Most people assume leadership involves a lot of activity, setting forth an amazing vision and doing monumental things or accomplishing many tasks. When we look at leaders, they seem to be incredibly busy and while leadership naturally lends itself to more activity, the only way to ever lead well is through faithfulness. Whether it’s in a company, your family, and in ministry, faithfulness lends itself to good leadership.
Michael Hyatt wrote an article titled “3 Reasons Why Faithful is the New Radical” speaking to leaders who desire to be radical. This is especially true of those of us in the Missional Community world who long to see gospel-centered movements. I loved what he had to say,
By and large millennial Christians want offer lives in service to God and others by offering new and creative solutions. This is good.
But if I could speak a word of caution, from one rabble-rouser to another, I would say that sometimes the most radical thing you can do with your life is to simply be faithful.
Yes, you heard that right. By consistently doing the same thing every single day you might be more radical than you think. I know that doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s the stuff that gives weight to significant social movements.
1 Corinthians 4:2 says that God holds his people accountable, not for the big splashy things they’ve done, but for simple faithfulness:
In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one [of them] be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2, HCSB)
He goes on to share 3 reasons why faithfulness is so key. As I read it, it reminded me of what we ask of leaders in Missional Communities. As people approach leadership in Missional Communities, we want to be clear with them that our greatest expectation of them is faithfulness. When we speak of faithfulness, it starts with faithfulness to God and then extends to specific people in their life.
Here are 3 reasons why we look for and expect faithfulness from our leaders.
Being Faithful Reveals Leaders
If people aren’t faithful before they start leading, they won’t be faithful while leading. I’ve taken risks on people thinking they would be faithful once they started leading and it simply wasn’t true. This is the clear pattern of scripture as well.
Jesus was faithful to God and faithful to his parents (Luke 2:52) long before He comes on the scene and is baptized. He lived a sinless life, perfectly obedient to God and He remained faithful as He led His movement to the cross and beyond. Faithfulness in leadership is mirroring the character of Christ to those you lead.
In the Old Testament, David is faithful as a shepherd before he ever becomes a king. He lived in obscurity faithfully tending and protecting his sheep. His faithfulness as a shepherd prepared him to fight Goliath and eventually become a great king.
Spiritual leadership in Missional Communities hinges on the leader’s faithfulness to God. Let that be evident before you empower a leader, not something you hope for by empowering someone.
Faithfulness to God is True Success
All leaders want to be successful in leadership, but we consistently remind our leaders that God’s success is the result of abiding in faithfulness to God. Christ instructs His disciples in John 15 to abide with Him and bear much fruit.
In the missional community discussion, it can be easy to attempt to measure success in terms of people added to the community, service to the community and in multiplying the community. These are all good things, but if they lack faithfulness to God, the community will eventually suffer. God clearly desires intimacy with Him over activity for Him.
While subjective in nature, success as gospel faithfulness can be easily seen in the results of confidence in the gospel and greater love for people.
Faithfulness to People helps a Community Thrive
There are certain people who have been placed in our lives closer than others. They could be family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors, but they seem to interact in our world with more frequency than others. When Paul preaches his sermon in the Aeropagus, he indicates that the proximity of others is no accident, that it is in fact the design of God so that others and we would know Him.
This guides leaders to be faithful where they are placed and faithful to people who are placed there as well. This can decrease the strain on relationships for many of us and I’ve noticed that a thriving community results from the faithfulness of leaders to the people who are right in front of them.
Missional Communities seek to care for one another and their neighbors. This can be a daunting task unless they simply focus on being faithful to who God has placed in their midst. This lets them identify and meet the tangible, physical and spiritual needs for one another and their neighbors easier by focusing on specific people.
Faithfulness bears long-term fruitfulness
Faithfulness builds on itself and expands the capacity of the leaders as their influence grows. We can’t be certain what the future has for our lives or our leadership, but we can be faithful with what we’ve been given. Whether it is a job we don’t enjoy, money, or friendships, learning to be faithful with what we have will allow us to be faithful with whatever comes.
Great leaders are faithful leaders.