How to Cultivate Humility in Leadership

For the past week or two I have been studying through the book of Acts in my devotions. As I have been studying Acts, I have seen several leadership principles I have been wanting to share. If you read my blog regularly, you know I love to write about leadership principles I see in Scripture. I was going to write a few posts about the leadership principles I have seen in Acts, but I realized all of them come back to one thing-humility. If there is any trait a Biblical leader must have it is humility. It’s not an easy trait to maintain and cultivate, but with God’s help we can be leaders known for our humility. Here are three ways to cultivate humility in leadership as seen in the book of Acts:

1. Don’t be afraid to serve behind the scenes. At the end of Acts 1 we see the disciples are faced with a situation-who is going to replace Judas. In verses 21-22 we see that whoever replaces Judas has to have been among them the whole time they were traveling with Jesus from the time He was baptized by John until His ascension. There was only two men who meet this criteria, one being a man by the name of Matthias. Peter prays and asks God to show them which man He has chosen for this job. God reveals to them Matthias was the man and so he replaced Judas. The reason this is so interesting is because we have not heard of this Matthias guy until now. He has been walking with the disciples and Jesus for years and we just now hear about him! What does this teach us? Sometimes we have to serve behind the scenes. Sometimes as leaders we have to go unnoticed and serve in the background while everyone else is getting the recognition. The first thing we can do to cultivate humility in leadership is be ok with serving behind the scenes. At the end of the day, it’s not about us anyways.

2. Always depend on God. Before Peter and the other disciples made their decision about who will replace Judas, Matthias or the other guy, they prayed and asked God for His will (Acts 1:24, 25). Many times in leadership we try to make all the decision on our own. We feel that as the leader we must call the shots. But if we want to be Biblical leaders who maintain humility, we must depend on God. Not just in making decision, but in everything we do. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, you must get serious about depending on God.

3. Don’t allow any task to become to small for you do to. A lot of times in leadership we feel like there are some tasks that are just too “small” for us to do. For example, a lead pastor might not feel like it’s too small of a task for him to clean the bathrooms. That is a somewhat extreme example, but if we want to be leaders who have humility, we must realize we sometimes have to do those “small” tasks and get our hands dirty at times. If you’re in leadership and refuse to do something because it’s too “small” or “lower” than you, your probably struggling with pride and you need to cultivate humility. In Acts 6 a need arose-widows where getting neglecting in the daily distribution of food. Because the apostles were called to pray and minister through the Word so they equipped other faithful men to do this task of serving tables. One of the men chosen to serve tables was Stephen. What is interesting about that is a few chapters later you find out Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr. Stephen didn’t allow serving tables become too “small” of a task for him. He decided to start with a “small” task and obviously was faithful at it. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, don’t ever allow a task to become “too small” for you to do.

I want to leave you with a verse that I believe drives all three of these points home. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” Because Matthias and Stephen humbled themselves and were servant leadership, God exalted them later on down the road. Sometimes we have to serve in those humble ways before God exalts us. The best thing a leader can do is humble himself before God and allow God to exalt him in the proper time-God’s timing.

3 Leadership Lessons from Moses

One of my favorite things to do is study and talk about Biblical leadership. I believe that everyone has the potential to be a Biblical leader. I shared this simple thought with a group of men this past Sunday. These were not your average church guys or men gathered for a Bible study, these were men inside the Medina County Jail. I went to the jail to preach God’s Word to these men and my message could have been summed up in this one though: Everyone has the potential to be a Biblical leader. I believe on major reason we don’t always believe that truth is because we allow our past and our mistakes keep us from moving forward as leaders. Certainly this is what these men felt when they were listening to me preach this message while inside a jail. I believe the person who has made terrible mistakes and been through many trails is a great candidate to be a great leader of God. Charles Swindoll said, “No one deserves the right to lead without first preserving through pain, heartache, and failure.

Maybe you feel that way. How could you be a Biblical leader with your past? I want to remind you, just as I did the men in the jail, that some of the greatest leaders in the Bible could have easily used the excuse of their past. One of these leaders is Moses. I want to share with you three leadership lessons we see from the early life of Moses:

1. Leaders have a past full of mistakes. In Exodus 2:12 we read that Moses murdered a man and then buried him in the sand! Think about that compared to your past mistakes. If God can forgive and use Moses, a murder, in leadership, why couldn’t He use you? We all have a past full of mistakes, but we must not allow that past to keep us from doing what God calls us to do. Jeremy Hales, camp director at Skyview Ranch, says, “The rear view mirror is smaller that the front window.” It’s easy to look in the rear view mirror of our life and see the mistakes behind us, but the front window is huge and is a full-view of what God has for us in the future. Again, Moses murdered someone and God used him; God can use you!

2. Leaders must go through the wilderness. The best leaders in the world have been through the wilderness. After Moses killed a man, he ran (Exodus 2:15) to the land of Midian, which was basically a wilderness. God had two purposes for the wilderness for Moses: to punish him for his sin and to teach him lessons for the future. This is how God disciplines His children. We see this twofold purpose in Hebrews 12:5-11. In this passage we see that God disciplines us because He loves us just as a good father disciplines his children. God is holy and must punish sin. Ultimately, He did this through His Son who bore God’s wrath for our sins. But even as Christians, God has to chasten us and correct us when we sin. What we see in this Hebrews passage is that even as God does that, He also has another purpose in mind: to train us and to make us more holy (Hebrews 12:10-11). Before you can be a leader, God has to train you and sometimes that training comes through a wilderness. Currently I am experience that. I am waiting and praying for God to open a door for my first full-time ministry job, but I am having to go through the wilderness of discouragement, learning to trust God, and patience on Him. Click here to view a post I wrote awhile back on this subject.

3. Leaders have a holy calling. I believe we sometimes don’t fully understand just how special and awesome it is to know God has called you into leadership of some type for Him! In Exodus 3:1-6 we read that God showed up to call Moses from within a burning bush! God then tells Moses to take of his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy. When God calls you to do something for Him, it’s a holy thing! Don’t take lightly the calling of God on your life.

I hope these three leadership lessons from the early life of Moses are an encouragement to you. Remember, God can forgive you and use you! You may have to go through the wilderness to get there, but the calling of God on your life is a holy thing!

Related post:
3 Leadership Lessons from Jude
3 Leadership Lessons from Jeremiah
3 Ways to Handle Personal Sin as a Leader 

Developing a Theology of Leadership

Last night I decided to read an ebook that has been on my laptop for quite some time. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of ebooks, but this one is a must read for anyone in the area of leadership, inside or outside of the church.

Developing a Theology of Leadership is a small ebook that is only about 14 pages. You can easily read it in one setting and it only took me about 15 minutes to read it. It is written by Tony Morgan who is a well-known person in the area of Christian leadership.

Morgan basically breaks the book up into five parts:

Part One: Building a Firm Foundation

Part Two: Servant Leadership

Part Three: Empowerment

Part Four: Character

Part Five: Put it Into Action

In part one, Morgan challenges you to build your idea and theology of leadership on the Bible. He is not against learning from leaders outside the Christian circle, but our foundation needs to be God’s Word. In part two, Morgan talks about being a servant leader and how if you base your theology of leadership on Scripture you will have to be a servant leadership, its Biblical! In part three, Morgan explains how true leadership is empowering others to do God’s work. In part four, Morgan reminds you that leadership is less about the leaders abilities, but about his character. Then lastly in part five, Morgan give you a strategic plan how networking with leaders around you to help you grow as a leader.

Here are a few quotes from the book to hopefully wet your appetite and make you want to read this great book:

“Biblical leaders cannot be anything but servant leaders.”

“Leadership isn’t leadership if it isn’t released to others.”

“Leadership is less about the words or actions of the leader and more about the character of the leader.”

“I may be gifted to lead, but my character will determine the ongoing impact of my leadership.”

Leaders, take a few minutes of your time and read this helpful ebook. It’s free and downloadable, so go here to get it! Also, my friend Josh Evans, student pastor at Union Grove Baptist Church in NC, wrote a short blog about this book as well. You can read his thoughts here.