11. Leadership: Leading People to the Kingdom of God



Knowing the Lord is not the end of the matter, but the beginning of the journey for every believer.  We become part of the Lord’s army; we are His representatives on earth.  We are commissioned as leaders of souls, bringing people into an eternal relationship with their creator.

         When we come to know Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit fills us; the Spirit of God directs our life, if we allow him.  Through the Spirit of God, our bodies become instruments for the Lord’s service in the spiritual war for the souls of humanity. 

         Jesus trained the disciples to be leaders, not followers, they were to lead the lost to salvation. The disciples started out as fishermen, tax-collectors and revolutionaries, but they were transformed by the Spirit of God into world-changers.  They became leaders in the church, not because of their own abilities, their leadership came from the Spirit dwelling in them.  Jesus commanded them to stay in Jerusalem until they received power from the Spirit. 

8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."   Acts 1:8


This same power which transformed this group of common men into extraordinary men was the Holy Spirit.  This is the same Spirit which dwells in every believer.  We have the same power available to us to change nations; therefore each of us should strive to be leaders.  We are to transform the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The problem with many Christians is they do not realize the power they have dwelling within.  They don’t know we are called to be salt and light in dark world; Jesus gave His church all authority and power over the works of Satan. 

         This point is illustrated with the seventy disciples who were sent throughout Jerusalem, when they returned they were rejoicing over their power through Christ.  Jesus declared they have the “authority” over all the “power of the enemy”.  This is the same “authority” we have; we are only limited by our flesh, which often gets in the way of God’s Spirit.  God wants us to be leaders in a fallen world, we need to run to our Christ appointed positions of leadership.   

17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." 18 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Luke 10:17-19 


What is leadership?


         A leader is someone who has a vision of what he or she wants, and then inspires others to share that vision.  The world from the beginning has had leaders, both good and bad.  The goal of a leader is to motivate people to see and act on their vision. The reason people submit to leadership can vary, some allow others to lead them for a variety of reasons, including; intellect, beauty, power, wealth, charisma, expertise or any number reasons.  Sometimes the leader just has the answers the person wants to hear, answers which suit their lifestyle and desires. 

         Imagine if were wandering in a forest, filled with trees stretching for unknown miles, you don’t know where you are going.  While you are wondering, a stranger appears who promises to lead you to an exit. What choice do you have?  You don’t know where you are going?  You are lost; at least this person seems like they know where they are headed.             In many ways, this is what happens in life. We live our life, trying to figure out the way; sometimes we think we find someone who knows their way around the forest.   They volunteer to lead us to the exit; we go along because they sound like they really do know.  Only to find out, at a future point they are as lost as we are. When we find Christ, we find the exit in the forest.

         Knowing Christ, allows us to return to the forest and find those who are lost, and lead them to safety. When we found Christ, we found the way through the forest.  Now we understand the forest, now we have the ability to rescue those lost like we were.  This requires the leadership ability that comes through the Spirit as we are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.  We are then equipped by the Spirit of God, through the armor of God to reach and lead those who are lost.  Reaching and leading lost people is all about being a leader, a leader of lost people, bringing them to salvation.   We are the Lord’s warrior.


10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:10-12


                                   Our leadership counters Satan


         Satan was a leader, he led one-third of the angels to rebel against God’s leadership.  Satan cast his vision, and was able to convince the other angels to follow. Today Satan’s workers are still leading the rebellion against God; they are the spiritual force behind leaders in the world, opposed to the Gospel.  They are the hunters of souls, who knowingly or unknowingly keep lost people in under Satan’s power.  We as Christ leaders/disciples oppose, Satan and his fallen leadership.

         The other day, my daughter was with me in hunting store, as I looked for a string for my bow. The shop also provided taxidermy services, so we were surrounded by the bodies and heads of mounted animals. Tremendous specimens of deer, elk, moose, bears, boars and rams seemed to come to life as we walked through the shop.  As we left the store, my daughter seemed very sad, tears rolling down her face, because she really loves animals and felt sad, because they were killed and displayed.

          Later she said, Dad wasn’t that one of the saddest stores you ever saw, because all those beautiful animals were killed and displayed.  I explained to her God allows the hunting of animals, and even though you or I might not display them, there is nothing wrong with it.  However, I said Satan, in many ways displays his hunted and captured victims in many stores.  Just like a proud hunter, who vanquished a beautiful specimen, Satan is proud of his trophies of human souls.  Souls made in the image of God, captured and on display in Satan’s trophy room.

         I explained to her, we however have the ability to rescue those souls on display in Satan’s trophy room, unlike those in the hunting store; there is something we can do.

         Our leadership counters Satan’s leadership, Satan and his fallen angels through human agencies lead the lost into hell, we are called to counter his work.  Therefore we need to understand how to lead, how to help people understand the Gospel, without our flesh getting in the way. 


Using leadership principles


         Leading people can be a hazardous undertaking, because there are so many conflicting messages in the world.  Each message is vying for the attention of those who will listen.  Donald Trump leads people, telling them the way out of the forest is by being wealthy and successful.  Hollywood stars and starlets cast the vision fame and fortune will bring you happiness. Some preach the way of solving problems is by solving Global Warming.  Religious leaders tell people if you just do enough good works, then you will attain eternity, it does not matter what your faith is as long as your are “good.” 

         The “Born Again” believer must compete with all these false messages along with their false prophets to lead lost people into eternity.   This is why it’s important for the believer to be equipped with understanding leadership principles.  We need to ask the Lord to equip us for the work at hand, gaining from the experience of God’s word and God’s people.  Scripture is filled with examples how God raises leaders up, those who want to be used, God will use.  Let us pray for God to use us, and transform us.

         There were 12 who entered the Promised Land, yet only 2 trusted the Lord, both Joshua and Caleb became leaders to Israel.  Noah in the face of adversity was preacher of righteousness in the earth, before the flood, God used him to him.  Paul was willing to be stoned for the Gospel, because he knew it was true. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions; Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego were thrown into a burning furnace.  They knew and trusted the Lord, they knew their message was eternal, they were used as leaders, because they made themselves available.   

         Before anybody can lead there are basic principles which each of us needs to know;


1. Know and understand your vision (The Gospel)

2. Know why your message is important for others to know.

3. Know how to present your vision

4. Know how to develop those you are leading


These same principles, even apply to competing world-views.  Leadership principles are based on our human nature.  The goal is to cause people to act, a change in behavior through the cast vision.


Competing world views


         The pattern is the same with any message, which leads somebody to action.  We all respond to logical reasons for our actions. 

  Its within the context of Christian leadership, we need to know how should we present the Gospel to lost people, without our flesh getting in the way.  According to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win friends and Influence People, there are 9 points to remember when leading people.  In Part 1, we will cover 4 of the 9 points.
Part 1


1.  If you are going to find faults.......Begin with praise and honest appreciation


         Have you ever been on the highway and a faster car is behind you?  The faster car then begins flashing its lights, letting you know you are going too slowly. How do you respond?  Does a part of you want to slow down?  Is the driver behind you “Praising” or “Criticizing”? The driver behind you is critical of your driving ability, although many might move out his/her way, the do it grudgingly, ill will is created in the process.

         This is part of human nature, when confronted with negative and critical comments about our work, decisions or beliefs; it’s our nature to become defensive.  We want to defend against any attack, especially if we feel the attack unjust.  And most criticisms are taken as unjust, because its human nature to justify our actions.

         Before a critical comment is spoken, first look for areas where the person can be praised, or honest appreciation can be made.  For example if a person is a co-worker and they make offensive comments, how could you handle the situation?  First look for an area where you can honestly praise him before, you make the critical comment.  Dale Carnegie, in How to Win Friends and Influence People, tells how President McKinley used this principle.


         One of the prominent Republicans of that day had written a campaign speech that he felt was just a trifle better than Cicero and Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster all rolled into one.  With great glee, this chap read his immortal speech aloud to McKinley.  The speech had its fine points, but it just wouldn’t do.  It would have a tornado of criticism. McKinley didn’t’ want to hurt the man’s feelings. He must not kill the man’s splendid enthusiasm, and yet head to say “no.”  Note how adroitly he did it.

            “My friend, that is a splendid speech, a magnificent speech,” McKinley said, “No one could have prepared a better one.  There are many occasions on which it would be precisely the right thing to say, but is it quite suitable to this particular occasion?  Sound and sober as it is from your standpoint I must consider its effect from the party’s standpoint. Now go home and write a speech along the lines I indicate, and send me a copy of it”

            He did just that, McKinley blue-penciled and help him rewrite his second speech, and he became on the effective speakers of the campaign.[1]


         Jesus when He wrote the letter to the Seven Churches in Revelation, for the most part prefaced his critical comments, with commendation.  For example in the Church of Ephesus had lost it’s “first love”,  Jesus pointed out what they were doing right first, before he pointed out the faults. 


1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 "and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent.6 "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:1-6


         In leading others, we should follow the example of Jesus, lets look for areas of praise and accomplishment, before we find fault.  The purpose of finding fault is correct the direction, someone might be going, to their harm.  



2.  To criticize and not be hated for it..... Call attention to people’s mistake indirectly.


         At times, depending on the situation, we might need to be critical.  There are ways to be critical and not confrontational.  The method is using indirect criticism, letting the person get the message, without having to confront them with it.  Dale Carnegie uses the example of steel president Charles Schwab to illustrate this point.


Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mils one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking.”  Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read?” Oh, no not Schwab.  He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.”  They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule—and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important.[2]


         Another method is known as using a third party example, without directly confronting someone.  People can get the message without a direct confrontation.  Direct confrontation can often defeat a person, they feel like they are backed into a corner.  Indirect confrontation such as Schwab used, allowed workers to get the message without feeling smothered by its words. 

         Jesus often used indirect methods to illustrate His points.   For example, the Pharisees wanted Jesus to say Jews should not pay taxes to Caesar.  They wanted Jesus to make a direct critical statement; Jesus used the image on a Roman coin to answer their question.


15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 "Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 "Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" 21 They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.  Matthew 22;15-22 


3.  Talk about your own mistakes first.... before criticizing the other person


         Trying to get someone to act, by pointing out faults is like a minefield.  Many times the wrong comment or suggestion can cause a bomb to go off.  We are very sensitive, and when we human beings are backed into a corner we tend to fight rather then give in. For that reason, its important to demonstrate our own humanity first, before we make a comment at times. 

         A parent might, use himself as an example to the child, how when he was the child’s age, he also went through a similar experience, how he felt when he was confronted.  The child then sees the humanity, of the parent, and its easier to take the criticism, because the child knows the parent understands. 

         Paul constantly referred to his own failures in his epistles, How he persecuted the church and was least of all saints, but by the Grace of God.  Paul when he was on trial for preaching the Gospel, referred to his own mistake how he persecuted the Church.  He used his own personal failure as an example, he gave his persecutors grace.


6 "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 "To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 "Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? 9 "Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 "This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 "And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. 12 "While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,  Acts 26:6-12


[1] How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, 1981, Simon & Schuster Inc., Pocket Books, Pgs., 205-206

[2] ibid, pg. 211