It is apparent that leadership is a hot topic in the fire service today. One quick search on the internet reveals that leadership is something that is written about, lectured on, and taught on many different levels across our nation. Why is it that leadership is such a “hot topic”? Perhaps because it is painfully absent it most places. In this series we will address a definition of leadership that will set us apart.
Let us begin:
“What a waste to try to change their behavior without truly understanding the driving needs that cause such a behavior! Yet millions of people spend a lifetime searching for love, acceptance, and success without understanding the need that compels them.” (The Search for Significance pg 11)
Leadership is establishing a direction and influencing others to follow that direction. By definition, Leadership is an influence process. So in order for us to lead we must first understand what is it that drives to do so. What is our motivation to be a leader? Is it for recognition or monetary reasons? Is our ego pushing us to lead or is it out of your devotion to your family or some deeper calling?
The most effective and important leaders in the Bible had little awareness of the impact their lives had on others. They were too busy obeying God to keep track of their successes. Have you ever noticed that some of the best leaders were the ones that people seemed to naturally gather around? What attracts people to follow someone?
“Good leaders know how to bring the best out of people. They are encourager’s and motivators. They see the target ahead and pursue it.” Charles Specht
Leadership Self Assessment:
Are we someone who motivates others?
Do we look for ways to bring out the best in people?
Are we encouraging more than critical?
These statements are wrapped around one central word “motive”. Leaders who have defined history (in a positive way) are self-less. They are focused on others, their needs, and they see the good in others. A leader with pure motives can see the good in each person and collectively applies those resources in such a way that produces positive outcomes while building up their confidence & camaraderie. This comes from a selfless ambition that begins with a pure heart.
But how do we become a leader?
Take a moment and look at our life. Who are we? What defines us? If our job or title was taken away would us still be significant? Does our salary define your significance or do you measure significance by the lives we touch?
My friends God has made each of us unique. He has a special purpose for each one of his children. If we believe that we cannot make a difference or that we don’t have what it takes then we have not fully trusted completely in Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding-Proverbs 3:5”.
God has left us His word that lists example after example of inadequate, ill-equipped, and fearful individuals who produced miraculous and extraordinary results through God’s power. The Bible lists name after name of those who trusted in God and did great things. For example: Moses was not a good speaker yet God worked through him to speak to the most powerful man in history at that time to free the Israelites. David was the smallest of his brothers but was a “man after God’s own heart”. He became one of the greatest kings who ever lived. Paul was the greatest persecutor of the Christian faith and became the greatest evangelist for the Christian faith writing most of the New Testament.
“God has shaped us to serve through your experiences, educations, gifts, personality, passions and relationships. God has people and situations that we are divinely prepared to touch.” (Dave Earley)
The process of becoming a leader started when we were born. Every moment of our life has uniquely prepared us for the circumstances of our future. Our testimony, trials, and tribulations are not just painful memories but “hard life lessons” that have made us stronger. There is no testimony without a test. These lessons will enable us to lift up others around us that are struggling. These difficult experiences, if we will draw from them rather than let them destroy us, can be the reason we are calmer, stronger, and decisive in the face of adversity.
Where is our heart?
“The man or woman who lives only for the love and attention of others is never satisfied, at least not for long. Despite our efforts we will never find lasting fulfilling peace if we must continually prove ourselves to others. Does our sense of self-worth depend upon our status, your title, or our spouse? This void is only meant to be filled by God? Our search for significance should both begin and end with God’s word” (The Search for Significance)
The world we live in seems desperate for constant approval. We are more concerned about the political correctness of society than following our morals and values that are God given. We spend a vast amount of money and resources to impress people that we don’t even know. We dress in fine clothes, live in the largest houses (compared to the rest of the world), and have more material possessions than anyone else in the world.
Yet we are the most depressed, obese, and anxious society in the world. If we have everything than shouldn’t that mean we should be happy? Why is it that our hearts seem to be constantly searching for meaning and fulfillment only to be disappointed yet again by another person, another material possession, or another achievement? Each one seems to leave us emptier than the previous attempt.
Our heart was designed for a purpose. The fulfillment of our heart and peace that we seek will never be found in a person, place, or thing. All of which will eventually disappoint us. This void is only meant to be filled by God. It is cross shaped scar that can only be healed by Jesus. Once our heart is opened to His love our world begins to change. Problems don’t go away but “a peace that passes understanding” fills our heart during life’s storms. We then become a “new creation in Christ Jesus” and this is all due to God’s great love for us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us-Romans 5:8”. We then will “do all things through Christ who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13-paraphrase)
Leaders who possess the peace of God in their heart will influence others in profound ways. Their motivations are self-less, they want others to succeed, and they will sacrifice and go to great lengths to achieve goals for others. This seems to go against the belief of society today. If we truly want to lead, we truly want to make a difference, and then we must accept the challenge to do the greatest thing we could ever do: “Humble yourself before the Lord and ask God to send you today. Let us be ready to make difference in others’ lives. God is saying to us today : “Be strong & courageous for I am with you”
Let us all lead from a heart motivated by Christ,
God Bless & Stay Encouraged,
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries