Leadership is multifaceted and dynamic; it’s both a gift and a responsibility. This pandemic season is the first time in our church history where, in various locations, we cannot gather in person. It’s brought forth new ways to engage and gather online while we remain apart. Nearly six months on, and I’m more passionate than ever to lead our church well. How about you? Are you isolating or isoleading through these times?
The apostle Paul was well acquainted with isolation. At various times throughout his life, he was detained in different jails and prisons. His life and ministry proved that isolation does not mean desolation! Whether you are in isolation or physically distanced from the church community you love, take care to embrace these seven aspects of leadership that can be found throughout Paul’s writing as you navigate this season:
Are you up for a challenge? It’s important that you don’t just expect those who follow you to be up for a challenge, but that you also personally undertake the responsibility of being challenged. Paul’s writings and teachings are full of challenges: Galatians 6:6 challenges us toward generosity; Galatians 6:9 challenges us to not grow weary in doing good.
Perhaps you need to challenge those you lead to stay engaged in this season, reminding them to not lose heart and that we are all in this together. Allow me to challenge you to stay motivated, stay busy, stay healthy, stay safe and stay in touch. Do not let the current circumstances deprive you of God’s promises that are still at work in your life today!
Smartphones have auto-correct, but unfortunately, life doesn’t. It’s imperative for leaders to be open to correction. Second Timothy 3:16–17 (NKJV) reads, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Scripture is full of correction and instruction — it is our constant source of truth. Leading well, especially during challenging seasons, means being open to correction and not shying away from bringing correction to your team when it is needed.
What are your convictions? Have you been holding fast to them through this season? A few convictions that remain true for Bobbie and I are: to be generous at heart, youthful in spirit, faith-filled in confession, loving in nature and to be committed to serving the Lord with gladness! In every season, let’s be people who know the power of our convictions and allow the Holy Spirit to keep working in and through our lives.
And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. (2 Corinthians 7:11–13 MSG)
This year has certainly caused challenges and difficulties for people all over the world. Many are facing unemployment, health concerns, political unrest, injustice and indescribable tensions. Never underestimate the anxiety others are feeling – we are called to comfort, uphold and be patient with all.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NKJV) reads, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
Who can you comfort today? Perhaps you could write a note to a friend, or call someone you know could use some comfort. We’re all better together and have the capability to help uplift one another.
Encouragement means to “put courage in.” Paul’s writings are full of courage injections! He put courage into the churches he led and inspired multitudes to live with faith and boldness. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I also enjoy The Passion translation, “… And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” Like Paul, who endured many difficulties, let’s endeavour to live courageously and inspire others to do the same — it is Christ who strengthens you and will supply all you need to serve Him!
Paul consistently pointed people toward commission. Right now, there is tremendous opportunity to share the Gospel. The world needs its Saviour, and you and I are carriers of this life-giving and powerful Gospel. How has Jesus changed your life? How can you share your story with others? The Great Commission (see Matthew 28:18–20) is emboldening to read, and Jesus closes the commission by reminding His followers that He is with us always: “And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Hearts have been opened by these challenging times, and you have all you need to share the Good News.
Judgment and ‘cancel culture’ are widespread at the moment, yet God compels us to a different way of life: to dress in a wardrobe of compassion, kindness and humility (see Colossians 3:12–13). Whenever Jesus was moved with compassion, something powerful would happen. Compassion can build bridges and create a pathway for miracles to take place. Paul writes in Galatians 5:22–23 (MSG), “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” If you find it difficult to be compassionate, take a moment to ask God to help compassion be a part of your everyday wardrobe.
Paul led brilliantly from isolation, which means we can too. Let’s refuse to settle; instead, let’s have a determination to be leaders who employ challenge, correction, conviction, comfort, courage, commission and compassion throughout every facet of our leadership. Every season has a reason. Stay in faith; seasons pass and there will be a day when we will all get through this and to the other side.