This past Sunday, our church celebrated being a church for 70 years. It was such an amazing service and an honor to be a part of. I got to speak a small portion of the event about the future. I spoke how we all have a part in speaking influence into the lives of the next generation and how Paul is one of many models of leaders in the Bible who got this idea. When I was studying about Paul’s leadership, I picked out a few examples that stuck out to me of how he led. I really feel that we in any ministry position, but especially youth ministry can lead like Paul.
He had others follow him.
When was Paul ever alone? Hardly ever. Wherever he went, he had at least one person with him, sometimes more. Timothy followed Paul along for what is believed around 15 years. Paul picked up Timothy during his second missionary trip and followed Paul along on his journey. In my life, I have learned best through what has been modeled to me. I believe Paul knew that, so he was a model to others by having them tag along with him wherever he went.
He spoke influence on their lives.
In all of his letters, Paul’s introductions start with some sort of influence. Why? I believe Paul may have felt that positivity was a great way to start before trying to redirect others. Before we try to redirect our teams or young people’s lives, I think we should follow his model and let them know that God loves them and is using them, but here is how we can better do that. When we think about, those that speak influence on us do the same. They let you know better ways of doing leadership, but it is through positivity. I really believe we can direct others onto the right path of God by just simply speaking influence on them. Send your leaders or staff a thank you card with encouraging words. Text your people how proud you are of them. There are so many options, but people grow through being influenced.
He handed off the leadership when it was time.
When Paul saw it was time for Timothy to take over the church at Ephesus, Paul dropped him off. We should be doing the same. In my current ministry, I saw that a group of leaders were ready to take over our kid’s ministry on Sunday nights. I spoke to each of them and asked if they would be a part of it. A team was formed and since the ministry has flourished. When you see the potential of leadership in someone and you lead them to be a leader in the church, you have to eventually give off that leadership to them. Sometimes it can be difficult to truly know if that person or team may be ready, but you got to trust them and that God knows what He is doing. It will work with God’s timing and true development of your leaders.
He was authentic.
Paul was an authentic man. He was real about how he felt he did not deserve to be in Christian leadership because of his past, but through Christ, he was saved. I think Paul knew that being who he really was around people spoke to others. He spoke how he really felt about himself and the situation to those he led. I think we should do the same. I believe we should obviously be careful not to speak too much truth where we are going to harm others, but that we should ultimately speak from a voice of influence. When your leaders ask you how you are doing and you’ve had a terrible week, let them know that. If you feel you could be doing better with where you are leading, let them know you want to change. This is being authentic and showing that you are not perfect. None of us have it all figured out, so don’t model that to your leaders.
He loved doing it.
Paul loved the opportunity to serve God in Christian leadership. In Philippians, he spoke how he was content in living in whatever way Christ wanted him to live. He wrote many of his letters from prison but was passionate still about reaching the next generation church. He loved doing it from behind bars. He didn’t care where he was, he was still going to serve Jesus. Do you truly love what you do? If not, it may be time to evaluate how you can change, or if it is time to move on. I truly feel that when we are in God and living in His path for our lives, we will love what we do just like Paul.
Paul gives the church so many different leadership lessons. There are much more lesson we can find than what I have listed. In modeling Paul’s leadership, I think that we will see our leadership grow and others grow through us. I hope Paul’s leadership is an influence on your life and helps you to grow as a Christian leader.
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