Last week, I wrote about leading well by being faithful after I read a Michael Hyatt article that got me thinking. As I continued to think about the leaders in our church and the expectations we place on them, I couldn’t help but consider writing about other aspects of leading well.
I’m blessed to watch 60+ leaders care for and model Christ to their community groups at Apostles. The consistent thing I see for these leaders who lead well is that they love well.
I’ve seen many people shy away from leadership, describe is as a daunting task and excuse themselves as not the leadership type. Many of those people I see taking the initiative to cook for someone in need, bless someone on a random day, and pursue people out of the blue simply because they care. The most amazing missional community leaders I’ve seen are the ones that love people well by modeling the love of God to them.
This is just another reason why it is so essential for every leader to be rooted in the never-stopping, never-giving up, unconditional, and consistent love of God for them in Jesus Christ. Our love can either be hindered or enhanced depending on our grasp of the love of God towards us.
Love Pursues People
One of the primary reasons this is so key in leading is because love causes leaders to pursue people in their community and those outside their community. This is how God loves us. He pursues us, not because we deserve being pursued or we have made ourselves interesting to Him, but because He loves us. He even pursues when we do everything in our power to run away from him.
For leaders, entering into a community aiming to love people tends to result in them pursuing those people to join and contribute to the community. There will also be times when people who have been a part of the community tend to drift away, but love pursues, not demanding they stay, but communicating their value and extending the invite back into the community.
If leadership isn’t based on love, but on creating a great mission, there’s no reason to pursue people that “aren’t on board” since they left, but thankfully the love of God transforms our whimsical ways. To lead well, pursue the people in your missional community well.
Love Rejoices & Grieves Alongside People
One of my favorite verses recently is Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” There are few things as powerful in leading than celebrating with those in your community who are celebrating and hurting with those who are hurting.
This is the result of loving someone like Christ loves you. Their joys become exciting for you and there sorrows become sad for you. Community brings us out of ourselves to focus on others and this is only possible through love. No quality leader lacks this kind of love. Every quality missional community displays this kind of love, this kind of gospel-centered love.
It’s been amazing to watch different community groups celebrate together each other’s successes. At times it is even more inspiring and moving to watch a community grieve with one another, tears that display a joining together to endure the worst and seek healing together. It’s a beautiful display of God’s design for community.
Love Enjoys People
The last part of this that I will focus on is the simple reality that when you seek to love someone, you enjoy who they are in all their quirks and personality. Lacking love can cause a leader to identify their favorites in the community and become annoyed with others. This type of leadership does not enjoy people based on their gospel identity of being a part of a Christ-centered community, but on what their contributions are to the community.
To lead well, love like Christ has loved us, enjoying our presence because He chose to and because He embodied love. Enjoy the people you find yourself with, not matter how different, or in your mind challenging, they can be. You’re (translate: I’m) just as challenging to others in the community.
Every one of us longs to be in friendship, relationship with a group of people who knows us and still values us after knowing us. We long for every relationship to be as if it were Christ. Someone that loves us because they choose to and even endures with us our quirks, flaws, and failings.
A gospel-centered community on mission like this is possible, but it desperately needs leaders who have been loved well by God to love their community well.