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29 | Are you born (again) as a leader?

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In this podcast I was to discuss an interesting question: Is everyone a leader and do the rules change if you are a Christian?

Oddly this question has a connection to a Fox News story I read recently that talked of employees at a fast food restaurant who helped a person in the drive through.

When a tire on Brian Hall’s car went flat, the employees poured out of the restaurant and changed the tire, as the tradesman, who could have easily changed it himself, sat in his car and waited until they were done. Then when they finished, an employee gave Brian another free order of food and two free cookies, because they were concerned that the food he ordered had gone cold.

That is what I call service above and beyond the call of duty.

Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast I want to talk about the fact that I believe God has called you to be a leader.

But first we need to define leadership. What is a leader?

I recently read an interesting article by Tim Elmore, a Christian man, who heads an organization called “Growing Leaders” dedicated to training leaders in developing countries.

In his article entitled “Is everyone a leader?”, published on Psychology Today, Elmore says that the question he gets asked most often at his training seminars is this: Is everyone a leader?

Elmore says if you define leadership as it is typically defined today as a person with authority overseeing a group of people then the answer is no.

But Elmore defines leadership a bit differently.

First he believes there are two kinds of leaders.

The first is what he calls habitual leaders. These are people who are naturally gifted leaders and have the ability to take charge in basically any situation they are put in.

The second is what he describes as situational leaders. Elmore writes:

“’Situational leaders’ are those people who make up the majority of the population. Most of them don’t feel like – leaders until they find the right situation that fits their passions and strengths. Once in the area of their strength, they come alive and become the right one to lead in that particular situation. This is why a central goal for mentors ought to be to help emerging leaders find their situation.”

Tim Elmore, Is Everyone a Leader?

Elmore believes if people are put into areas where their passion and skills lie, they can rise to be leaders.

We see examples of situational leaders in the Bible. People who God raised up to be leaders in a specific situation.

Gideon is an example of this. He was a simple farmer before God called him to a leader during a very troubling time in Israel’s history.

Israel was in desperate times and were under the thumb of the neighboring Midianites.

Gideon was threshing grain in the wine press. It was a strategic move because the Midianites were raiding the Israelis during harvest times. Basically, they would steal the products once all the work had been done harvesting it. Since grain and grapes had different harvest times, Gideon was threshing the grain at the wine press, hoping the raiders would not search the wine press area where grapes were processed because grapes were out of season.

That was when the angel of God showed up and called Gideon to lead Israel against the Midianites, Gideon immediately disqualified himself. He did not look upon himself as a leader and referred to himself as least in his family that belonged to the smallest tribe in Israel.

Who would follow him?

But God saw that Gideon had leadership abilities uniquely suited to this situation.  The angel called Gideon a ‘mighty warrior’ so obviously Gideon had displayed fighting abilities that could be utilized in freeing Israel from Midian’s control.

Though Gideon is best known for demanding fleeces to ensure God was in this, in the end he successfully led Israel defeating the Midianites, as he led by example:

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.

Judges 7:17 NIV

When it came to fighting, because of his skills, Gideon was a leader.

But not only does Elmore believe there are two different types of leaders, he also does not define leadership as simply people having authority, but as well includes those having influence. He defines leadership as the ability to influence.

And he believes everyone can and should be an influencer.

He says that studies have shown even introverted people will influence 10,000 people in an average lifetime.

Persuasion to Elmore is just a different style of leadership.

Queen Esther was an influencer. While the Jews were in captivity in Persia, Esther ended up as the Queen and through her position was able to influence, persuade the king to stop a potential genocide of the Jews by a senior bureaucrat in the Persian government.

Perhaps the most telling moment in this account is the statement by Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, who was encouraging or persuading Esther to talk to the king:

And who knows if perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

Esther 4:14

In fact both Mordecai and Esther were influencers as God uniquely placed both these people in a situation where they could lead by their ability to persuade and influence.

Notice both these peoples only influenced one person. Mordecai influenced Esther. Esther influenced the king. This chain of influential events saved the lives of thousands of people.

Never underestimate or undervalue your ability to influence.

Remember that story I talked about at the beginning of the podcast. That involved an employee with a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Tennessee. Chick-fil-A is owned by the Truett family who are Christians and it is one of the fastest growing fast food chains in America.

They have recently received a lot of attention because of their support of traditional marriage. But despite the fact they have faced protests and are closed on Sundays so employees can have a family day and attend church, the chain has become one of the largest fast food restaurant chains in America.

And it is curious how there are often stories in the media involving Chick-fil-A employees.

There was a story about a Chick-fil-A employee in Texas that ended up trending on social media because a patron in the restaurant saw the employee step from behind a counter and help a disabled person in the restaurant eat his meal, by cutting it up and feeding him.

In Stafford Virginia, a young woman said that she was just getting into her car when she dropped her phone and it fell down a storm drain. When a Chick-fil-A employee saw what happened, he cut his finger removing the drain hole cover and then climbed down to retrieve her phone which miraculously hadn’t gotten wet and was still working.

Or how about the Georgia employee who was working at the drive through. It was all caught on camera inside the store. The boy suddenly jumps through the server window and rescued a six-year-old boy who was being strangled by his seat belt. The Chick-fil-A employee was able to cut the boy free with his pocket knife. He is called a hero, because most believe without his quick action the child whose face was turning color would have died.

So what is behind all these stories about Chick-fil-A in the media?

Well here may be one. There may be a reason.

In an interview with Christian Headliner, Mark Miller, who is Chick-fil-A’s VP of training and development, says that every employee is trained to be a leader. Yes, every employee is trained to be a leader and as part of this are encouraged to take the initiative and be proactive in service.

In fact, he adds that people would be shocked on how much Chick-fil-A spends in developing leadership among its employees.

And don’t just take his word for it.

Jeff Dahms, a VP with a group called Customer Service Profiles, said that the most striking thing that he noted about his study of Chick-fil-A’s success story is that the fast food chain does not use the typical terms such as manager and customer service representative to describe its employees.

Instead, Chick-fil-A uses terms such as leader, influencer and stakeholder. He adds not only do they use these terms, they believe in these terms.

Chick-fil-A treats its employees as leaders and then expects them to be leaders and influencers and remember most of their employees are in their teens or early 20s.

Chick-fil-A calls its employees influencers, so don’t be surprised when they start acting that way.

Here is the point. God has also called all believers to be leaders. Because God looks upon every Christian as a leader, a person of influence.

You are a person of influence. You can influence people.

In one of His parables, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God and His second coming to a master who has left on a journey:

Notice what Jesus says:

34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.

Mark 13:34 NKV

That is you and me and all who believe on Jesus. We all have authority.

Notice how Jesus says the master gave each of his servants authority. This is the Greek word “exousia” and means “power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases.”

When you become a Christian, God gives you authority and a purpose to your life. You have responsibility. You have a calling.

In fact, when Jesus sent out His disciples, we read that the Lord gave them both authority (which was the right to do something) and the power which is the ability to do it:

9 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.

Luke 9:1 NASV

And they were shocked by the authority and power that they had. Now God may give us different levels of authority and power, but each of us has it and I suspect most of us are functioning well below our leadership potential.

That authority you have comes from Jesus who is the King of Kings and the power comes from the Holy Spirit who now resides inside you.

In 2 Corinthians 5:11 Paul writes:

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men

2 Corinthians 5:11a

We are called to be persuaders and to be influencers. This is a leadership role in the Kingdom of God

God has called us all to be leaders, people of influence.

I believe God will even anoint you at your job or in your area of influence to raise your profile, so you will have an even greater influence for the Kingdom of God.

God has called you to be a leader.


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