At some point you will experience the leader who leads as the iron-fisted dictator who has all answers at all times. In other seasons we will rub shoulders with leaders who function with such a high degree of hesitancy and insecurity that you wonder how they ever ended up in the position to begin with. Regardless of where you are now, today you will have the chance to be the person and leader that God intends us to be: The third way of leadership.
Which of the following categories do you find yourself leading within?
1) Prideful people and prideful leaders are those who have made it on their own. Their strengths have propelled them towards success, and they know it. However, it is prideful people that are prone to burnout, to repeating what succeeded before, being unable to attempt or create something new. Prideful people keep a tight control over what and who they lead, unable to equip and empower others. Success has defined them and any thing less than perfection threatens that perceived identity.
2) Inferior people and inferior leaders can’t seem to get out of their own heads. Everything that happens good or bad is a result of self. They compare and contrast, and find that emotions like guilt, shame, jealousy, or self-loathing lead their way. Those feeling inferior rarely ever lead, because most often no one is following, (not to mention their focus is rarely on others, constantly consumed with analyzing and critiquing their own inabilites and inadequacies).
3) Humble Yet Confident Then there is a third type of person/leader. Jesus and the apostle Paul both fell into this category. Jesus once said, “be humble as I am humble”. Ironically you would think that the self proclamation of humility would be a disqualifier for it all together, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. In these types of people there is a strength that is rooted in brokeness, a confidence that transends circumstance, and a steadfast consistency that creates a confidence in all those following. People fully trust their confident posture, but are not turned away by it. People fully trust their confident way forward, yet still feel as if their brokeness and imperfections will be accepted (instead of ridiculed) as they join them on the mission.
How do we move into this third category of leadership? (We must understand clearly and deeply the guts of the gospel.)
We must understand the gospel clearly and ask the Spirit to root it deeply within us. The gospel is not religion. Pastor Tim Keller says that religion (I obey, therefore I am accepted) leads to pride if we are living up to standards, or inferiority if we are failing to live up to those standards. But the gospel (I am accepted through Christ’s death and resurrection, therefore I obey) makes us humble and confident at once.
The gospel is not only the place where confidence and humility thrive together, but it is the place that propels the other to greater degrees of potency (humility leads to a stronger confidence in Christ, and a confidence in Christ leads to a more authentic humility)
It is only the gospel that allows us to be humble enough to learn how to lead and love better.
And it is only the gospel that allows us to be confident enough to move pass our immeasurable amount of failures and flaws, allowing us to press on leading, influencing, and impacting a broken world as we fight for the heart of our King.
May we be rooted in the guts of the gospel as we become this third kind of leader. Humble, yet confident.