Is Your View of the Gospel Marginalizing Your Leadership Ability?

If you are a believer in the Gospel of Jesus, are you able to articulate how that good news is shaping and transforming how you lead and how you view your responsibility of leadership?

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Part of my sharpening efforts as an Executive Pastor include a lot of reading. Defining how I lead primary through how I view life will leave me with a fairly narrow view of leading. Meaning, comparing my thoughts to my own perspectives leaves me with shallow thinking about my opportunities in the area of leadership.

And so I subscribe to several leadership blogs or read leadership articles, both Christian and secular. I need to have my paradigms challenged because I never drift into effective influencing or management of others. It must be intentional. And that is a sobering thought for me.

I appreciate the posts that come my way each week that challenge or develop new skills in leading others. I do not want to read things through an ever-present eye of what I can find wrong with the post. I humbly admit I have much to learn in this area of not only leading others, but leading others in a manner that has the aroma of the Gospel about it.

My tag line for my blog is Leveraging Your Leadership Through the Lens of the Gospel and I really do strive to authenticate that in how I write about leadership – it must always be framed through the lens of how God desires me to impact others. In fact, I was challenged through a podcast recently to re-evalute my value proposition for my blog. “Value proposition” is just a fancy term that means how I intend to make my “product” interesting or attractive to my readers. It prodded my to make some changes.

You can read about that here on my Start Here page. I had to really consider why it is I blog and what niche I want to reach.

In many of the leadership blogs that I read that come out of a Christian framework, I hear many good truths: be respectful to those you lead, be kind, be honest, encourage others, take ownership, communicate with clarity, and be a person of authenticity. And let me be the first to say that I agree with all of those.

But if we are not careful, the Gospel and its power becomes no more than just a tool in my tool belt. I use it when I need it. Or I view it like a background app on my computer that runs unseen to me and is completing functions in the background that I really do not fully understand. I can de-value the Gospel’s power by having my “leadership principles” and my “Gospel-living principles.”

As if they were meant to be lived separately.

And that really sells the Gospel short. And please do not misunderstand – this is not a criticism of these other blogs. They are  written by individuals with far more experience and wisdom than I have. And this is not a building up of my blog either.  It is just a thought that has been running through my mind that is causing me to evaluate what it is exactly that I am endeavoring to accomplish both in my leadership and my writing.

The Apostle Paul articulated it pretty well in his letter to the Romans:

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

Do I really believe this? Do I flesh out my leadership in such a way that it models “from Him and through Him and to Him”?

The Gospel does not just provide a kinder way for me to treat my employees, kind of a “how to” manual. It is not something in my “tool belt” that I pull out when needed. It is not a Sunday-only type of thing.

We severely short-change and undersell the Gospel when we treat it like that. Nor should I minimize the effects of the Gospel in my own life by merely emphasizing the principles without the power.

Milton Vincent, in his excellent book, The Gospel Primer, talks about what the Gospel is:

Outside of heaven, the power of God in its highest density is found inside the gospel. This must be so, for the Bible twice describes the gospel as “the power of God.” Nothing else in all of Scripture is ever described in this way, except for the Person of Jesus Christ.

Such a description indicates that the gospel is not only powerful, but that it is the ultimate entity in which God’s power resides and does its greatest work. Indeed, God’s power is seen in erupting volcanos, in the unimaginably hot boil of our massive sun, and in the lightning speed of a recently discovered star seen streaking through the heavens at 1.5 million miles per hour.

Yet in Scripture such wonders are never labeled “the power of God.” How powerful, then, must the gospel be that it would merit such a title! And how great is the salvation it could accomplish in my life, if I would only embrace it by faith and give it a central place in my thoughts each day!

Did you get that?

Gospel = Power of God.

And the Gospel, in transforming me through the work of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, also…

  • meets the needs of my rebel heart
  • frees my from sin’s power
  • robes me in righteousness
  • frees me to what I could not do on my own
  • frees me from what I could never stop doing on my own
  • stimulates me to love the unlovable
  • frees me to forgive
  • gives me a heart for the lost
  • cultivates true humility

To state in our leadership mantra that we must love and serve others is great, but what I must also state is that it is not just difficult but impossible unless the transforming work of the Gospel radically changes my selfish heart to give me a desire to love the unlovable and serve the selfish. It is not too hard to love those who love me or serve those who serve me.

I was listening to a podcast recently and a listener asked (paraphrasing here) “how do you work through a difficult situation where my boss is just a jerk about things?”

The host, who claims to be a Christian, stated that he needs to find the positive in the situation and learn from it for the future. Help the other person succeed.

Yes, I agree with that – good principles and I would echo those thoughts. But the truth is much deeper than that. I am called not only to see the good and help others succeed, but as a leader show love to that difficult boss and serve him/her in humility. But the reality is that I am so absolutely dependent and broken in my own fleshly efforts that the Gospel must do that which I cannot.

And I realize that we cannot give a monologue on the Gospel in every situation. Because the door is not always open or the situation does not always present itself.

But what I am saying is this: if you are a believer in the Gospel and it is transforming your life, then you must always be viewing your leadership through the right lens or your leading and influencing will soon become about what you do instead of who Jesus is in you and what fruit He is producing.

Otherwise that Good News becomes just a hip-pocket toy that I only use when needed. If you read the words of Jesus, the Gospel is for all of life, in all areas and categories that we like to set up. It does not just inform. It transforms all of lifeespecially how I lead and influence others.

And so my post today is not a declaration of others being wrong, but really a charge to all of us that we just do not drift into Gospel-centered thinking. It must be intentional. My flesh is always wanting glory and control. God will not be robbed of glory nor will He submit to my agenda. He desires me to see that He is my satisfaction, my bread of life and living water.

I cannot lead well by just trying harder or doing better.

I conclude this post with a quote from John Piper:

God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is. This is what it means to be created in the image of God.

Lead through the lens of the Gospel and see what God does. You might be surprised.

Lead well.

If you have someone who would benefit from this post today, please share it. That would be so appreciated!

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