I saw a comment over the weekend from Ed Stetzer, who leads the Lifeway Research Dept, which really challenged and encouraged me. He simply said this:
“You can’t lead what you do not live.”
Over the years I have seen this sentiment expressed in a variety of forms: “you can’t lead others any further than you have gone yourself”, etc. In each case, the message is a strong and important reminder for us. Our integrity is critical to our effectiveness. I draw two important conclusions from this which I believe are relevant to us in leading small groups.
1. We will quickly lose credibility as Bible teachers and leaders in discipleship if we are talking about living out our faith, but not actually doing it. Hypocrisy has always been a major problem for the church. A ridiculous number of people cite hypocrisy as their reason for not becoming a Christian. Now, this is a weak rationale for not embracing Christ because He is a perfect Savior for imperfect people. We all make mistakes and should never paint ourselves as anything but “one beggar telling other beggars where to find the Bread of Life.” However each of us must be committed to doing OUR part to share authentic faith with others. Bottom line: live out the principles you teach. Let’s graciously and lovingly hold one another accountable to authentic faith.
2. As we live out our faith we gain credibility to teach, and material to share as we teach it. Authentic leadership not only involves avoiding hypocrisy…it involves sharing your story with others. When we teach about the application of God’s Word to life without sharing from our own experiences, we rob our people of a blessing. Give God the glory for his redemptive work in your life by sharing your story as you teach.
Here is another good leadership quote from my good friend and mentor Dr. Leonard Dupree: “Leadership is good, but if real people aren’t following you then at some point you can get so far out in front of people that you aren’t leading them, you’re just taking a walk.”
As leaders we must work to maintain strong connections to the people God has given us to lead. Use letters, note cards, Facebook, phone calls, Twitter, or whatever you feel led to use, but stay connected to the lives of your people. The more connected we are to people, the more we will be able to present God’s Word to them each week in dynamic context.
Remember that our Wednesday night teachers meetings in May will be held on the 8th and 22nd. In June we will resume meeting on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.
Have a great week!
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