Leaders are important in our society. Almost as important as the followers. They are the select few who gain attention and credibility and are able to set the course of direction for others. Ultimately, leaders influence change to bring about a desired outcome. However, all of this comes at a cost. Leaders have to pay a price to have successful leadership. Here are just a few sacrifices or prices that leaders pay:
The price of relationships. It is often said that it is lonely at the top. Leaders, though popular, are seldom liked personally and seldom have true and close friends. Leaders must have an uneasy comfort of being set apart from the crowd. The difference for Christian leaders is that their calling is one of relationship first to God and then to others. So, regardless if they have the benefit of friends they will always have the presence of the Holy Spirit affirming and spurring them onward.
The price of credibility. Leaders are constantly being evaluated and critiqued. Leaders never get the opportunity to be “off the clock” or “closed for business”. All eyes are on them almost at all times. It may be unfair but it is part of the package. Every move they make is on stage for others to approve or reject. Whether it is embraced or not they are role models. And the major issue is that it takes countless deposits to build trust but only a single mishap to withdraw trust from the credibility account.
Even more, for Christian leaders they are the target of major spiritual warfare. I do not mean in a fantasy voodoo, or wacky karma sort of way but that there is a real adversary who seeks to destroy the advancement of the gospel and will stop at nothing to bring shame to the kingdom of God. Leaders must take great pains to guard their heart and integrity to not become another unfortunate statistic.
The price of time. A leader’s work is never done. He or she is constantly leading, reading, researching, networking, communicating, counseling, organizing, planning, executing details. And when they are not “working” their work is weighing on the mind in their thought life. The work just won’t go away and for many leaders they have trouble sleeping. There is always a blend of personal and professional time.
The price of fulfillment. A leader hardly gets the benefit of being pleased. They may get accused of never being happy or pessimistic or difficult to deal with. Complacency has no place in their vocabulary and their aim is high. It is often the case that these people are not ugly but that they are driven to excellence.
For the Christian, this must be handled with balance. Though they may aim for excellence they must find their contentment not in personal accomplishments but in faithfulness to God. In the end, satisfaction only comes from treasuring Christ above all things.
These are just a few prices that leaders pay. The point of this message is to elevate your view for leaders and leadership. Indeed it is not easy and it takes great perseverance. So, the question posed about “What if Sponge Bob was our Youth Leader?” will be addressed with the idea that leadership is more than just position but a passion. A position is easy to obtain but it takes someone with passion and calling to maintain that position and do it effectively.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Paul says that as a leader he focused on two elements:
Unity. The Corinthian church was mixed with conflict, division and major theological issues. It was a church in need of strong and effective leadership. Apparently, even leaders who were effective had difficulty because the Corinthians used that as an opportunity to build factions. People prided themselves on who they followed – Paul, Apollos, Peter, Christ. Paul reminded them that Jesus died to bring reconciliation among his followers not division.
Urgency. Paul’s main aim was to preach the gospel. Above all things he was compelled to bring attention to the cross of Jesus. The power of the cross gives forgiveness and freedom from sin and the hope of salvation which is the resurrection. Christians must be urgent about clearly communicating the gospel to those who are perishing.
So – what if SpongeBob was our YL? Unfortunately, he might look like this video. But we want our leaders to be more focused on the above elements.
TAKING IT HOME
- What qualities make up a good leader?
- What does it take to be a leader? Is it more than just having a position of power or influence? (Note the 4 prices of leadership)
- Who are some of the leaders in your life? How do you discern if they are positive or negative influences for you?
- Read through the Bible books of 1&2 Timothy and Titus and list characteristics and requirements for godly leaders.
- Find several ways to show appreciation to those leaders who are positive and godly influences in your life.
- List at least 3 specific ways unity can be displayed in your home, school, church.
- List at least 3 specific ways gospel urgency can be displayed in your home, school, church.