‘Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge let your learning lead to action.’ Jim Rohn
t is with delight that I welcome you to another month, the month of April our month of Developing the Spirit of Leadership. While some postulate that leaders are born, others are of the school of thought that they are made. Made or born my prayer for you this month is that you will become a good leader. The Bible says ‘that the earth is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God,’ that is, they are waiting, groaning, praying that someday some leaders will emerge and make the world a better place. When Jesus came on the scene Simon and Hannah (Luke 2) rejoiced. Many believe leadership is about influence, it is my prayer that you will no more be a victim of bad leadership, in your home, school, church, society or nation. On a greater pedestal, you will arise and be a leader that the world is praying for, as you develop from this day, the spirit of a good leader.
“From Genesis to Revelation, the people, events, and teachings of the Bible are God’s treasury of wisdom and guidance for anyone who has been called to be a person of influence. Whether you are an executive, a pastor, an entrepreneur, a parent, a coach a teacher, a politician, you are a leader, someone who influences and encourages others. From Adam and Eve in the Garden, the first leaders, to learn from failure, to apostle John on the Island of Patmos, an imprisoned leader who cast visions of hope for generations to come, God’s word is full of people from whom we can learn leadership principles." John Maxwell.
If you Google the word leadership you can get about 479,000,000 results, each definition as unique as an individual leader. That is how diverse the definition of leadership can go.
We are in a generation where we are inundated with so much talk about leadership, so many leadership books have been written, so many sermons, conferences and seminars. So much is spent on organising these events, people travel from one continent to the other not to talk of from city to city, high profile leaders are put on the rostrums and podiums, beautiful speeches, sophisticated and beautiful PowerPoint presentations are made on leadership principles.
Parents spend so much to send their children to school from age 2 to 25, acquiring knowledge preparing them to become ‘leaders of tomorrow.’ Can you imagine what it costs globally to go to mosques on Friday and churches on Sunday to learn form the Quran and the Bible how to be good citizens and leaders? Just think for a moment what it cost humanity to visit Mecca to learn about Mohammed and Jerusalem to learn about leadership principles of Jesus? Government, companies, employers, churchleaders send employees and workers for leadership training. But the sad commentary is still the poor leadership in churches,mosques, schools, society at large and across nations and continents.
Read the papers, watch the news, go on social media they are all saturated with moral failures of leadership. Women from nation to nation speak on how people in authority abuse them sexually, choir members are impregnated by Elder’s and Pastors without blinking an eye and they continue on the pulpit as if nothing has happened. You see highly trained professors belittling themselves by demanding for sex to give pass marks to their students of the age of their daughters! Leaders loot their nations dry of scarce resources and funds meant to develop their nations.
How can you imagine a former GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation trained as a leader to occupy such strategic position allegedly stealing funds running to millions of dollars and hiding it in a village where there are no tarred roads, power supply or drinkable water? Imagine what is used to train members of the armed forces, the Army, Navy and Air force and their chief wearing impeccable medals of victory at wars becoming chief looters, using funds meant to train their subordinates and to fight Boko Haram Terrorist to build mansions they and their generations cannot maintain. Can you imagine what it takes to train a lawyer? Can you imagine what it takes to train a judge and become a Justice of the Supreme Court? If these are not leaders who then can we call leaders?
But are they really leaders? When they send people to prison for stealing a goat when they themselves are stealing thousands of dollars, taking bribes here and there, as if they have no conscience. If learned men of the bar and the bench cannot be trusted to dispense justice without kickbacks and ‘kick fronts’, where is the leadership? I read somewhere recently where the former Prime Minister of Britain said, ' if the funds stolen from Nigeria were stolen from United Kingdom they would have ceased to exist as a nation.'
No wonder the Psalmist cried: ‘Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?11 Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our armies?12 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.’ Psalm 108:10-12 Meaning who will lead us to the land of good leadership? Who will deliver our generation from this evil leadership?
For God, not to cast us off and give us help from trouble we have to acknowledge that we have failed in our leadership quest. We have to acknowledge that leadership has nothing to do with academic knowledge, position, title, career, degree and religion. Come to think of it all these people confess to one religion or the other!
We must come to the basics; we need help individually. We must acknowledge that the human nature is surely depraved.
Let us remind ourselves how people have defined leadership.
Leaders are leaders before they lead, have money, title, were given position, and recognition. True leaders are discovered. In my book, “Understanding Principles, Purpose, Power and People of Vision”, I made it clear that the world is confusing the word ‘leaders’ with ‘managers’. The difference is clear: ‘The manager administers; the leader innovates. The manager is a copy; the leader is an original. The manager maintains; the leader develops. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why. The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon. The manager imitates; the leader originates, innovates and invents. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it. The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.’
This the way Jesus distinguished between the manager and a leader.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep.13 The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and caresnot for the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine “ John 10:11-14.
‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Peter the Apostle in 1 Pet 3:3-4
Israel’s leaders took charge, and the people gladly followed. Praise the Lord Judges 5:2 Deborah was literarily saying when there is good leadership the people can identify with it.
What is my focus in this piece? It is to help you realize you are a potential leader. You can develop yourself to be a despot, dictator, corrupter, looter or a good leader. It is a choice.
I know the question agitating your mind at this juncture is how do I develop the spirit of a leader? I will give you my ideas in line with the scriptures as to what leadership really is.
When I am referring to leadership here I am referring to good leadership. You need to know that leadership is a spirit. What is a spirit? The nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul. Spirit is quality regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period. Spirit is synonymous with mind. That is why Paul said- And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.Romans 12:2 Paul is appealing to us to develop our spirit so that we can offer credible leadership. I believe the concept of transformational leadership is from this verse.
Let us look at some types of spirit of leadership which is our target.
Sacrifice - Sacrifice means giving up now to gain later. Good leaders are sacrifice driven not rewards driven. Some of the early Christians were martyred, because they saw Jesus pay the ultimate life price. If you are a leader, and all you’re looking for is gain, gain, gain, gain, then you are a bad leader. You do not possess the spirit of a leader. When you lead with sacrifice the people will be willing to offer themselves. If you are there as a boss it will not work for you. If you want to be a good leader think of what you will sacrifice for the people.Jesus sacrificed his life.That is why he did not run away from the cross.He confronted death, conquered it and today more than one third (over 2.6 billion) of the world is following him. Before he came on earth,David did a similar thing, he fought a lion to defend a lamb.Today he is distinguished as a leader in Israel with their flag bearing - The Star of David.
Service- Working to benefit other people. Genuine leaders provide service. Jesus says the son of man has come to serve. They provide service. Good leaders pride themselves in servanthood. Paul calls himself the chief servant-" Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 2 Cor 11:16-33.
Simplicity - Clarity of purpose. They don't make life complex. They break down complex issues. They have a common philosophy of making life simple for their followers. It is in their nature. They live simple lives. Someone sent a picture of Bill Gate and Mark Zuckerberg to my WhatsApp page recently indicating the worth of the duo as $138 million, yet no Rolex watches, no jewelry, no designers’ shirt or shoes! I read in a place that Warren Buffet is living in the house he has built several decades ago. Compare that with our generation of leaders, they become just a councillor or Local Government Chairman and in 6 months you see the multi-million mansions they have built with stolen funds. Jesus calls them hirelings. A governor I was told has 66 SUVs! Where is simplicity of life?
Good leaders, and pastors don’t dress to impress. They don't use ambiguous words. See Jesus messages, simple parables, narratives and analogies. "We caught this woman in adultery can we stone her?" the religious leaders queried? Jesus replied "he who has not committed a sin, cast the first stone.... Woman .. go and sin no more." John 8. When a church member comes, with what looks gigantic ,leaders have the wisdom to break it down. How do you present your vision or mission? You want to build a new church how do you present it? In a complex form or simple form? When campaigning for office how do you communicate your vision? A good leader usually has a simple motivational concept.
Solution oriented- They seek to solve problems. Everybody can complain but not everybody can perform. Look at King Saul, he was always complaining. David did this, The priest Ahimelech did that, the people took the sheep , Jonathan is supporting David etc .The spirit of a leader is about solving problems not passing blames. Twelve leaders were chosen- "go and preview the promised land that flows with milk and honey"-Moses directed. They came back with a negative report that made a journey of 40 days to become journey of 40 years! Is that leadership? God immediately ordered their public execution. The sprit of a leader is to encourage followers. It is said a good leader makes a person to do a positive thing he would not have done ordinarily.That is the spirit of Caleb and Joshua.Until Africa leaders realize that leadership is about solving problems we will continue to wallow in poverty. God help us!
Soundness- Achieving balance. Balance your message. Some people just focus on one area of ministry all they teach their church is deliverance or prosperity or faith or healing. No balance. When my wife and I were starting ministry, 1987. We had heard of all kinds of ministries, healing, deliverance, prosperity, faith. The question was which one were we to pursue? After three days of praying and fasting the Lord told us to pursue the ministry of reconciliation 2 Cor 5:18. Reconciling men to God and men to men. Check it out there is no other ministry in scripture. Balance is the spirit of a leader.
Spirit of giving- Values not valuables- Give me fish and I will feed for one day, teach me how to fish and you have fed me for life. A leader thinks about giving their children education and Christ! I built a house for my father which he lived in till he died, he did not go to school so he new how unpleasant it was and so trained me to a doctorate degree level. Today by the grace of God I am a pastor, because he taught me how to follow Christ. The great values I need to live a comfortable life. He treated my mother with respect, that is what I am doing with my wife. Paul said if you cannot lead in your house what are you doing in ministry. Is ministry just holding a microphone and just speaking on the pulpit and quoting scripture? I was told recently a father built a house worth 400 million naira (One million dollars) and gave to his son, the boy told him he doesn’t need it. His question was –'Daddy how much do you earn to be able to build this house, how much am I earning to maintain it?'
Significance- Good leaders leave legacies and achieve results that will out live them, it is called significance. They create or start something that lives on. Its not about status. They pass on values, ideas, concepts and ideals not just buildings and material or monetary things. There are leaders who think like followers,‘I wish the people will do it, I encourage them to do it’. Leave a legacy, if possible school, universities, hospitals. Not with stolen funds.
Four things you must do to develop the spirit of leadership:
“And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” Matt 4:19.,Mk 3:14
You have to be regenerated- You have to be re-created. Nicodemus had all the law degrees. He found his way to the Master. Jesus somewhere said the letter kills it is the spirit that give life. Cornelius was a very rich, generous ,religious philanthropist , Jesus sau, look for Peter to explain the new birth, the new life in Jesus Christ. Paul had a law degree and he was an equivalent of a gang member until he met the Master. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17. The moral failures of our leaders is predicated on one thing,lack of the new birth! The good news is that we are celebrating Easter this month. Find your way to the cross.Repent and be saved.
Follow Christ: This is a call to be trained, Mark 3:14.You may have some in- born qualities of a leader but you cannot have them all. You can be a naturally creative, innovative, courageous person. To be a leader, you still have to be trained.You ask, what of all those that were trained and still messed up?If they have proper training and they still messed up, the fault is not in the training, but in their choices. Jesus had and trained 12 disciples Judas chose, to be a betrayer. Peter denied Jesus but did not commit suicide rather, he repented and followed the Master, he became the leader of the group. David was a good leader not because he did not suffer a moral fall, but he repented.
A good leader with the spirit of a leader can make mistakes but they don't continue wallowing in messy life styles. How do you get training-you observe, practice, imitate and study? "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.' 2 Tim 2:15 Apart from Jesus you must have a mentor. There must be somebody that monitors you, who can hold you accountable. Follow good qualities of your mentor, not the outward look, dressing or the way he speaks, but the spirit of sacrifice, simplicity soundness and service.
Be transformed: Transformation is different from training. Training has to do with the head, transformation is of the heart. Training has to do with skill, transformation has to do with inner quality character. Some pass through the university, but the university never passes through them. Yes, they have BSc, MSc but lack leadership qualities. There are professors of theology because they follow the training but have no moral values. There are pastors who can quote the bible from Genesis to revelation but they will still do things that dishonor God. Jesus will call you as you are but will not use you as you are. The Acts of the Apostle is about fishermen transformed to apostles. He will call you as you are he will use you as he has transformed you. Until Moses was transformed from a hot tempered murderer to the meekest man at 80 God could not entrust millions of people to his hand.( Numbers 12:3) Transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit with your cooperation. Acts 2:1-4. Do you know why people cross carpet from church to church today? Do you know why a pastor will come to a church, today and after one year he break the church and over 70% of the congregation will follow him her in error? Lack of heart transformation. They know the letters, but they lack the character. When Jesus was hammering about heart transformation in John 6 what happened?"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." John 6:66; it looks like the sign of the Anti-Christ '666' Don't be part of John 6:66 now so that you will not be a victim of 666 in the latter days.
Have a purpose: A leader has focus, vision and knows what he wants to do for the people. Leadership is about accomplishing things for the kingdom. When Peter was trained, and transformed in one day he had 3000 converts. You will agree with me it is not easy to catch 3000 fishes in a day, but when you follow Jesus command "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" catching 3000 human beings for Christ in less than 30 minutes sermon is about fulfilling purpose.
Conclusion: Churches are yearning for good ministerial leaders.Students are crying for morally upright professors. Electorates are seeking for political leaders that will fulfill their manifestos. Children are in jail because of prodigal fathers. Youth are roaming the streets because of bad economy due to improper governance as a result of bad leadership. The list is endless. It is time for you to take your rightful place and join the queue of those who want to be good leaders. You, yes the reader!
Alfred Nobel said 'every man should have a right to re-write his history.' That is my wish for you.
Develop the spirit of a good leader. Pass this article on.
Oh, I pray for my country Nigeria, my continent Africa, that God will raise up leaders that will not allow us to waste away as a generation any more in the wilderness!
Oh, that God will help us as ministers in the church to develop the spirit of good leadership to take the church back to where God intents her to be.
Oh that God will help the leaders of CANADA not to legalize marijuanas and derail the youth in a journey to the abyss!
Acknowledgment and appreciation.
I want to thank all the people that gave feedback about my last write up on "Avoiding Distraction" It is highly appreciated.
The strategic leadership conference under the platform of The International Gathering of Eagles Conference ,Europe 2017 will take place in Liverpool, England May 6-7, Dublin, Ireland, May 8-10, Stockholm Sweden,May 12-13. Watch out for details and be part of it.