I believe all Christians are called to be leaders in some fashion, based on a unique amalgamation of their personality characteristics, spiritual gift(s), and their history or upbringing.
Leaders Come From Nature And Nurture
The following notes and leadership principles are taken from American heroes of mine I have studied, including George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Patrick Henry, Joshua Chamberlain, and John Wooden… just to name a few. I do believe leaders come from nature and nurture. Some, it occasionally seems, are born to lead (nature and DNA/heredity); most are made (nurture/environment). Leadership is in large part learned.
Many great leaders–like Lee, Jackson, and Chamberlain (outstanding Union officer in the American Civil War – held key left flank at Gettysburg, and was given the honor by General U.S. Grant of accepting the Confederate surrender at Appomattox), essentially felt that: Man proposes, God disposes…or…Man plans his path, God directs his path.
Heroes and Mentors
You may not be especially inspired by General Robert E. Lee, Coach John Wooden, Texan Ranger Leander McNelly, or some of my favorites, but every young person needs heroes and mentors….
HEROES (or models): should be deceased – can thoroughly examine their life – taken from the Bible and history
MENTORS: still alive, usually you know them or have some contact with them; can serve as examples, life coaches, givers of advice, support, and inspiration. Don’t make them heroes yet, though; the jury is still out on them (they’re fallen – can still mess up!) We all need mentors – get some good ones … or the culture will choose them for you!
Common Leadership Characteristics
- Strong sense of responsibility, honor, and duty
- Ordered, or organized
- Not disposed to frivolous pursuits
- Seemingly committed to “redeem the time” (as Scripture commands)
- Commitment to Self-Education
- Always raising the bar on themselves – regular self-evaluation
- Do what’s necessary even when it’s uncomfortable
- Recognition that you are who you associate with – keep away from “basement” people – they’ll try to pull you down
- Consistent and persistent
“At moments of crisis, men will do what has become the habits of their heart.”
– General Joshua Chamberlain
Always remember, circumstances do not define your character, they reveal it and become the opportunity to refine it; like with Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, as exemplified at Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Appomattox (and later Governor and Senator from Maine).
Virtues … Christian Manhood
- Strong and Courageous – to embrace the responsibilities of life
- Sensitive and Compassionate – in the engagement of personal and family relationships (see I Corinthians 16:13-14)
A Leader Manifests
- Character – what’s inside; how you act when nobody’s looking; integrity
- Content – substance; you have to know your stuff
- Competencies — skills
Hard Edge Of Leadership
What are you willing to lose for the cause of your core values?
- Great leaders know what their mission is and commit themselves to it
- Great leaders take care of their people, and never use them
- Great leaders are always reproducing themselves
- Great leaders are agents of positive change (see Hebrews 13:7)
Are you going to be an overcomer, or overwhelmed?
“Never take counsel with your fears.”
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
(II Timothy 1:7)
Character and Honor always matter . . . remember, NO sin is private – always has consequences (many examples from the Bible and American history)
Leadership always works…
Bad leadership = bad results
Good leadership = good results
Right now, we have a lack of leadership and faith in America – leading to, among other things, a lack of trust . . .
Lack of Trust
Will multiply legislation
Will multiply litigation
So remember, all leaders are learners (always learning), and character is most important. If you have it, you will go get the content (got to know your stuff) … (see I Peter 3:15)
One of the major goals of a real leader is to create more leaders. Some traits of leaders who are reproducing leaders:
- Always learners (Luke 2:52)
- Seize their personal learning moments (and hold no pity parties) (Hebrews 4,5)
- Always coaching, teaching, giving it away
- Never do anything by yourself
- You want your people to seize their personal learning moments . . . when adversity pops up, when they fail . . . (is character strengthening even possible without adversity?)
- Put what you’re teaching into memorable maxims
Remember, as a Christian, it’s all about grace (Ephesians 2:8). Grace through faith always leaves tracks (true saving grace produces works). A full Christian life is not determined by longevity and many years, but the fullness of the knowledge of Christ within those years.
Christians and leaders should consistently guard the words that come out of their mouth (Proverbs). Everybody who has to be somebody at the expense of somebody is a nobody – like some pop culture pundits, those with empty lives who live to spout scathing vitriol on social media, and current taunting and trash-talking in sports.
- When you do the right thing at the right time, good things always come from it.
- Never be discouraged by your life; the next good thing you do for God’s glory may have tremendous repercussions.
- God’s grace is greater than all our sin.
- Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to do one’s duty in the face of fear. (Psalm 15:3)
- Guard your heart. Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Prov. 4:23). Thoughts are things; as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7).
Written by : Dr. Robin Johnson
Dr. Robin Johnson’s love of geography, the natural world and the outdoors as well as enthusiasm for learning about history and science—particularly paleontology— has led him to research these interrelated topics and share his findings with others. Read my complete bio.