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  • "A Musing Pastor"

A quality sorely lacking.

We're talkin' leadership this morning. Wanna join? What elements do you look for in a leader? Is it charisma, bravery, ingenuity, or some other quality? A couple days ago, I listened to a local christian radio station and the speaker was describing the quintessential leader. The topic was pastoral leadership but I believe the concepts shared in this radio spot would work in any discipline. Here is the gist of what was shared.

There are three things one should expect to find in outstanding leaders.

Credentialing - One who has been well trained and has internalized the teaching material to a degree that all of the information is demonstrated through a life well lived. Effective leaders know the material and can easily articulate and implement it to realize positive outcomes.

Confidence - Because the teaching information has become deeply seated in the heart and mind of the one who has received it, meaningful work can be accomplished. The level of confidence allows for freedom of movement and reduced thinking about how to implement the teaching material into practice. This isn't to suggest fear and uncertainty are not present, but that these potentially debilitating syndromes are identified and dealt with so there won't be derailment of the confident leader.

Character - One's ability to remain above reproach because of the deep connection between God and the one who values the relationship. Character is an internal GPS that guides thoughts, motives, and eventual actions and discourse. Character reels in leaders who venture too close to a predetermined boundary. God loves character.

Can we agree that none of us would be willing to follow someone who hasn't a clue what they are doing? Can we agree in principle that a leader who exhibits no confidence in any outcome would remind us of the cartoon character "Sad Sack"? Is it possible anyone reading this blog would invest time into a leader with a penchant for cutting corners and circumventing established laws and norms?

Credentialing and confidence will take a leader quite far but without character the leader will implode somewhere along the journey. Any one of these three elements alone would be fine to possess. Yet, three combined qualities can produce effective leaders. God has been taking ordinary people and equipping them to be effective leaders throughout history. Follow David's journey here in Psalm 78.

"He (God) built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever. He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them." (Psalm 78:69-72, NIV)

If you are reading this blog thinking to yourself, "I am no leader." Pause and consider what your thoughts mean. Do your thoughts mean, you cannot be a leader (don't have what it takes) or do they convey an unwillingness to become a leader (no way, no how)? Fair questions to be sure.

God calls women and men into ministries of all kinds. God equips the called and with this calling comes a sense of purpose. Go back up and read the Psalm passage again. God took a shepherd boy and equipped him to become a leader of Israel; a king. Pretty heady stuff!! David was equipped by God to lead. God can do the same for us.

When we shirk away from God's call to step forward and lead, we essentially are telling God, "You cannot have my life and I don't think you can help me become a leader to promote Jesus." Wow! Talk about presumptuousness! Today, let's let God have full access to our heart, mind, and strength and see what transpires when an extraordinary God interacts with we ordinary women and men.

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