Over the last couple of weeks we have talked about the leadership exhibited by Paul in Acts 27 in the midst of shipwrecking. Learning the character of biblical leadership is important for all of us who are Christ followers because whether we like it or not we are called to be leaders. We are called to lead others to the hope of Christ and when we fail to embrace that responsibility we will lead others away from Christ. One of the elements of Christian leadership that we explored was the strength and importance of leading from conviction. Paul led convinced of the word and hope of Christ and as a result was able to persuade and lead others. To follow up on this I wanted to share with you an excerpt from my recently completed (not published) book The True Leader: Rediscovering the World Changing Power of Principled Leadership.
True Leadership is not granted or bestowed, it is discovered by the natural outflow of your convictions. When an individual stands up on principle then a True Leaders “position” of leadership is established by the strength of his ideals. It is not dependent upon his given position or office. A True Leader finds and believes his “ordaining agency” is his governing principles.
As we look through history you find examples of many individuals who, despite lowly social position or lives of seeming insignificance, find greatness thrust upon them. Almost without exception, as with Luther, it is the result of societal circumstance intersecting with the True Leaders personal conviction. Whether you look at the ancient with David and Goliath, the medieval even Joan of Arc or the modern with Lech Welesa so many true leaders rose to the top not because of the official establishment of their authority but because they were fully committed to the beliefs they held and were willing to act on those beliefs at just the time when that conviction was needed. In fact many times True Leaders eschewed their official position only to find their stature lifted above what they otherwise would have been able to accomplish. . John Wyclife is one of those leaders, stripped of his prestigious seat at Oxford, because of his call for the reformation of the church, he moved forward undeterred to translate the bible into common language and it was from this commitment that he achieved his greatest influence.
When you realize that your leadership is directly tied to your conviction you understand that the strength of your leadership will follow the level of your commitment to your principle. It is no different than a leader whose position is tied to the strength of his military or a politician whose office is a result of his party bosses backing, the closer you are to the “ordaining agent” the stronger your position, in turn the further you move away from your “base of power” the weaker you become. It is just as true for a True Leader. When your ordaining agent and base of power are your convictions you must stay close to them at all times.
Let us be fully convinced of the life and work of Christ so we might powerfully lead others to the Cross.