The year was 2008.  The month and day, now absent from my memory.  It was the first Bible Study I conducted.  One couldn’t possibly measure the fear I had back then.  To learn to trust that the Spirit would teach you what to say (Luke 12:12) while at the same time falling far short in the knowledge required to stand before a group teaching the Bible.  Back then, I didn’t have a discipler.  I didn’t have a pastor.  All I had was the conviction to share what God has commissioned me to do.  Some say that faith comes from hearing (Romans 10:17).  Yet mine comes not from it.  Rather, from another means (Joel 2:28).  I am compelled, perhaps inspired.  Excited, yet afraid.  I am not afraid that I may fumble in the lessons.  What I am afraid of is that I may teach heresies.  I am not afraid that I will be shamed in their presence.  What I am afraid of is that whatever I teach wrong may have a lifelong impact in their lives.

I made many errors as a leader.  When you’re in the midst of leading the flock, you can be sure that humility is a character one shouldn’t live without.  To throw humility away, even for a moment, is to throw the sheep in disarray.  If not in the group one leads, then, quite possible, in the lives they live.

Leadership also requires a genuine compassion for the sheep (John 21:16).  For in the absence of compassion there lies negligence.  This of course, goes on to say that leaders are always torn between two.  Making unpopular decisions, and on many occasions, forced to make decisions in a setting where not enough information is available for processing.  Both are risky in their own rights.  One successful leader quipped, “When you are studying the theories, you have all the time to analyze the data.  But when you’re out there leading, you’re down to your intuition.”

In other instances, decisions have to be made even when everybody disagrees with you.  A leader’s decision of course, even on this scenario, has to at least be backed up with sound reasons… and, when a correction is attempted, he should be humble enough to listen while at the same time, if he thinks he’s right, be able to justify his ground.

This goes on to say that being stubborn is not an option.  While doing so might help the leader stand his ground, it nevertheless carries with it a negative impact on both the concerned sheep and himself.  To be stubborn is to force one’s decision even when the facts and reasons tell a different story.

I’ve also mentioned prior that a leader has to be a good listener.  Of course.  Any leader has blind spots.  Such is only bared by those who are brave enough to confront the leader of his shortcomings.  It is never easy to bring a negative message.  As a leader, one has to therefore acknowledge the bravery, and more so, the compassion of the member who calls his attention.  To dismiss concerns is perhaps one of the fatal mistakes a leader can make.  To drive away those who genuinely care for you is to put one’s credibility on shaky grounds.  How can a blind leader steer the ship? No he can’t.  Unless and until a leader gives an open ear to those who wants their concerns heard, he will soon find the sheep straying away to another pen.

Is leadership hard? Yes.  Is it exciting? Yes.  Both for the same reason.  Because as a leader, one is duty bound to invest on his flock’s lives.  To invest financially gives great returns.  To invest in lives? Priceless.

 

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