It took me a little while to accept that I am a leader. Our pastor and director of Jesus Culture,
Banning Liebscher, would call me into his office and challenge me to grow in certain areas. I would complain and push back, upset that I felt like more was being required of me than others on our team. He would say, “Yes! More is required of you because of your leadership calling!”
I would concede and push and stretch myself towards growth.
Once I could say with confidence that I was indeed a leader, I could also say with confidence that I was a work in progress. It’s so important to keep growing as leaders. Being a leader does not mean that you have it all figured out and have finally “reached it”. If we aren’t growing, we are stagnant and stagnant waters can get pretty murky.
There are four core values that I have held onto to help me stay in a place of growth as a leader:
Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a plan for our lives and it’s a good one! Isaiah 55:10-11 says that God’s Word is like water in our lives, but not only does God want us to grow, He wants us to flourish.
Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated when we aren’t where we think we should be. We can get caught up in comparing our lives to others and feel as if somehow, we are coming up short. But God doesn’t want the very thing He has called us into to be the thing that also takes us out. When we move from point A to point B, He wants us to flourish there. We can’t see what’s around the corner, nor do we know exactly what will be required of us when we reach our destination, but God does. Embrace the season you are in because God is preparing inside of you everything you need to be successful in what’s coming next. There is no magic formula to speed things up, there is only God’s timing and it is perfect!
The most growth in my life has come when I have responded well to feedback in my life. Iron sharpens iron and we are created to live in community, connected to other people. I believe that Jesus commanded us to love others not because it’s simply a nice thing to do, but because He knows that this is how we will truly thrive and reach our full potential.
Living in community and having people in our lives can push us, challenge us, humble us, and will always help bring growth. You won’t reach your full potential living outside of community. So, get in! Ask for feedback and cheer others on in their growth!
Once when my boys were very little, Wyatt (my oldest) got stuck underneath the house. He had crawled under there and was too scared to crawl back out the way he had gone in. I was panicking when suddenly the Holy Spirit gave me an idea. I ran inside and found the gloves to a Spider-Man costume. I ran back outside and handed the gloves to Wyatt through a little hole and told him that once he put them on, he would become Spider-Man and Spider-Man is not scared of anything! Wyatt instantly believed me! He put them on and crawled back out the way he had come.
What we believe matters! So, we have to ask ourselves, what are we filling our mind with? Reading the Word of God, speaking truth out loud over ourselves, and guarding what we put in front of us are all ways to be cautious of what we are filling our minds with. There is a reason Jesus told us to be like little children; they simply believe! Your Father loves you and wants the very best for you!
This is the most important core value for leadership growth! If you find yourself lacking the passion to pursue God more and grow, you don’t know yet how much God loves you. 1 John 4:19 says that we love because He first loved us. This means that once we experience and are filled with the love of God, it naturally causes us to want to pour our love back out on Him in response.
Just because you show up to church on Sunday morning doesn’t mean you have a thriving relationship with God. Spend time with Him, ask Him to reveal His love for you, and pour your love back out on Him. This relationship is the most important part of our growth as leaders!
Kim Walker-Smith is a founding member of the Jesus Culture band and movement and is a voice of freedom and inspiration for countless people across the globe. For over 10 years she has played a major role in influencing worshippers and worship teams to passionately pursue Jesus and is one of the most influential female voices in Christian music. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook. Her new book is Brave Surrender: Let God’s Love Rewrite Your Story. Learn more at BraveSurrenderBook.com/.