The Character Connection
Leadership effectiveness has many connections to your character. Character, vision and a servant spirit make for an effective leader. The Bible provides much instruction for character, vision, a servant spirit, and leadership.
Numbers 11:11-17 “And Moses said to the Lord, Why have You dealt ill with Your servants? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You lay the burden of all this people on me?
12 Have I conceived all his people? Have I brought them forth, that You should say to me, Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing father carries the sucking child, to the land which You swore to their fathers to give them?
13 Where should I get meat to give to all these people? For they weep before me and say, Give us meat, that we may eat.
14 I am not able to carry all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.
15 And if this is the way You deal with me, kill me, I pray You, at once, and be granting me a favor and let me not see my wretchedness in the failure of all my efforts.
16 And the Lord said to Moses, Gather for Me seventy men of the elders of Israel whom you know to be elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the Tent of Meeting and let them stand there with you.
17 And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take of the Spirit which is upon you and will put It upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not have to bear it yourself alone.”
Point Number 1. You, as a leader, need help.
Point Number 2. To be a leader, people must trust us to do the right things. Or, really, trust us to do what they want or believe in.
Matthew 7:12 “So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is(sums up) the Law and the Prophets.” (The Golden Rule)
John 6:55, 60, 66-69 “55 For My flesh is true and genuine food, and My blood is true and genuine drink.
60 When His disciples heard this, many of them said, This is a hard and difficult and strange saying (an offensive and unbearable message), Who can stand to hear it? (Who can be expected to listen to such teaching?)
66 After this, many of His disciples drew back (returned to their old associations) and no longer accompanied Him.
67 Jesus said to the Twelve, will you also go away? (And do you too desire to leave Me?)
68 Simon Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (the message) of eternal life.
69 And we have learned to believe and trust, and (more) we have come to know (surely) that You are the Holy One of God, the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of the living God.” So, followers are those that understand.
Another verse on being trusted.
I Samuel 15:24 “And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” Saul could not be trusted to do what was right. Instead, he listened to his followers, his army.
Point Number 3. A leader must have a vision that inspires.
Do we have a vision that inspires. Do we inspire confidence by our common sense, by the way we make assignments, by our grasp of the situation, and by our refusal to let up or quit pushing toward the goal. In short, the leader must inspire confidence that a good result will be achieved no matter what intrudes.
I Samuel 23:1-5, 7, 10-13 “Then they told David, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.
2 So David inquired of the Lord, Shall I go and attack these Philistines? And the Lord said to David, Go, smite the Philistines and save Keilah.
(Remember, David and his men are on the run from Saul, why are they going to protect Keilah? Saul should be protecting Keilah. Saul is “throwed off” by his hatred for David.)
3 David’s men said to him, Behold, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more, then, if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?
(David’s men fear exposure to Saul’s army)
4 Then David inquired of the Lord again.
(On behalf of his men, out or respect, concern, and responsibility. As their leader, he inquired again)
And the Lord answered him, Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.
5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines with a great slaughter and brought away their cattle. So David delivered the people of Keilah.
7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. Saul said, God has delivered him into my hand, for he is shut in by going into a town that has gates and bars.
10 Then David said, O Lord, the God of Israel, Your servant has surely heard that Saul intends to come and destroy the city of Keilah on my account.
11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, I beseech You, tell Your servant. And the Lord said, He will come down.
(David is thinking ahead, vigilant)
12 Then David asked, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand? The Lord said, They will deliver you up.
13 Then David and his men, about 600, arose and left Keilah, going wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up going there.”
Point Number 4. A leader provides guidance.
(What if David had not sought the Lord? The Lord did not come to David to warn him. David took the initiative and sought the Lord. You must take the initiative as a leader.)
A leader must be able to guide a church or group through a “mine field” using vision, long range planning, quickly adapting to changing conditions, and ensuring competent management of all the different functions. We just saw this in David’s experience at Keilah. Now, see how Nehemiah plans and thinks ahead like the leader he is.
Nehemiah 2:4-8 “The king said to me, For what do you ask? So I prayed to the God of heaven. (he sought the Lord before answering)
5 and I said to him, If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you will send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may rebuild it.
6 The king, beside whom the queen was sitting, asked me, How long will your journey take, and when will you return? So it pleased him to send me; and I set him a time. (Nehemiah is bold)
7 Also I said to the king, If it pleases the king, let letters be given me for the governors beyond the Euphrates River, that they may let me pass through to Judah,
8 And a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest or park, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple and for the city wall and for the house that I shall occupy. And the king granted what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”
(like brother Don telephoning for the Berryman House, Nehemiah enlisted help and aid)
Functions for a church are evangelism, outreach ministry, music, worship, prayer, finances, building programs, maintenance of buildings, grounds, and vehicles, ministry of many kinds, toddlers, youths, young adults, adults, older adults, radio, TV, tapes/CD’s, the list goes on.
For a commercial business or a non-profit organization, the functions will be different but just as varied.
Point Number 5. A leader must be understood.
Do people understand and feel comfortable with the workability of the plan for these endeavors. A leader must see to it that they understand or they will not go along for very long.
I Samuel 30:1-9 “Now when David and his men came home to Ziklag on the third day, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid on the South (the Negeb) and on Ziklag, and had stuck Ziklag and burned it with fire.
2 And had taken the women and all who were there, both great and small, captive. They killed no one, but carried them off and went on their way.
3 So David and his men came to the town, and behold, it was burned, and their wives and sons and daughters were taken captive.
4 Then David and the men with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.
5 David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.
6 David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
7 David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray you, bring me the ephod. And Abiathar brought him the ephod.
8 And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.
9 So David went, he and the 600 men with him,…”
(David’s men must have been convinced that David had a good plan)
Point Number 6. A leader includes everyone.
Does everyone get to participate in setting the objectives, goals, and purposes. Does everyone feel included.
Nehemiah 2:17,18 “Then I said to them, You see the bad situation we are in how Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates are burned with fire. Come, let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a disgrace.
18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was upon me for good, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, Let us rise up and build! So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”
Just consider whom you may be leading. Every person who is in charge of some function or activity needs to be a leader. It is not just the pastor, minister, president or chairperson that needs to be a leader. All of us are going to be in charge of something sometime. Will we step up and be a leader?
Nehemiah 3:1-32 (more than 40 families rebuilt the the walls of Jerusalem, each responsible for a section. The Priest count as one family, but each rebuilt the section adjacent to his home.)
Let us break leadership down into its components.
Number 1 is character for leadership.
As a leader you need character are no one will respect you, trust you, or like you. Character contains:
• Integrity ( trustworthy, honest )
• Moderation in all things
• Tireless worker
Ephesians 3:16-17, 12-15, 17-5:21
(that is what character is all about)
Number 2. is vision as a leader.
As a leader you need a vision for the future that everyone can buy into. In fact, you will not be a leader if people do not buy into it. Your character will play a large part in whether or not they can trust the vision. Recall Nehemiah 2:17,18 making his request to the King. See also I Chronicles 28 & 29 in which David assembles all the leaders and tells of preparations for the building of the temple by Solomon, of Solomon’s kingship, and leads the people in sacrifices to God regarding these things.
Nehemiah 9:38-10:39 deals with a vision that people can buy into.
Number 3 is a plan as a leader.
As a leader you need to have a plan with first things first. You need a good understanding of priorities for getting it done.
Number 4 is a win/win attitude as a leader.
As a leader you need to think win/win toward those whom you are leading. What is win/win. Everyone needs to get what they want or need. Everyone needs to come out ahead. There will be no losers!
Number 5 is understanding others as a leader.
As a leader, you must seek to understand those you lead. You must understand what they believe is important. You must understand completely by listening, then asking good questions to gain understanding, and then rephrasing or paraphrasing their main points to get agreement from them that you “have it.” Only then do people feel understood and satisfied with the discussion and with your intentions and your concern. Only after you have gained their trust and respect by thoroughly exploring their concerns can you then seek to be understood in turn.
Number 6 is effective use of people as a leader.
As a leader you now are ready to combine the efforts of your group to make everyone more effective by creatively combining the people, their ideas, their creativity, their potential, their initiative, their gifts, to make the outcome better than any one person could do it.
Nehemiah 12:27-35, 42-47
Ephesians 3:16 (Spiritual effectiveness)
Number 7 is to serve your managers as a leader.
As a leader you must help each leader under you manage their assignment. Your job is not to manage but to lead. Leadership is vision and what is to be done. Management is the detail, step-by-step work that is necessary to make the vision come to pass.
Nehemiah 7:2 “I gave my brother Hanani, with Hananiah the ruler of the castle, charge over Jerusalem, for Hananiah was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.”
Nehemiah 13:6-31 (While Nehemiah was with the king, he could not manage. Things got out of control. He held them accountable and put things back in order.)
Number 8 is freedom for your followers as a leader.
As a leader you must not kill the joy and initiative of those under you. They need to feel productive, creative, and free to do their job as they want to.
Here is how you let them have freedom and fun in their job without letting them get out of control and work on the wrong things that do not meet the needs of the vision:
1. Create a clear, mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished. (do not focus on how, just on the results desired) First Chronicles 22:5-13
2. Give guidelines for success that include what not to do, what has failed before, what has worked. Let them know where the trouble and pitfalls are. Give them the benefit of your experience. Just do not tell them what to do. That is their job and it lets them respect themselves and shows that you respect them. Exodus 35:30-35
3. Let them know everyone and everything that can give them some kind of help financial, expertise, technical, human, etc. First Chronicles 22:14-18
4. Set up the standards of performance that will be used in evaluating the results and the specific times when reporting and evaluation will take place. I Chronicles 28:11-21
5. Specify what will happen, both good and bad, as a result of the evaluation.
I Chronicles 22-13
Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15
Be a leader, it is hard work but it can be rewarding.
God made you to be a leader.
Henry H. Wall, III of the Ten Commandments Company
developed at Pastor Samuel Harris, Jr.'s The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, The House of Prayer
Many of the ideas in this message
Were from reading the book
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen R. Covey
Franklin Covey Co.