So often our conversations around leadership tend to be focused on the gifting or strategy of the one in the position of leadership, rather than the vision for where the leading is going. I think all Christians are called to be leaders in some capacity, for the simplest definition is that we are called to lead others to Christ. We are to have the vision for what God wants to do in our lives, our world, our time and to envision others with that grand concept.
But in a daily reality, leadership in my life is most often expressed in my job. I own a documentary film company with a small staff and a number of freelancers we use on a regular basis. I function as a director/producer/editor, so I am literally having to develop vision for a creative project so that clients, crew members, and audiences can clearly grasp the concept for the films we make–both feature documentaries and short films for clients.
After articulating that vision, I then need to lead in a way that the structure for our work is clear and provides room for each person to contribute their talents. This is actually not easy if you tend to be a more intuitive person who is inspired on the spot. To lead well means you have to equip others well, so that they get where you are going. And that means a lot of planning and administrative work has to be done in advance for any creative leadership to take place.
There’s a lot more grunt work to leadership than we often assume from the outside. In my personal life, leadership is often expressed in the daily interactions with my church. Jesus has placed me in a body of believers and given me work to do to inspire them about the mission here and the journey home. I need to be proactive about investing in my church, my small group, my friends, my outreach. Like my role at work, this means a lot of planning and administrative details. But most often it means pausing and asking God for ideas and insight about what kind of personal ministry will refresh those around me. Who needs what kind of care and how can I provide it?
It also means stepping in when you see things are on a downhill slide and taking the initiative to intercede when you suspect a friend is hiding or hurting. We are daily in a spiritual battle; leaders see that and go on the offensive to protect their fellow warriors. To that end, my favorite inspiration in the Bible is Abigail in 1 Samuel 25, whose bold initiative spared the lives of her servants and also kept David from bloodshed. She used all of her strength, initiative, and resources to confront a powerful man and call him to a higher and more godly standard. May we all lead like her!
Carolyn is an author, speaker, and documentary filmmaker.
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