|by Karen Harmon|
For some, the word “leader” can bring feelings of purpose and confidence. For others, it can bring feelings of intimidation and inadequacy. As followers of Jesus, we are called to LEAD others to Christ, which means we are called to lead in all our spheres of influence. How can we lead effectively in every role and season of our lives?
Be confident of your identity in Christ.
(Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:13-17; Colossians 3:10-14)
Our identity should not be rooted in WHAT we DO but in WHO He created us to BE. In 2007, I became a stay-at-home mom. Everything I knew about leadership and purpose changed. Previously, I was working full-time as a physical therapist and serving regularly on the worship team. I could lead patients and support staff in my career. I could lead people into the presence of the Lord as a worship leader; but I had no idea what leadership meant in this new role. With no paying job or ministry that I loved, I completely lost my identity and learned a valuable lesson. I cannot be the effective leader God has called me to be without first knowing who I am in Christ. In order to find my Christ-given identity, I had to let go of my past expectations and failures and embrace the present. I had to believe in the potential God placed inside of me by releasing fear, comparisons, and ideals. I had to trust and be confident in God and in myself. I had to dig into the Word of God and seek His face like never before. Knowing our identity in Christ is the foundation of our leadership identity. Our leadership identity may look different at times depending on vocation, but our identity in Christ is a constant regardless of vocation.
Be bold with your passion, purpose, and vision.
(Jeremiah 29:11-13; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:23-24)
Unlocking your passion will lead to your purpose which will clarify your vision. We are all uniquely created with different interests and talents, and have had various life experiences. Use these things to help ignite passion. Are you being a wise steward of the one life that God has given you? I love the example of Esther in the Bible. I call her the “unsuspecting leader.” According to Scripture, her primary role before she became queen was taking part in daily beauty treatments for a whole year, so she would be ready when it was her time with the king. To me, that does not seem like Leadership Training 101, and Esther didn’t seem like she possessed naturally strong leadership abilities (as evidenced by the frequent pep talks from Mordecai). However, she became the queen, risked her life to go before the king unannounced, and saved the Jews from death. Sometimes, it just takes a small, brave step forward to discover what you’re capable of doing. Your vision may be to start a small group, open a new business or non-profit, go back to school, start a blog, or simply be more attentive to those you encounter. Whatever it is, combining your passion, purpose, and vision, will help define your leadership identity. Once you have a vision, writing down action steps will help you chart your course with more direction and boldness. This can include listing priorities, creating goals, and organizing a support system. One of the biggest lies that Christian women believe is that we should ignore our God-given abilities, talents, and callings for the sake of a primary role. In order to further God’s work here on earth, it is vital we walk in ALL God created us to be.
Be intentional with your influence.
(Matthew 20:26; I Thessalonians 5:11; II Timothy 4:2)
The greatest leaders serve unselfishly, lead by example, and develop other leaders. Jesus’ life is the ultimate leadership guide. Draw out the potential and purpose in those around you, and let them shine. Nothing means more to people than when someone takes the time to see them, validate them, and encourage them. Sometimes a little push or a word of encouragement will go a long way. Your most important ministry may not be off a platform to thousands, but in daily life to a few. You have influence, with or without a leadership title.
I often tell my kids, “You may be the only Jesus that somebody ever meets.” Be intentional with how you interact with others. Look for opportunities to show the love of Christ, and pour into people. Be a loud encourager and a gentle corrector when needed. No matter your current roles…whether you are young, old, single, married, a mother, work outside or in the home…you have greatness inside of you, given by God, to influence others. You have purpose in all aspects of your life. You are equipped with certain abilities, talents, dreams, and resources to positively impact the world around you. Walk boldly in who God created you to be…a leader!
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