Can leadership make a difference in the world? Absolutely.
It’s easy to look at situations in the world and think that there is no hope. However, leaders can make a difference. This is obvious from the Bible, history, and our own experience, as we shall see below.
So, why do we look at situations and think that leadership can make no difference?
1. We reacted to a situation, and it didn’t change things. Oftentimes, we show our displeasure in a situation by getting upset, trying to solve it, or moving away from it. We think we have shown leadership, but it made no difference. For example, imagine you have someone in your life who you would like to do better in school. When you saw that they were doing poorly, you got upset. They kept doing poorly. You kept getting upset. It made little difference. The result is people think that leadership makes little difference. They have reacted to a situation rather than giving real thought to what will make it better.
2. We have not been clear on where we are leading people. I am a Pastor, and I have a lot of friends who are pastors. It’s easy for Pastors to react negatively when people don’t attend the activities and programs of their church. However, where are we leading people? What do we want people to do? Is our main goal for them to come to the activities of our church? Is that our real goal for people? Oftentimes, we act like that, and, frankly, it’s not a real compelling vision. A better vision is to build people of faith who serve out of love for God and others. If that is the goal, have we made that as clear as we have made our desire that they go to services? Are we really clear on where we want people to be and how they get there?
3. We forget that leadership is a process. Let’s suppose that we want our employees to engage with customers in a more hospitable way. You come up with a plan, and you explain it. Then, you find that they are not doing it. You respond by saying, “Well. I guess that doesn’t work.” No. It’s a process. People don’t generally change in a day. If you want to lead people in change, then you have to be in it for the long haul.
History is full of examples that demonstrate that leadership makes a difference. In the Bible, there is almost nothing that happens without a leader stepping up to fill the gap. Whether it’s Moses, Daniel, Esther, Peter, or Paul, it’s people who say “yes” to leading, even when it is hard. The movement of the kingdom of God is rooted in people stepping up to lead. One thing that is clear from the Bible is that God uses leaders to bring His work forward.
The history of the United States is no different. Where would the revolution been without a Washington? Or the Civil War without a Lincoln? Would the civil rights movement have made as much progress without the leadership of someone like Martin Luther King, Jr.? Leaders made the difference?
What about on a local level? Almost every move forward on the local level occurs because someone has a vision for what could and should happen. For example, in our area, one man worked with the elderly at a local church. It made him realize that there were a lot of elderly people who were lonely and needed serious help. He started an organization that has helped people who wanted to serve connect with these people who needed help. However, he has also helped those who were served turn into servants who connect with one another so that they do not feel so alone. Hundreds or even thousands have received blessings because of the vision of one man.
Think also of your own life. How have you made strides forward? Has it not been someone in your life who has given you some guidance and leadership? When I was in high school, I had a lot of questions about the Christian faith. I met a Christian philosophy professor who was willing to hang out with me, did not react to my doubts, and helped me work through these things. It was a real blessing. This was leadership that made a difference.
And that’s what we can do in the lives of others. We can make a difference in our communities. We can lead. We have to begin with a vision, work at it consistently, and remember it’s a process, but, over time, it can make a difference. Where is the need that you see and that is on your heart? Can you begin praying and thinking about what it would like to lead in that place? There are opportunities to make a difference if we will step up and outward in hope and faith.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope that it was a blessing and encouragement to you. Do you have questions about this? Do you have stories that might encourage others? Please share them in the comments below. If you want to follow this and other articles, subscribe below (mobile) or in the right hand column (laptop). You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at the links in the same places.