Leadership: Grow and Learn

How can I be a godly leader? That’s the question of the disucussion I’m leading on our church’s high school youth group tomorrow morning. This is the third lesson in a series of four, and I haven’t been present for the first two lessons, nor do I have the materials to look back and see what they covered. So first things first, I want to walk through down the road of where we’ve been so far. After that, I want to pose the questions, “should we all be leaders,” and “is leadership something we should all aspire to?” While I believe we all have circles of influence, I don’t think that being known or visible as a “leader” is a sign of a more mature or more important person. In fact, I think it’s good to ask, “what good is a leader without any followers?” I think this YouTube video shows that while leadership is of course important the initial step to “get the ball rolling,” it is by no means all that is needed to get a movement started.

What are the different roles portrayed in this video?

  1. The leader (the “nut”).
  2. The first follower (he’s a little “nutty” also).
  3. The second follower and his friends (now this is getting popular).
  4. Those who jumped in once it became popular (now we have a movement).
  5. Those who jumped in once it became unpopular to sit in the dwindling crowd.
  6. Those who never left the crowd on the ground.
  7. The camera man.
  8. The YouTube poster.
  9. Me.
  10. You.

Which role do you typically find yourself in? Are there any “unimportant” roles in the starting of this movement? Would it have gone anywhere without the leader? Without the first follower and his friends? Would it have received millions of views on YouTube without the camera person and whoever posted it to YouTube?

So the question in today’s lesson is “How can I be a godly leader?” Is is “assumed” for some reason that we all need to strive to be leaders in one way or another? Why or why not?

I believe that, while we may not all start movements with our leadership, we all have influence. And that makes us potential leaders. Regardless of the amount of change we may cause, we affect those around us. Whether it’s our peers, our brothers and sisters, or people we don’t even know that look up to us, we all play an important part. And that’s what today’s lesson is really about… stepping into the roles God has for us to play. Whether they are big, small, or somewhere in between, they are all important. So instead of just asking, “how can I be a godly leader,” I want us to really seek the answer to the question, “how can I step up into the role God has for me?”

1. USE WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU

  • What are some facts you’ve heard of about Timothy? He was young. He was mentored by Paul. He was a young pastor.
  • Read 2 Timothy 1:6: For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
  • What’s the purpose of “fanning a flame?” To keep it burning, to cause it to grow. What are ways we do this with real life fires?

2. DON’T BE AFRAID

  • Read 2 Timothy 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
  • Why might Paul have been reminding Timothy of these things?
  • What are some excuses why we don’t lead, or step into the roles God has for us? Are we afraid that He has “too big a part” for us to play?

3. LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH

  • Read 2 Timothy 1:8-12:  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
  • Is there something that is precious to you that you’re still “ashamed” or “shy” to share with others? You don’t need to share what it is… but let’s admit it, there are things about us that we know are unique, even special, but we can’t explain them… we can’t explain them in a way that we think others would “get.”
  • What would it mean to be ashamed of your faith? Why do you think Paul mentioned it twice in these verses?

4. STAND FIRM

  • Read 2 Timothy 1:13-14: What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
  • What’s it mean to “hold on” to something, to “guard the good deposit?” Does it mean we just store it in the back of our brain, or is it more active than that? What does it look like in real life?

WRAP IT UP

Is there such a thing as a “born leader?” Who are some people you think might be born with this as part of their nature? What are some of these “qualities” that you’re saying they’re born with, then? I think almost all of these qualities are developed, not simply given to someone in their genes. Unless a person steps into their role, their “story,” and exercies and builds their leadership “muscles,” they’ll go unused, and will never amount to what they were created to be, or do.

I read a definition of leadership this week that I think is worth repeating:

Leadership is the process of helping people accomplish together and what they could not do as individuals. Leaders are people who get leadership going.

Remember the video from the beginning? What did it say… “Leadership is overrated.” and that the leader got the focus off himself as soon as he had others walking with him. Leadership is not about who’s the leader and who are the followers. Leadership is about stepping up into the role you can play, playing it, and then being pround not just of your participation, but of the end result.

I think we as a church, and even as Christians in general, often overrate leadership. Just count the programs that start but never get maintained or finished strong. Count the “leaders” that have a dream but never gain a following because their dream is just their own, not something anyone else would like to follow.

So, to go back to the video from the beginning. Do you want to be part of something great? Then I think this might be some great advice:

The best way to make a movement is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in. Being a first follower is an underappreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark. There’s no movement without the first follower.

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