Archive for ‘Leadership’

October 2, 2012

What It Means To Be Called

by pastortimfowler

I have been blessed to be the pastor of my church for 10 years now. In those ten years I have seen a lot of stuff that many might take for granted, but I am still amazed at. Like when people who are one day going to hell if they die and in the very moment that they ask God to forgive them they change their direction toward going to heaven. The church is a place where people from every walk of life should be able to come and find love and forgiveness. God loves people so much that He let His Son Jesus die on a cross as payment for our sin. Once a person accepts this forgiveness, God begins a process of growing us into people who serve others. He requires His people to take a personal role in developing new believers, called discipleship, and often calls men and women to become more than just believers, to become ministers of the gospel. In our church lately we have had several men who have said that they feel called to this ministry; wow!. It is the call that I answered almost 20 years ago and feel very privileged to have done so.
So what does it mean to be called? Everyone is being called to answer God’s call of salvation. Few are called to the ministry in an official capacity and that is what I am talking about. A pastor, evangelist, missionary, youth or children’s pastor all are things that come with a specific calling. The Bible gives some specific instructions in the books of 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus for those who are called. It tells us things like we should not be drunks, we should manage money well, and we should have our family in order. Sadly, many people don’t care about those things and they leave themselves open for criticism and corruption and Satanic attacks. But one of the main things that the Bible teaches about this call is that it is a call to be a servant and that few will be called, but those who are called are called for life.
It was Jesus who said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. God made salvation very easy to obtain but the call into the ministry unique. Way too often men answer the call to ministry with an idea of a position of authority. Perhaps they should think about Jesus washing feet, the job of the lowest ranking servant. Perhaps they should remember that Jesus said that the greatest among us will be the servant.
Titles can be worn by anybody. But they can only be exemplified by those who live out what that title requires. Pastor is a title that has its roots in being a shepherd. Shepherds were not highly thought of in society and rarely told people what to do. Instead they put their lives on the line for some pretty simple animals who needed protection. They have the position of a leader but the responsibility of a servant. Leading as a shepherd means having sheep follow, not telling them where to go and what to do.
Those who are called into ministry must learn to be humble. Humility is rarely a normal human quality. We are taught early and often to look out for number one and that we deserve the best. Jesus was the ultimate minister. He humbled himself even to the point of dying on a cross for those who hated Him. He healed sick, fed the poor, and raised the dead and yet never took the credit for doing great things. His main focus was saving the souls of a fallen mankind who cannot save themselves.
When you are called into the ministry it means that you get serious about becoming not only a teacher, but a student. Although God equips those that He calls, He expects us to submit ourselves to the teaching of those who have gone before us. Sometimes that means submitting to someone without a title or someone who’s personality clashes with our own. Sometimes it means serving in a position that no one else wants to do, not even yourself. Sometimes you have to do it for longer than you want to and remember that you have been called to serve God and man even if man doesn’t give the recognition that you want.
But ultimately being called into the ministry means that God knows that you can do what He has called you to do. What He calls you to do should be the highest priority and pleasing Him the goal. Sometimes the rewards are very obvious, but often they will only be recognized when we get to heaven. But the call to ministry is a life long calling that is worth every second that you serve. Romans 11:29- God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone. This means when you want to quit, you don’t. It means when you  get tired, you dig deeper for strength. It means when you don’t see rewards for your efforts that you remember where your rewards are stored, in heaven, and you keep serving in faith.
I have been blessed in that I have been able to make it through some tough times since I have been called. I have seen many souls saved and lives changed and now I am seeing others called. I would love to take credit for some of these things, but I must always keep in mind that if I don’t do what God calls me to do, there are others who will. I am not needed by God, but I am wanted by Him. He loves me; first enough to save me, and secondly enough to call me into this crazy life of ministry. What it means to be called into the ministry is really quite simple. It means that God is God and we have surrendered to Him no matter the cost.

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September 25, 2012

Replacement Refs

by pastortimfowler

Football_Referee

The big talk today is about the horrible calls by the replacement refs in this years NFL season, especially last night’s game that cost Green Bay a win. I have to admit that it was one of the most bizarre finishes to a game that I have ever seen. But, what do you expect when you try to replace the best with anything else? There is a reason why the NFL refs are there. It is the same reason the players are there; They are the best at what they do.
I hate to jump on people who are only doing the best that they can. I absolutely do not believe that these refs purposefully made bad calls. After all, many of them are trying to get their big break in order to make it to the big leagues. They are performing to the level that most of us will never achieve and they are doing it under a whole lot of pressure. Even the best make mistakes and blow it from time to time. I guess the real question should be, what is going on and how do you fix it so that the best come back?
But here is the point that I want to make. Are you training someone up to do what you do? Now I am not talking about everything being replaced such as a mom or dad or spouse, but rather in your job or at church or in something that you are responsible for accomplishing.
Many times when I counsel couples, they say stuff like, “he never helps with the children” or “she never helps with the yard work”. Could it be that they don’t know how? Often after the loss of a loved one to divorce or death, there is a spouse who does not know how to pay the bills or get groceries or take care of the kids, so maybe we are talking about everything being replaced. I know that at church there are lots of times when someone is out due to illness or vacation and no one knows what to do in their absence. So we tell everyone at our church to train up their replacement.
Maybe you are not training someone because you feel like if you are replaced, you won’t feel needed. But if you are doing it for that reason, then maybe your motivation is wrong. I appreciate it when someone in a position that is vital to things going smoothly is out and I don’t notice it because the person that filled in for them did an excellent job. Even if they did not do the job to the same level of expertise, the fact that they were there and could do the job at all is awesome. And, over time, they will get better and we will grow and there will be an opportunity for more people to do ministry and more people will be needed to fill in. That is healthy.
But far to often, we look at things with the glass half empty mentality. We should start being happy that there is someone who can ensure that things continue rather than come to a screeching halt. Maybe we need to be grateful for replacement refs because we are football fans rather than football critiques. Maybe we should be grateful when our spouse or kid cuts the grass even if they missed a spot. Maybe we should be thankful for supper being cooked, even if it doesn’t taste like mom’s cooking. Maybe we should be fans of those who do the job to the best of their ability and save the criticism for those who never lift a finger to help.
Remember that all of us were once less than proficient at what we do. There has only been one perfect person and He got nailed to a cross. But He also started training up some replacements who we all know don’t do it as well as He did. But God is our biggest fan and really loves the fact that the game did not stop when Jesus was away. Instead of stopping the game, He made a way for us to keep on playing.
So as we wait for the real refs to return, lets enjoy the fact that at least we get to watch the game. At least someone was trained well enough to fill in. At least someone trained the replacements well enough to allow for them to step up when others were stepping down.
Please Lord, let me be thankful for those who are doing the best that they can and let me be more of a fan than a complainer.

September 24, 2012

Answer The Call

by pastortimfowler

Old Bibles, Book Craftsman 7-2012

Over that last two weeks there have been two men in our church who have stepped up to say that they believe that God is calling them into the ministry. I remember when I finally made that announcement and it was very difficult because of the disbelief that God could use someone like me. But, 18 years later, I am the pastor of a church that is growing like crazy and now has men who are being called. It is truly a humbling experience.
I remember back before President Obama was even the nominee, when Hillary Clinton ran an ad asking the question, who do you want answering the call at 4am when the world’s peace is at hand. It was questioning whether or not the other candidate was qualified to be put in such a position of authority and responsibility. I thought that it was a great ad, but obviously it was not met with the answer that she wanted people to give.
All throughout the Bible, God calls men and women to serve Him and they begin to doubt that they are qualified. The truth of the matter is that no one is qualified on our own merits. You don’t get qualified by going to school or even seminary. You are not born with a knack for pastoring a church or preaching the gospel. It is purely a call from God. Because of this, no one feels worthy of the call. Moses argued with God when he was told to go and speak to Pharaoh. Ezekiel argued that he was just a youngster. None stepped up to say something like, ‘Finally, God. I was wondering when you were going to pick the right person’.
There is an old saying that I wish I could take credit for but I can’t. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. It is one of the most truthful sayings ever made. Somehow, God takes messed up people and uses them to win souls and spread the message of hope. He takes people like me, who were drunks and drug addicts and sets them free and lets that horrible past become a testimony of God’s awesome love and power.
These two guys are part of a group of 5 others who have expressed a “call” in their lives by God to do something other than just come to church. I meet with them every Thursday morning at 6am for breakfast and try to share from my experience some useful bits of information that may help them along the way. Most of the time I spend sharing God’s words and my mistakes. They say that we should learn from our mistakes and I therefore may be the smartest man in the world if that is how I am learning. But I really want to encourage these guys to trust in God and give Him everything they can to fulfill the call.
Everyone who claims to be a Christian needs to know that God is calling you to do more than sit in a pew or a chair on Sunday. That is not why Jesus died on a cross. We are all called to share the love of Christ with others. Not all are called to pastor a church and lead mission trips around the world, or hold crusades like Billy Graham. But, we are all called to let our light shine before men and glorify our Father in heaven. Because of this, we need to answer the call. What can you do to be more than someone who just goes to church? It may be as simple as smiling and saying hello to someone who is lonely. Perhaps you can call people throughout the week a let someone know that you are praying for them. Maybe you can give extra so that someone else can go where you can’t. Whatever it may be, if God is calling, you will not be sorry for answering. I know that I have never regretted the moment that I said yes to God and I know that you won’t be either.
Answer the call.

September 13, 2012

Don’t Spend It!

by pastortimfowler

Golden_Dollar_Sign

So the federal government is going to do another stimulus package. Where is this money coming from? Last time I checked, the US was trillions in debts and the last 2 or 3 stimulus packages did nothing to stimulate. I know that the rich have plenty of money, but even if we took it all from them it would not pay off the current debt. The federal government does not produce goods for the money they get, they get it from the citizens and there is not enough of my money left to pay any more to a wasteful bunch of government bureaucrats. STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON”T HAVE!!!
I can’t go out tomorrow and borrow enough money to pay off my house that I still owe on and expect my financial situation to get better. I can’t put all of my bills on a credit card and expect it to stimulate my savings account and retirement fund, nor will it give me more to eat in the next few months. Sadly there are not even enough jobs out there for me to get another one in order to make more money to pay my bills, which if I were in a financial mess would be the right thing for me to try to do, much less get another job to pay of the governments debts that I did not cause.
The American people are being duped into a financial disaster that can’t be fixed without someone putting a stop to this outrageous spending of our tax dollars. It is not because we are not paying enough in taxes, no matter who you are, it is that the government is spending money that it doesn’t have. Can anyone tell me how printing more money and going into debt helps create jobs? How does going into debt make things better if you aren’t making enough money to pay what you already owe? Stupidity is running a muck in Washington DC and I am sick of it. I am calling and writing my elected officials and telling them that they are fired if they spend one more dollar that I make and don’t have to give to them. If they want to stimulate the economy, grow a pair and make the tough decisions to be responsible with my money. Say no to more to printing and borrowing and spending. Resign and quit getting paid with my tax dollars if you want to stimulate the economy. I have a 3-year-old grandkids that can lose the money I give to her and she doesn’t require a six figure paycheck to do it.

July 11, 2012

Attitude Checks Can’t Be Mailed

by pastortimfowler

Outlet says oh

I am in the process of doing some organizing at our church, mainly with staff and volunteer leaders. This means meetings and reminders of what our vision is and what we are trying to achieve and, of course, attitude checks. Most of them are good attitudes, but from time to time, some attitudes get negative, including my own. Positive attitudes are vital to success and way to often we forget this. Sometimes we think that our negative attitudes are the most important in the room and, that may be so in your own mind, but usually is the farthest from the truth in the minds of others. And…in the church it is supposed to be more about others than ourselves.
I saw a sign over the entrance to a bar one time that said please check firearms and attitudes at the door. I love that. Maybe we should hang that sign over the church door. But then I would have to leave my firearm outside and if you forget to check your attitude one day I would be left defenseless. But it would be nice to leave our attitudes at home when we come to be servants like Jesus. Jesus had a right to have an attitude. He was getting accused of wrong doing when in fact He was innocent. I may come close, but the rest of y’all are far from innocent. We are fortunate that God retired the old ways of just killing everyone who had a bad attitude. Church attendance would have dropped by several after my last meeting if He was still dong it that way. Why in some churches they would even have to find a new pastor every other week or so. But that is not how God chooses to deal with us. Instead He let Jesus take the death for us and then constantly reminds Himself that His death was in our place and therefore He shouldn’t kill us, yet.
Listen, church people have it tough. We are supposed to be “good” and yet we are stuck in these bodies that scream out, “ME! ME! ME!” No not the singing, Mi Mi Mi. The “me” factor is what causes people who don’t believe in God to think that they don’t need to believe in a God that lets His people act like some of us do. So no matter how hard we try to be good, we screw up and act selfish and forget about checking our attitudes at the door. I think that we should check them at the door both coming and going.
The Apostle Paul said in one of his writings that he died daily to self so that he could live better for Christ. Most people don’t even want to think about dying themselves and certainly don’t want to live under someone else’s guidelines, especially when they go against “what’s in it for me”. But that is exactly what being a Christian is supposed to be about. Giving up selfish desires and thinking about what is best for someone else. Far too often we fail, but that is what grace is for.
Attitudes are often a great indicator of what is in our hearts. If our hearts are full of me stuff then our attitudes are going to quickly become negative when someone asks us to do something for others. If our hearts are full of God stuff, then it is harder to have a bad attitude when we are asked to serve others. So, checking our attitudes often is important, especially if we are going to tell others that we are Christians and even more so if you are going to assume the role of a leader in a church. I may print a sign for this weekend to check the attitudes at the door. But maybe it should read, “attitude checks can not be mailed, they must be made in person”.

February 14, 2012

Shepherd Leadeship

by pastortimfowler

This weekend is our church’s big annual leadership meeting. We meet informally several times a year in smaller groups, but once a year I like to get everyone together for a pep talk and brainstorming session. Leadership is a not something that comes natural for most people. In our society we have cultivated a mentality of followers where leadership is an idea or an object is the driving force. You see it in the push to accept culturally relative issues like views on marriage and religion. In our political realm we are being lead by class warfare and guilt trips rather than desires that help all.
Churches have fallen into a mode of leadership voids that do not reflect what God intended for us. We have committees and groups that tell the pastors how they should act and popularity contests that elect our deacons and elders. We have lost the God given authority of leaders to a more comfortable group format. An old pastor friend of mine once said this. “In nature, where there is more than one head on a creature, it is a freak. Where there is no head, it is either a worm or dead.” Is it any wonder our churches are looked upon with such low regard by society?
The biblical leadership example given in the Bible for those who would lead God’s people is most always the shepherd. Sure there were kings and dictators, but that was not by God’s design. Even those kings that were most revered by God were those who were first shepherds, like David. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep do not form committees and have power struggles with their shepherd. They do trust the shepherd and submit to his leadership.
A shepherd is the one who is responsible for the well being of the flock. If he fails at his job, the whole flock can be lost. You can sum up the shepherd’s job like this. He is to provide a safe healthy place for the sheep to live and reproduce. The shepherd does not reproduce sheep. Sheep do that. But in many churches the people have somehow gotten the idea that their job is to find someone who will grow the church for them. Meanwhile they can eat and relax inside the comforts of the building and not have to worry.
A shepherd leader knows his sheep. He does not ask them if they want to eat from this pasture or the other. He leads them to the best food. He does not ask them if they want to drink from the stagnate pool or the trickling stream, he takes them to the good water. He does not let sick sheep infect the entire flock. He may have to carry one or even remove one from time to time to save the whole flock. And the shepherd does not have to ask his sheep if they want to reproduce, because healthy sheep like to do that and do it naturally.
The leader that God wants will lead the sheep to where they need to go. Protect them from any dangers. He stays in the field and is always alert for threats that want to sneak in and kill or steal. A shepherd often smells like a sheep and rarely smells like a king. And no king is ever loved by the sheep like the shepherd is loved by the sheep. Sheep trust the shepherd because he is who leads them with their best interest at heart.
I love teaching our leaders this philosophy. They seem to get it. Maybe that is why our church is seeing people bring their friends to church and to Jesus. Shepherding is not easy, but is very rewarding. One day the shepherd will meet the King and my prayer is that the humble shepherds will hear the King say, “Well done!”

January 6, 2012

Make Disciples

by pastortimfowler

By now those who follow my blogs have noticed that these early 2012 blogs have been rather serious. Don’t lose heart, the humor is still here, but the challenge to tweak a few things in my life has hit me pretty hard. Many in our church have been saying for months that we felt like God was going to do something big in our church this year and I agree. But I have always believed that God will start with the leader and this time is not different.
Jesus gave the command to go into all the world and make disciples, and, this is something I love, but can improve on. Standing before a group of people on Sunday mornings preaching a sermon is not making disciples. It is an important part of my calling and I love it, but God expects all of us to help others grow in their Christian life. This is not any different from any other family. Older brothers and sisters should help teach the younger siblings how to be productive parts of the family. Since the church is full of brothers and sisters in Christ with God as our Father, it only makes sense that we help the young to grow in their faith.
My wife and I have taken this challenge serious for years, and I can look back through the years at the younger brothers and sisters that have grown and are now teaching others. This year we are purposefully picking a few young men and women to pour our lives into. We are not going to teach them to be deacons or Sunday School teachers, but we are going to teach them how to know what God has in store for them and help them pursue that.
A wise man once told me that you only have to be one step ahead to lead. This sounds simplistic and it is true. But what we are missing is the fact that much too often, those who are a step ahead end up sitting still and stay where they are, thus they quit leading and began gathering a crowd. Jesus was not about gathering crowds, He gathered a group of people to live with and teach a lifestyle to, not a position in the church. He taught them about life as His follower, not how to act in a building on Sundays.
Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to teach people how to have church. We are to teach people how to have Christ, then how to live as Christians. Christianity is meant to be a life of discipline in the ways of Christ. That is what a disciple is, someone who is disciplined. Discipline is not punishment, it is living under control and in subjection to the ways of Christ. It is about learning how to do what the Bible says and not just learning what it says. And, for a person to do this they must first see it in action.
If you are one step ahead, keep taking the steps needed to lead. Don’t rest because you feel as if you have reached your potential. God has no limits and neither do the ones who follow His ways. Church is not the place where Christians live, it is the pit stop in the race to the finish. It is where we rest and fuel up and get a cool drink of living water in order to go back out and run the race.
I am looking forward to leading this group of young men. I eagerly look forward to the day that they are leading others and so on. After Jesus left this world to go and prepare a place for us, he left behind men and women who understood that the leading was now on them. Each one of them was responsible for leading others and then those were responsible for even more. Fast forward and couple of thousand years and millions upon millions have come to know Christ. The family has grown and yet somehow we seem to have reached the point where we are satisfied with a weekend meeting. It is time to rethink what the church has become and return to the command of Christ to make disciples.

November 7, 2011

Hip-Hop Joy

by pastortimfowler

Our church had a youth ministry event last night and the main part of it was a hip-hop concert. I do not care for hip-hop and don’t think that I will any time soon. I kind of feel like my dad when he use to complain about my rock and roll music. But what I do like is the message and the heart of those who were performing. These young men were reaching out to the youth in a way that I could not and would not. My calling is not a hip-hop ministry, (thank you Jesus) and is not a ministry to youth (as a group). Mine is to pastor a church that is full of a very diverse group of people.
Ministry is not my way or your way, it is God’s way of using me and you to reach those who don’t know Him. If everyone had a hip-hop ministry, people like me would likely die and go to hell. As much as I want to be cool and hip, I fall just a hop short of hip. But God did not leave ministry to be only one way and that means that everyone has a ministry if they would only seek it.
I am good friends with a young man who has been doing hip-hop for years. He has built a ministry that reaches thousands and there is no telling how many young people have come to know Jesus because of what he does. In fact, he is the one who set us up to have the artists that performed last night. I was having lunch with him one day when I told him that I just didn’t understand that style of music and had a hard time appreciating it. I told him that I knew God was using him and that it was a ministry, but I had never been able to appreciate rap and hip-hop.
He told me that he understood and prayed for me because I was getting old and out dated. (Joke) Not really, but he did take time to explain the appeal that it had for him. He said it allowed him to continually flow with a thought to a beat and not be stuck with the traditional style of verse, chorus, verse, chorus that most music has. When he explained it to me that way, it made perfect sense  why he chose that style. It did not make me like hip-hop, nor did it make me want to change my ministry, but it did allow me to better understand how effective this can be in reaching people with the message of the gospel.
I have another friend whose ministry is to feed the poor. All he does is collect food and distribute it to those on the street. Another friend has a southern gospel group who sings the oldest style of music they can find. Still another friend of mine spends much of his time ministering to hard-core bikers. I know people who consider their ministry to be praying for people all the time and those who just sit with old people as they are dying. None of these are what I would choose to do on a regular basis nor has God called me to do, but then again they all say that they would never want to pastor a church like I do. And you know what? That’s the way it should be.
What is important is that if you are a Christian, you find something to do that reaches others with the love of Christ. Although more traditional forms of ministry like teaching and preaching are fine, most people miss the boat because they only focus on such things. But God gives great joy to those who serve Him and I feel that if you aren’t experiencing joy in a ministry, you are probably not doing the ministry that God wants you to do.
I have heard it said many times from many people who if you do what you love as a job, that you will never work the rest of your life. The idea is that work is no fun but doing what you love is not work. I see too many Christians that serve in churches and are miserable and complaining that no one else will do it. Those are people who are not doing the ministry that God wants them to do. Sure we all have to do some things in life and ministry that aren’t fun, after all Jesus didn’t have fun dying on the cross. But Jesus also never complained, nor did He let anyone stop Him from doing what He was called to do. Jesus also said that He wanted us to have His joy and that comes from doing His work the way that He would have you to do it.
Search out what God would have you do, then find a place to do it and watch people come to know Jesus as you come to know great joy!

November 2, 2011

I Want To Be Great!

by pastortimfowler

King David was said to be a man after God’s heart. He did not start out as a king, in fact, he was a shepherd from a pretty normal family. When God chose him to be king, the only thing that he had going for him was that he trusted God and was a faithful shepherd. He was the kind of shepherd that did not mind the lonely nights and days and the dangers of wolves and lions. But he was not considered the strongest or bravest and wasn’t even the oldest of Jesse’s sons.
So why would God pick someone like that? We often look at great leaders as coming from a great bloodline and given everything from the finest schools to the finest training for taking over the leading role. The Bible says that God does not look at the outside and what we have to offer, but rather He looks on the inside, to what our heart has to offer, mainly faithfulness. And this shepherd boy from humble beginnings was that, faithful.
The history of David tells us that even after he was anointed king, there was a good bit of time before he actually took the throne. He spent much time ministering to an evil king that was trying to kill him. He remained faithful to whom God had put in place as a leader and even served him as the chief musician. During this time he gained the friendship and respect of the king’s son and many others who watched as the king tried to kill him.
David eventually fled to hide from the kings armies who were sent to kill him and many people followed him into hiding until the time was right to take on the battle at hand. Those who followed David were not the leaders of society, but many of them outcasts and fugitives. It was this group of rejected people who God used to defeat the king’s army and move David to the throne.
Once David became king, he never forgot those who helped him get there. He built a kingdom that was strong and one where the people respected the leader. God honored this and allowed the kingdom to expand and become the most powerful of its time. But then the riches and fame offered overwhelming temptation and David fell to it. He committed adultery and even murder to try to cover his sins. He became a miserable man, yet this did not change him from being known as a man after God’s heart. No, not right then, this title came early, before he was king, but God ensured that it stick throughout history. How?
If you read through the Psalms, you will see a time of writings that came from David, a broken man. One that realized that his sin was not just against an innocent woman and man, but most of all against a holy God that loved him. His misery and morning are poured out into these Psalms in a desperate cry for salvation and forgiveness and that is what seeks God’s heart.
God does not want the holy and righteous, because there are none. He seeks those who need to be forgiven because they have sinned and that includes all of us. When we fail, God does not want to punish us, but rather forgive and restore us, just as He did with David. I believe David wanted forgiveness more than any man ever has, and that is why he was known as a man after God’s heart. David knew God intimately and desired that closeness, especially once he realized he had lost it. When he cried out to God for help and sought forgiveness, God forgave him fully. He will do that for us too.
You don’t have to come from money or power or have a name that all know in order to be special in the eyes of God. All you need to do is humble yourself like David did and let God lift you up to greatness. Just don’t forget that the greatness God gives rarely looks like the greatness man claims. God, through Jesus Christ, can make you a child of the King and great in the Kingdom of God.

October 27, 2011

Take Me To Your Leader

by pastortimfowler

Who do you know that you would follow anywhere? Maybe a quick answer would be your spouse, but remember that I said anywhere. Would it be a policeman? How about your child? Now I want to ask, who would follow you anywhere and Why.
I am getting ready to read Dave Ramsey’s new book about leadership. It came highly recommended at a conference that I recently attended and because I like his approach to money and admire what he has done with his company, I want to see what he teaches about leadership. This is a subject that try to read at least a book or two a year about and I don’t think I can ever learn enough about the subject.
I often use the question, what kind of person must Jesus have been to have thousands of people follow Him into the wilderness without any food? Remember that they did not have drive-throughs, then, and restaurants were hard to come by in the wilderness. These people must have been crazy to follow a man they barely knew out into a hostile environment unless he had some pretty amazing qualities. This is the same man who told 12 men to follow Him and they left their jobs and did it for 3 years even though He continually told them that He was going to a cross to die.
As Christians, we are supposed to lead people to Jesus, and sadly, that does not happen with most of us in any great numbers. Sure, it is not an easy task in this present age, but I believe that there is one thing that is consistent that makes it easier, Jesus. He has not changed and He gives us the guidelines that allow this to happen. Maybe we should focus on those rather than what we are currently trying to do.
Leading others is something that takes a willingness to be bold and take the first step. But it also takes an ever-present awareness of watching the steps that we take as others are watching us. If we lead others in the wrong paths, who needs a leader? We must be willing to keep heading in the right direction even if people aren’t immediately following us. Sometimes people want to see if we believe that we are heading in the right direction before they tag along.
Another key to leading others and this is important, at least to me, is that they see joy in you as you head to where you are wanting to lead others. One of the promises of Jesus said that He would give us His joy. He did not say that he would make us happy or let us find joy, but rather He would give us the joy that He already had. To often I see Christians walking around as if they had lost their puppy or something. Even in church where we gather to worship, I see long faces and people afraid to act as if they believe that God is real. And after church if you go to a restaurant you will hear the church folks talking about long-winded preachers, bad music, and that hideous dress that she was wearing. To top it off, many waitresses will tell you that Sundays are their worst days for tips. Oh yeah, baby, follow me to life eternal! Where is the joy?
Leadership is not limited to CEO’s and Government officials and pastors. If you are a Christian you should take the lead. An old friend of mine once said that you only have to be one step ahead to lead. The challenge is to act like we want others to follow. Most people like the spotlight of leadership when there is a title and a pay-check involved, but Jesus tells us that the treasures in this world will go away, but the treasure in heaven are never-ending.
If you had to lead someone to a place that was as miserable as the wilderness of Israel, and you had no food, you had better be a dynamic person. Jesus was. But He did not say lead people to the wilderness, He said to lead them to Heaven, via Him. If McD’s was giving away free Big Macs and fries to everyone that you brought to them, you would have no problem putting on the smile and enthusiastically having people follow you there, even if it were the one across town. Jesus offers the Bread of life and Living Water and a place to stay in His mansion for all eternity to everyone you bring to Him. And, you won’t have to lead them far. Just take them to the cross.