful men to do this task of serving tables. One of the men chosen to serve tables was Stephen. What is interesting about that is a few chapters later you find out Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr. Stephen didn’t allow serving tables become too “small” of a task for him. He decided to start with a “small” task and obviously was faithful at it. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, don’t ever allow a task to become “too small” for you to do.

I want to leave you with a verse that I believe drives all three of these points home. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” Because Matthias and Stephen humbled themselves and were servant leadership, God exalted them later on down the road. Sometimes we have to serve in those humble ways before God exalts us. The best thing a leader can do is humble himself before God and allow God to exalt him in the proper time-God’s timing.

Advertisements

3 Leadership Lessons from Jude

Recently I studied through the book of Jude in my personal devotions. Jude, one of the smallest books in the Bible, often gets overlooked, but it is amazing what you find in this little book if you take the time to read through it. The theme of Jude is best stated in the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible. The HCST Study Bible says, “Jude wrote to urge believers to contend for their faith.” It also says, “Jude sought to protect Christian truth and strongly opposed heretics who threatened the faith.”  During the time of Jude writing this book, false teachers crept into the church and was distorting Christian truth as well as denying Christ (Jude 4).

As I read through Jude I started to see a few very important leadership lessons that should help us as church leaders today. I want to share the main three that I saw and hope they encourage you to be a better and more Biblical leader as they did for me.

1. Humility is the key to being a good leader. in the opening verse of Jude, Jude introduces himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.” What is so interesting about this is the fact that Jude could have simply introduced himself as a brother of Jesus. We know he could have done this because he calls himself a brother of James who was a brother of Jesus as well (Mark 6:3). By introducing himself as a servant of Christ rather than a brother of Christ, Jude showed being humble and showing humility was more important than his position. In leadership, we often think confidence and often times pride is the way to go, but true leadership happens when you are humble and realize you’re a servant of the one true leader, Christ!

2. It’s easy to look like a good leader, but not actually be a good leader. If you look at verses 12-13 in the book of Jude, you see that the false teachers were involving themselves within the church and it’s activities. Not only involving themselves, but actually taking leadership positions. In these verses Jude says that even though they are in the position of leaders, they really were not true leaders. Verse 12 says, “…shepherds feeding themselves, waterless clouds…fruitless trees…” It’s possible to be in a leadership position and not truly be a leader. A church leader must feed other as well as themselves, they must bear fruit as well as every other Christian must, and they should be serving others. This section of Jude is extremely scaring to me because I never want to be found as a leader who was just in the position, but not actually being a true leader.

3. A good leader must build himself up spiritually as well as building others up spiritually. One hard part of being a church leader is learning how to growing spiritually yourself as well as helping others grow spiritually as well. If we spend all of our time growing ourselves, we will neglect the growth of others. If we spend all of our time growing others, we will neglect growing ourselves. It’s a delicate balance we all must figure out. In verse 20, Jude turns his attention away from dealing with false teachers to dealing with how believers should live in response to everything he has already said. Jude tells believers to build themselves up in their faith, pray in the Spirit, keep themselves in the love of God, and wait for the Lord’s return. All of these things carry the idea of believers giving themselves to spiritual disciplines and living out a consistently walk with God. It is important for leaders to dedicate themselves to their own spiritual growth before others. But Jude then makes it clear you must focus on others spiritual needs as well. He says we must have mercy on those doubting, witness to others to save them from eternal separation from God in hell, and reach out to those who are extremely messed up in sin while being careful. Biblical leaders must serve others spiritually while they themselves are growing spiritually.

I hope these simple leadership lessons help you become a better leader. The church today is in need of good, Biblical leaders and I hope we look at Scripture to find out how we can be those kind of leaders. Leadership is one of my passions and I recently wrote a blog called “Why I am Studying Leadership in Seminary” that is worth taking a look at.

20 Reasons NOT to Sin

Last week I preached the first sermon of a series called “Draw a Circle” here at Weymouth Community Church. The whole “draw a circle” is that revival starts with individuals. Before churches can experience revival, individuals must experience personal revival. We need to draw a circle around us and pray, “Lord, send revival and let it begin in me!” In the first sermon we talked about three indicators that you need revival:

 

If you do not love God as much as you did at first, you need revival.

If your walk with God is defined by activity rather than intimacy, you need revival.

If you do not sense an urgent need for God’s help, you need revival.

These ideas were taken straight from the letters to church in Revelation 2 and 3. This week we are continuing the “Draw a Circle” series and will be talking about humility. Before we can experience revival we must be humble. C.J. Mahaney defines humility as honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness. The Scripture we will be looking at is James 4:6-10. In this passages James tells us to come close to God, wash our hands and purify our hearts, and to be broken over our sin.

I wanted to share something in this post that I will be sharing in the sermon. Dan Jarvis, lead pastor of Weymouth, came up with twenty reasons not to sin:

1. Sin breaks the heart of my Savior.

2. Jesus died to save me from sin.

3. I’ll feel guilty and dirty if I do it.

4. This won’t really satisfy me.

5. Once I’m done sinning, I’ll wish I hadn’t.

6. My disobedience to God will hurt other people that I love and care for.

7. It will hurt God’s reputation.

8. I will come under the discipline of God.

9. It will rob me of my potential in life.

10. It will waste precious, God-given time.

11. Eventually, someone will find out.

12. God sees everything I do, say, and think.

13. It will keep me from fulfilling the purpose of my life.

14. I have more important things to do than to mess around with sin.

15. This sin will distract me from my spiritual focus.

16. It will rob me of heavenly rewards.

17. The devil wants me to disobey God.

18. There will be real consequences to this, some of which I don’t even realize.

19. God will hold me accountable.

20. I really love God, so, why would I want to disobey Him?

So next time you’re facing temptation or are thinking about committing a particular sin, remember some of these reasons you should NOT do it.

Pastoral Internship Update

I am currently in my sixth week of my pastoral internship here at Weymouth Community Church. I intended to post an update weekly, but have been too busy to even try. Since this is my sixth week, I figured I’d give an update of the first five weeks.

The first week here I was able to go to Life Action Ministries headquarters in Michigan with the lead pastor, Dan Jarvis. Dan and a few others are leading a nationwide movement called “OneCry” that is supported by Life Action. This movement is a call for Christians across our nation to pray and seek God’s face for spiritual awakening across our country. I was able to go to the headquarters for a few days and meet with some people from across the country to discuss some of the details about this movement. It was a great time to meet other people and make some ministry connections. You can find out more about OneCry by going to their website.

Instead of continuing this update by going week by week I will share some of the opportunities and responsibility I have been given by the lead pastor. I am leading a teen guys Bible study on Wednesday nights. We are doing a study called “Habits” that walks through core spiritual “habits” that help you grow spiritually. So far it has been great and I have built good relationships with the guys. Also, I have been given the opportunity to preach many times and in many different venues. I got to preach once in retirement home and three times in the local jail. This past Sunday I preached for the first time in one of the Sunday morning services. I am preaching a few more times and once at the south campus in the next month. I have also been given the opportunity to oversee the churches missions bouquet. I have also been helping out at a ministry for students called “The Hangout.” Once of the local high schools here does not have busing so all the students hangout at the library across the street until they get picked up. Because the students were there and the library was getting kinda upset, some people started intentionally going there and hanging out with them. We have a room in the library were we provide food and games for the students so they can just hangout. Also, I have been meeting with the lead pastor weekly to go over church ministry stuff and questions my school require me to ask and report about. Along with that, I have been helping improve the media ministry of the church as well as helping the lead pastor with planning, vision, and leadership. This week I am starting to do some visiting to the shut-ins as well as praying for them. Overall, I have been extremely busy, but learning a lot! The church, and the pastor, have given me many opportunities to get practical experience and the Lord has been faithful to me and using me in many different ways.

As a side note, my school requires me to do a few projects during this internship. One of those was to read a few books. I read three books that I would recommend to anyone in anytime of church ministry: 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger, Humility by C.J. Mahaney. Please continue to pray for me as I have decided to stay here longer than my ten week requirement for school. I will stay a few extra weeks to gain more experience. I am also searching and praying for my first full-time ministry job so pray that the Lord will lead me to it and open and close doors.

Simple Church

Simple Church defines a “simple church” as a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth. That is what this book is about. How to design a church that is truly simple that makes it easy to move people through a discipleship process. Simplicity is the key to a successful organization. Simple Church contains stories of popular companies such as Google, Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Papa John’s that know this truth; simplicity works. Not only do these companies know this, but also growing, vibrant churches do to! Simple Church tells us about two churches. One is simple and one is complex. One would assume the complex churches would be the growing vibrant church, but that is not so. The simple church is the one that is actually growing and is vibrant. The complex church is struggling and not seeing growth. In Simple Church the writers give four things that are essential to a simple church. Those four things are clarity, movement, alignment, and focus.

Clarity

Movement

Alignment

Focus

Instead of defining each of those and describing how they make up a “simple church” I will let you read the book and find out for yourself. One might be wondering if this “simple church” model actually works. The writers answer that question by providing three churches that are “simple” as examples that the simple church model actually does work. These three churches are Immanuel Baptist Church, Christ Fellowship, and Northpoint Community Church. These three churches are truly “simple churches” and are proof that a simple church model is both possible and effective.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone in church leadership, especially pastors. In the last chapter, the writers gives a call for churches to “change or die.” Too many church are dying because they are complex, busy, and not simple. Simple churches are not dying. It may be hard, but we need ti simplify our churches so we can see more spiritual growth.

Another great church ministry I just read is 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever. You can read my review of that book here. Next book on my list is Humility: True Greatness by C.J Mahaney. After I read it I will post a review here on my blog.