I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m now entering my 15th year of priesthood (ordained in 2001). I feel like 15 years is enough of a milestone where I can now officially “look back” and “reflect” on some lessons I’ve learned over the years (I feel wiser and more distinguished already!).
I’ve noticed a lot of discussion recently about the topic of leadership. What makes a good leader? Can leadership be learned? What are some do’s and don’ts of leadership?
Whether it’s in our nation as we approach a presidential election…
Or it’s in your church where you find yourself disappointed by someone in a position of leadership…
Or it’s in your family where you feel like you’re on a ship without a captain…
...leadership seems to be on everyone’s mind these days.
So with that, I want to share a few thoughts on the subject that came to me as I reflect back over the past 15 years as a priest.
First of all, why is leadership such a vital topic? Why does it matter so much?
BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENS IN LIFE WITHOUT LEADERSHIP.
Societies don’t change on their own. Churches don’t heal on their own. Families don’t solve issues on their own. For any of these things to take place, someone has to first step up and say “WE CAN DO THIS!”
Civil rights may have been on the minds of many people in this country in the 1900's, but nothing happened until someone stood up and said “I have a dream…”
Many were discussing the "idea" of space exploration as an interesting concept, but nothing happened until someone stood up and said “We are going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.”
The same applies to all of life.
Nothing will change in your FAMILY until someone steps up and says “we will not allow our family to go this direction.”
Nothing will change in your CHURCH until someone steps up and says “we will not allow our church to be destroyed by gossip and backbiting and politics.”
Nothing will change in your own PERSONAL LIFE until someone (YOU!) stand up and say “enough is enough. I must change!”
NOTHING HAPPENS IN LIFE WITHOUT LEADERSHIP.
That’s why our core calling as children of God and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ is leadership. We are called to continue Jesus’ mission when He came to a people who were sitting in darkness and led them into the Light.
"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." (John 17:18)
YOU ARE CALLED TO LEADERSHIP. The world needs you… your church needs you… your family needs you… the kingdom of God needs you.
So what does it mean to be a leader? Here are 3 thoughts:
1) Leadership is about INFLUENCE, not TITLE. It isn’t always the guy at the head of the table with the corner office that is the real leader in the company; it’s the guy everyone looks to when there’s a problem. Getting hung up on titles and positions will handicap your ability to really lead. Focus on influencing and leading people, not on having a title and authority.
2) Leadership is about CHARACTER, not CHARISMA. This goes without saying, especially in our uber-connected world of Facebook, Instagram, and TMZ. Having charisma without character may make you famous, but it’ll never make you a leader.
3) Leadership is about LEARNING, not TEACHING. The moment I say “I got this figured out” is the moment that I am serious danger. Leadership isn’t “come see where I am and follow me.” Leadership is “come, let’s join hands and see where we can go together.” Big difference.