I have heard Andy Stanley say the following words on many occasions. The first time I came across these words were in a book he wrote called “The Next Generation Leader” [which I highly recommend!]. Here’s the quote:
“Leadership is a stewardship. It’s temporary, and you’re accountable.”
These words have given me a new lens through which to see and evaluate my leadership.
First, leadership is not a right, it is a responsibility. It is given to us by God, to be used for his purposes, not ours.
Paul says in Romans 13, “6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.” [TNIV] Paul understood that, whether in a church, a company, or country, ultimately leadership, power, and influence are given by God to be used for God’s dream for the world.
People do not always use their opportunity to lead in this way. Leaders have often, throughout history, used their power to do disgusting, destructive things that grieve God’s heart, but that does not remove the truth that they are responsible for how they use their opportunity to lead.
Second, at best leadership is temporary. So often leaders get drunk with power, and live like there will never be a moment when they are not in control. But every leader will be called to account for the way they lead, and no one is promised tomorrow. Regardless of your title, it is at best temporary.
So, in light of these truths, how should leaders lead? How do we balance the authority we’ve been given with the call to serve others and place their needs above our own? How do we balance being given control, yet not becoming a control-freak?
How can we live and lead in such a way that we are humbly serving those around us, yet leading them toward the goal as well?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…