It has been said that the way you know if someone is a leader is whether or not they have followers.
This is true to a certain extent but there is more than one type of leader.
You can be a leader because you are a rebel.
You can be a leader because you speak for those that are afraid to move forward.
So being an authentic leader of God’s people is more than just having followers. It is finding the voice that God has designed for you to have to lead His people forward into the destiny that He has planned for them.
It is not until the last couple of years that I have found my voice as a leader.
It did not come in the way or in the package that I imagined.
However, the avenue that God has used to give me that voice, was not how I found my voice as a leader.
The process was in all honesty, a lifelong process.
It was not until I looked back did I see the hand of God in all that I have gone through to understand how that voice was developed.
So I thought I would share with you some of my insights in hopes that they will help you find your voice as a leader.
How To Find Your Voice As A Leader Of God’s People
Before I get started, I want you to understand that what I am going to share with you comes from neither pop psychology nor pop culture.
Where I get my insights are both from the scriptures and from what I understand about the long-term purposes of God.
You see, I am probably the poster child for trying to take shortcuts.
I have many times relied on my intellect and my plans rather than allowing God to form in me the things that He wanted to form in me.
Intellect is not wrong and neither is planning, but when you place those things above the sovereignty of God, then they become an idol in and of themselves.
Understanding the voice within your voice principle.
We as leaders of the people of God can easily forget that we are called to be His voice to those people. That part of what we do as a leader is speak as an oracle of God. (1 Peter 4:11)
That means that His voice needs to be heard as we speak with our voice. This does not come by just passing on knowledge but instead comes from speaking with an unction that He provides to those that take the time to hear what He wants to say.
There have been many times where I have tried to shortcut this process. I have either not spent the time listening for His voice before delivering a message or I have just used someone else’s message and tried to make it fit my congregation.
The results were less than spectacular to say the least.
You cannot sidestep the process of learning how to hear His voice and incorporate what He is saying to you into your leadership.
About 10 years back there was a fad that went through the church based on the book written by Rick Warren called the “Purpose Driven Life” and all of a sudden it seemed like every pulpit in America was preaching the purpose-driven something.
I have no doubt that the original message that Rick Warren presented to His congregation and the book that He wrote was contained the “voice within his voice” however every person who copied Rick Warren took a shortcut and became a voice for the man who had the voice within their voice.
Instead of being the one who had the voice, they parroted the one who had the voice.
If you are going to be a leader who has the voice within the voice, you are going to have to do what it takes to get it from God first.
Quotes, ideas, theological frameworks are important and will help you put structure to your message, but you must have the message first.
If you are going to lead, you must find the voice of God and then allow Him to speak through you to His people.
The voice of authentic leadership
Webster’s Dictionary defines authentic as it pertains to leadership as being true to one’s own personality, spirit or personality. To be real rather than fake or an imitation.
If we are going to be authentic leaders then we have to come to grips with who we are and how God has made us. This takes a while.
It took me a long time to understand what makes me tick, what makes me passionate, what makes me unique in this world.
Some leaders never get to this point.
They have been trained that they have to play a certain role and that they have to fit within those confines. I always struggled with this. I didn’t fit.
I asked my uncle years ago how to deal with this issue. His advice although well-meaning, was not very helpful.
“fake it until you make it.”
That is the exact opposite of authentic leadership.
It was not until I discovered that the unmerited favor of God, normally called grace, and the unfailing and unconditional love of God actually applied to me did I start to get a handle on authenticity.
I did not have to fit into somebody else’s model or mold.
God wanted to use me, even with my rough and tumble background and tendencies to be a bull in a china shop. When I am that way, yet humble and acknowledging my struggles and weaknesses, it is then that people see real authenticity and want to follow someone like that.
So I would like to encourage you to allow God to start working on showing you who you really are.
Let Him assure you that it is Him that does that work and that you are free to be who He has created you to be.
After all, aren’t we God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus? (Ephesians 2:10)
The biblical process of becoming a leader.
You have heard the saying that someone is just a natural-born leader. This may be true in a human sense but it is not true in a biblical sense.
Take a look at the lives of Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul. I would say that those 4 guys are the biggies in the Bible.
Without taking away from the divinity of Christ, let’s take a look at the process that each of these men went through as God prepared them to be His voice.
- Each of them had a distinct call. They did not get up one morning and decide they were going to be a leader. They each knew that they had to do what they were doing out of obedience to what God had called them to do. A biblical leader is a called leader, not a man-made or natural born leader.
- Each of them had a season of being alone with God. Each of them had a period where they were taken into a wilderness or desert experience where they heard the voice of God and developed the character that was needed for leadership. A biblical leader is set apart by God for a season so that God can work in them what He wants to work through them.
- Each of these men were asked to do menial things. Whether they came from rich or poor backgrounds, influential or not, each of these men were asked at some point to do tasks that were lowly and beneath their purported station in life. Even Jesus lowered himself to wash the feet of those He served. Biblical leaders are formed not coronated.
- Each of them became the voice of God to those they served. At the appointed hour and time each of these men were released by God to be His voice to the people they were called to speak to and lead. Through the process that God brought each of these men through, they had “God’s voice” developed into their voice. Instead of just mouthing what others thought about something, they spoke and lead as one who has heard from God directly. They spoke as one having authority and not as the Scribes and Pharisees. (Matt 7:29)
It has been my experience that you cannot get around any of these processes. If you try, you will just take another trip around Mt. Zion.
It was not until I went through these things that I really found my voice of leadership.
It doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
It does not sound like anyone else’s.
However, the fruit is evident and it has nothing to do with me. It is what He formed in me through these experiences.
I did not find my voice as a leader by going to a conference or seminar.
I did not find it by watching TV preachers or reading books.
I found it at the feet of Jesus.
You can find your voice too!