Learning Leadership is an Act of Worship

Note From Dan: Pastor Chris Morgan, serves as Worship Leader for our Central Campus at 12Stone Church. Chris is a good friend and I deeply appreciate the spiritual intensity he brings to the table, and love his leadership insights in this guest post he’s written for us today.  

Learning leadership is an act of worship. God has extended to each of us the opportunity to be a walking “House of God” – a tangible interface between the community of humankind and the person of God.

Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan, Worship Leader at 12Stone Church | Central Campus

This sounds too bold doesn’t it? I know. I can feel my own resistance to this stunning proposition. However, I can’t apologize or back down. I didn’t make this up; the idea seems to have originated with God himself! So rather than shrink from it, perhaps we should get busy learning how to live it.

Much is gained when we put our hand to the plow and lead under the open sky of heaven. You may not think of yourself as a leader – but everybody can lead something – keep reading!

Effective leadership hangs upon the fragile edge of influence with people. Holy leadership hangs upon the sacred edge of input from God. Together they form the full counsel of how a leader should lead.

Young King Rehoboam’s Choices

Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) gets his turn to be King. (1 Kings 12) The people gather to crown him King, but in the process they make a plea to him. They ask him to “lighten the harsh labor”. Solomon (his dad) had been a king of great accomplishment, but he’d done so on the backs of forced labor. Rehoboam stands in a moment of opportunity, but he doesn’t see it. He fails to comprehend a basic law of leading others – his ability to lead others hangs in the balance of whether or not he can influence people.

He starts out with a wise move. He defers the decision for 3 days. Every smart king avoids impulsive promises that he cannot deliver upon.

His second move is equally wise. He consults the older more experienced leaders and gets their opinion. However, Rehoboam decides to ask the younger less experienced leaders (i.e. his friends) what they think. They make the classic mistake of advising him to ramp up the kingly position and show them who is boss. So he ignores the advice of the oldsters and uses his new position to increase the workload upon the people.

This ends up costing Rehoboam 90% of the kingdom. That’s right – he actually loses control over the majority of his kingdom because he failed to realize one very important law. The ones being led always get the last say-so. (Side lesson: be careful of listening to the advice of your friends over the voice of time and experience.)

If we could go back in time and help young Rehoboam become an effective leader, this would be my advice:

1) Invite them to be part of something special

Refuse to lean upon your position, instead build relationships with your team members. Personally invite them to something worthy of their life’s energy. They will feel inspired as well as singled out and needed.

2) Lead by serving and setting the example

Get your hands dirty and lead alongside your team. They will feel served and enduringly inspired.

3) Live one message for a long time

This will make your leadership predictable in a good way and create trust with your team.

4) Build a captivating culture

Teams naturally move toward movements that encourage them, that make them laugh, and add personal value to their lives. Build a compelling culture and your team will feel community and have fun! They will keep showing up to contribute.

5) Produce winning results

Nothing feels quite as good as winning. Winning causes individual roles inside a team to converge and produce an outcome that is desired by everyone on the team. When a leader repeatedly wins, people will take personal pride in the team. The team will begin to feel unstoppable. Momentum is flowing and people are psyched.

However, a leader may do all of these things without anything holy or devotion to God taking place.

How may a leader add Holy Leadership to his team by getting input from God?

1) Put God first

When we put God first, everything in life (and work) begins to come into order. Don’t confuse order with ease. Life and work are always a challenge; but putting God first brings internal order and this is a huge strategic advantage. It opens the door between heaven and your team.

2) Personally engage with God

Putting God first must always be personal and never business. It is too easy for us all to drift into religious duty (obligation) and forget to personally open our hearts to God. Personally engaging with God fills us with the Holy Spirt and invites God’s influence.

3) Prioritize the ways of God

When a person puts God first they begin to live out a different code. The master domino of life has been put in motion and all the other dominos of life are affected by this holy push. The ways of love, justice, morality, character and affection for God all become a priority. This demonstrates character that inspires the team.

4) Personal Mission

So while every effective leader does the same sorts of things (i.e. invite to something special, lead by setting the example, building culture and winning), the way in which they do it is very unique and shaped by their personal mission. When a leader consistently gets God’s input, a personal mission (or calling) will form underneath the skin of their leadership. This DNA will shape the leader’s life message and legacy.

Learning leadership is an act of worship. I believe God’s intention is to bring out the best in you and me. As he develops well-formed maturity in us, he intends to bless our immediate surroundings through us. Learning leadership prepares us for this entrustment.

Rehoboam missed a moment of opportunity – I don’t want to miss mine. How about you? Are you engaging leadership as a worshipful leader? Are you pursuing those God-ordained moments of opportunity?

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