No matter what context you find yourself in, you have the opportunity to take hold of an absolutely vital characteristic of godly leadership. If you take hold of it, your church will be healthy, your family will be healthy, and you’ll be filled with purpose. If you don’t take hold of it, if you refuse to reorient your life around it, you’ll not only struggle as a leader, but you’ll surely fail as one.
A Vital Characteristic of Godly Leadership
What is this characteristic? I’m glad you asked.
Stewardship takes your leadership beyond theories, trends, best practices, and any recycled cliche’s you hear at conferences. Stewardship gives you a lens in which to look through no matter your context. And when you look through the lens of stewardship you’ll find that leadership is about doing the right things with the things you’ve been given.
When your leadership is characterized by stewardship, you make much of however little you have. Stewardship works from the truth that everything we have has been provided and given to us by God and that we are simply managers of His resources. Typically we think of stewardship in the context of generosity, but it goes far beyond finances.
Godly leadership begins with this fundamental characteristic, and it raises your leadership capacity in a number of areas. Let’s look at how this impacts your leadership practically and how you can become a better steward in every area of your life and leadership.
6 Areas Where Stewardship Raises Your Leadership Capacity
1. Your Gifts
You’ve been gifted by God in certain ways. He has already prepared all the good things you will do in your life. The more you can put yourself in positions where you can leverage your gifts for His kingdom, the better.
Action: You should focus some time and attention towards strategically thinking and executing a plan on how you can maximize opportunities to use your gifts and delegate your weaknesses.
2. Others’ Gifts
Just as you have been gifted by God in certain ways, the people you lead have been as well. One of the best things you could possibly do is help others find out what God has gifted them for and then put them in positions and roles where they can use those gifts for God’s glory.
Action: Act as a facilitator for helping others discover their gifts. Then point them to how they can leverage those gifts for God’s glory in His church. This can be done in the context of a class, a regular leadership meeting, small groups, or one-on-one.
3. Your Family
My wife and I are about to meet our second baby girl in exactly a week. It has been such an absolute adventure for us since getting married and then having kids. I’ve got a lot of work to do in order to steward my family better, as I’m sure you would admit to as well. I love the imagery painted in Psalm 137 of children being arrows in the hand of a warrior, and being shot into the world to be salt and light for Jesus. We’re not just raising kids, we’re raising disciples. On top of that, being married has taught me a lot about following Jesus and leadership. To strive to love my wife as Christ loves the Church is a daily endeavor, one that I fail at all the time, but I still strive.
Action: Invest in your marriage by doing your best to schedule a weekly date night. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you don’t necessarily even have to leave the house. Just spend some undivided time together and then once a month, if you are able with finances, go on a date somewhere and spend some money. Having a strong, godly marriage is the best thing you can do for your kids, and I’m learning this more and more every day.
4. Your Resources
No matter how large or how small your salary, no matter if you rent or own a home, you have a responsibility to be a good steward of that which you have been given. Jesus even told a great story about this. If you’re in financial ruin, how can you expect to be able to lead well? With all your attention on your financial troubles, it becomes rather hard to lead effectively.
Action: Spend some time with an Excel spreadsheet and get control of your resources. Lead the way in generosity. When you’re generous in your own life it’s much easier to preach on generosity from the pulpit.
5. Church’s Resources
I love the philosophy of Craig Groeschel, pastor of Life Church – the largest church in America by far. They currently have 26 campuses, and yet, they have no debt. Now I know what you’re thinking – it’s easy to have no debt when you’re a mega-church. Think again. They deal with a larger budget, sure, but they have the same kinds of expenses as you do as well. Here’s what their philosophy is: let’s do the right thing with the right resources. This translates to not expanding to another campus without having the money already. They are big on teaching people to tithe and it has enabled them to strategically expand without having to resort to capital campaigns.
Action: Spend some time dreaming and praying about what God would want your church to do in light of the resources it has in the here and now. Meet with your leadership team, whether that be elders or an executive team of lay leaders or staff or both, and think about the future, pray about the future, and put some plans together in light of what the church has ben blessed with. Ask yourselves, what’s the right thing to do right now?
6. Your Time
We all have 24 hours in our day. The playing field is even from the start. Now, what are you going to do with your time today? This could arguably be the most important aspect of stewardship. The Bible says to make the most of every opportunity (see Ephesians 5:15-17).
Action: Approach each day with a plan. Know what you are going to work on, know what is on your calendar, and make the most of every opportunity. And be flexible when things don’t go according to your plan. I utilize a weekly productivity note in my Evernote to plan my day and make the most of my time. You can get this template by subscribing to our community here. You’ll receive that along with two other great resources.
What would you add?
Did I miss an area of stewardship? How have you seen stewardship play a role in your leadership?
Let us know in the comments below!