When a Christian woman finds herself leading, she will be wise to consider God’s purpose. It’s possible for her to completely separate her identity with Christ and lead like any other woman might lead, and by doing so, she’ll do herself and those around her a disservice. She might even lose the opportunity to be part of a wonderful plan God has to change the lives of those who work with her.
Shouldn’t a Christian leader lead differently? If not, why not?
In the course Leadership Theory, we’ll summarize a variety of leadership styles while focusing on a biblical approach for leadership. We’ll be asked to reflect deeply on how we have been transformed in order to be a transformational servant leader.
Being a Christian leader doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be quite simple. It will also transform us as we begin to serve our purpose so that we can participate in how He changes lives around us. It might also allow God to use us as a transformational servant leader.
If you are a Christian leader, how can you begin to know His purpose in the work He has given you? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Do the simple tasks God gives you to do! We can have our own plans, but until we let God give us some tasks to do, we won’t allow God to use us as he makes extraordinary changes in those who work with us. Sure, it may sound easy to give God our agendas, but won’t everyone think we are a bit crazy to ask God what He wants us to do? Are we afraid that His agenda will be too difficult for us to do?
God doesn’t ask us to do the impossible. He can do that! But are we willing to do the simple things He asks us to do?
One morning, I sat on my couch praying. This was strange coming from me, but I prayed, “Lord, is there something else that I need to do today?” Very quietly, a sentence formed in my head. “Go see the sick brother of your language teacher.” I wrote it down, and later that morning I called the Thai language school and got the hospital information.
Finding someone in a Thai hospital in Bangkok is easier said than done, but I had experience and I went. First, I stopped at the gift shop and bought a culturally appropriate gift to take to a sick person, signed the card in Thai, and asked about the ward where I would visit the brother.
I found the room empty except for the brother, who was in a coma. “Lord, did I get this right? This wasn’t even something on my mind until I prayed. What do I do now?” So, I simply put my gift on the table, held his hand, and spoke in Thai to introduce myself. “You don’t know me, but I’m a farang (Thai word for Westerner) who is a student of your sister. I know that you’ve done a lot of great work here in Thailand working on the roads and waterways. I am a Christian, and I want to pray for you before I go.” I prayed for him in Thai (which is always a little tricky because praying for someone required me to use a special language—but after all he was in a coma and wouldn’t likely notice all of my mistakes).
At the end of the prayer, he did not magically wake up out of his coma, and I guess the good news is that he didn’t die on the spot, either! I don’t know if he heard me or not. I was still alone in the room, so I left and went back home. Well, God. I did that! What’s the next odd thing you want me to do? I had my questions about whether or not that message came from God until a few weeks later.
I learned about the death of my teacher’s brother, and I went to the funeral. When I greeted my Thai teacher, she grabbed me by the arm and introduced me to the whole family. “Here’s that Christian girl who came to visit.” Sibling after sibling stopped and talked with me. I told them how sorry I was to hear about their brother. The language teacher would not stop until I had met every one of her siblings. They all acted like they knew me, and I just continued to say, “I’m so sorry to hear about your brother.”
Finally, my teacher sent me home and thanked me. “You see, they don’t know Christ. But you showed them that Christians care about people.” I knew that it was difficult for my teacher. Few in her family knew Christ. She may have felt quite alone there with all of the chanting from the monks we could hear in the background.
I’m not sure if any of them changed their beliefs, but God certainly changed me by giving me a desire to know His purposes for my days.
2. Discover some of the attitudes and prejudices you may have hidden inside. It is a joy to work in a place where the leadership from the top down is there to serve one another. We all believe that the work we are doing belongs to God and that no work is beneath us. Yet, even in this setting, there may be some areas in which we are not completely free to serve one another because of some beliefs we have not considered.
Take this five question self-survey found in our Leadership Theory course and consider your own attitudes about servant leadership:
- Which of the following would you honestly be ashamed to do?
- Work at a fast-food restaurant
- Walk to work daily because you don’t have a car
- Bring a sandwich to work every day
- Collect cans from a dump to recycle
- None of these
- Does education level have any value to you in the kinds of friends you choose?
- In what ways do you consider yourself a servant leader in your home or office?
- List two ways in which you would like to grow as a servant leader.
- Give an example of a time that you have served someone in the last day or two.
Are there any cases in which you believe that certain kinds of work are beneath you or that a person of your “status” shouldn’t be doing? This area is certainly a downfall for many who want to lead but who do not want to serve.
Even while on the missions field, missionaries need to model servant leadership—being careful that they don’t allow cultural differences to dictate the kinds of work they are willing to do in order to honor Christ and His kingdom. Demanding parking spaces and respect from others does not make one more like Christ. Jesus’ kingdom may be somewhat counterintuitive in comparison to our views of what we should and shouldn’t do.
Let’s take full notice of what Jesus stated and modeled for His disciples who also wanted to be great in the kingdom.
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11–12 NIV).
3. Take off your mask and lead with your weaknesses exposed. We often lead with an understanding that we are supposed to know all of the answers and appear strong in every area of leadership, when in reality, no leader is without weaknesses. When we are willing to find those areas and recognize them, God can do some amazing work in transforming the way we lead.
We’ve seen some beautiful examples of those who embraced weakness as a way to empower others to serve. Yes, we can leave on our masks and pretend to be the perfect leader we were called to be, but then we would look like the rest of the leaders in our company.
Do we really want to let God use us as He changes the lives of those around us? If we do, we’ll need to show others who we are so that they can have hope in Him.
A perfect person doesn’t really need Jesus.
4. Commit four weeks of deep reflection time and let God transform you. Are you ready to begin a journey to look at the biblical implications of becoming a transformational servant leader?
My challenge to you is to take four weeks to look deeply at what Jesus says, what He modeled, and where you are now in becoming a transformational servant leader. This professional and spiritual development course costs $30.00 and includes your course text. It will take one hour each weekday for four weeks to delve deeply into reflection about your own leadership style. You will be able to apply what you learn in whatever setting in which you serve as a leader—whether at your office, in your church, in your community, or in your home.
Will you register today and join me, starting August 1?
August 1 – September 1
In this course participants will:
- Explore foundations for effective leadership
- Briefly discuss theories in leadership today
- Consider the role of a servant leader
- Know oneself as a leader
- Be aware of potential conflicts involved in leadership
- See the need for setting boundaries
- Learn what it means to be a transformed and transformational leader
Dr. Noel Forlini, a lecturer at Baylor University, guides us on a four-week journey to discover what it means to be a transformed and transformational leader. Based on the Bible, Leadership Theory combines Scripture passages, personal reflection, and leadership theory along with an online forum, quizzes, discussions, and reading assignments.
There is not a set time when you need to be online, but we suggest that you complete each week’s assignments within the week that you receive them in order to benefit most from other participants in the course with you.
This $30 course begins August 1 and includes a PDF copy of Servant Leadership: A Biblical Study for Becoming a Christlike Leader (New Hope Publishers), by Rhonda H. Kelley.
Taking a leadership course from a woman’s perspective was empowering. As a Christian, learning godly leadership is a huge plus. The focus on servant leadership reminded me that my leadership style should follow that of Christ. This course will help others regardless of their leadership role, church organization, or business world. —Gwendolyn Sutton
I would recommend this course. It will make the participant a much more God-led leader and strengthen her prayer life. —Cheryl Hatfield
I think every leader needs to go through this course. It puts leadership in the right perspective. —Denise Edwards
Claudia Johnson, CWLC leadership consultant