In my last post, I shared six needs that I believe are facing Christian school educators today. It is important that we understand each of these needs. This week’s post will discuss the first of these six needs – the need for bold leadership. We all know the saying that everything rises and falls on leadership. It is also said that everyone is a leader. It that is the case, then every parent, teacher and administrator is in a leadership position. But what type of leadership is needed if we are going to be successful in accomplishing God’s purpose for biblical education?
Dr. Albert Mohler’s book, The Conviction to Lead, had a big impact on my life when I read it a few years ago. From his book I gleaned key insights into the type of leadership we must have if we are going to be successful in our efforts to provide kingdom education to the next generation.
We are engaged in a fiercely contested culture war over what is truth and what is real. This is not a time for peacetime management. What we need are wartime leaders. Here are several characteristics of the bold leadership needed by today’s Christians when it comes to educating our children.
1. Bold Leadership Begins with a Purpose not a Plan
We need Christian administrators, teachers and parents who know, understand and are committed to a biblical philosophy of education. We must hold to the deep conviction that God’s Word teaches us that our children should be given a Bible-based, Christ-centered education. Biblically based education is not something that is nice for those who want it. It is not just one alternative to many other types of schooling. We must understand the biblical purpose for why our schools exist.
2. Bold Leadership is Driven by Beliefs that Lead to Actions
Bold leaders act decisively because they are driven by deep convictions. In turn, their passion for these convictions is transferred to followers who join in concerted action to do what they know to be right. Our convictions about education must be grounded in truth found in God’s Word if we are to do the right things.
3. Bold Leadership Shapes Others’ Worldviews
Real leadership doesn’t happen until worldviews of our followers are changed and realigned. Leaders must not only know what is right, do what is right, and lead in the direction that is right. The leader must also lead followers to embrace the same knowledge. It is becoming more and more necessary for Christian educators and parents to develop a strong biblical worldview themselves if they are going to be successful in shaping the worldview of their students.
4. Bold Leadership is Driven by Passion
Passionate leaders driven by passionate beliefs draw passionate followers. Passion is different from mere “flashes of enthusiasm”. True passion is continual and never quenched. This type of passion arises out of conviction! The deeper the convictions held, the stronger the leader’s passion for those convictions. The language of passion requires boldness. We must speak of causes, not structures; of movements, not mechanics; of people, not statistics; of principles, not mere policies.
5. Bold Leadership is Grounded on Character
Leaders are trusted and followed when they are people of character. Character is having our lives aligned with our convictions. Those we lead will expect us to live and to lead in alignment with our convictions. The reason so many Christians lack character is that they don’t want to go through the struggles and trials that is required to build character. If we want to be conformed into the image of Christ, why should we be surprised when we face character-building suffering?
6. Bold Leadership Depends on Credibility
Bold leaders understand the importance of credibility! Credibility can be defined as earning the trust and confidence of your constituency. This happens when the leader does what he says he will do. It requires both character and competence. Leadership happens when character and competence are combined.
7. Bold Leadership is Practiced Through Stewardship
What we do matters now but it also has eternal consequences. We serve an eternal God and lead human beings for whom He has an eternal purpose. Every decision we make will have consequences for those who will follow in our footsteps. We must be good stewards over everything we have been given by the Lord. Bold leaders understand that they are merely stewards, not lords, of all that is put into their trust.
8. Bold Leadership is Focused on Legacy
Bold leaders build legacies! Leaders realize that it takes time to build a legacy. Bold leaders are in it for the long haul. Too many leaders are constantly changing jobs and looking for a “better” position. They end up building long resumes but cast no shadow.
There are two sides of the legacy leadership coin:
- Tenure – it is important to stay the course over a long period of time in order to leave a lasting legacy.
- Temporary – at the same time the leader understands that all leadership eventually ends.
Even though we must be committed to hang in there for the long haul, we also realize that one’s leadership will end. When it does end, you understand that you will not succeed youself. Someone will inherit your position along with all the consequences of all of your decisions. As kingdom leaders we must understand that there are no indispensable people only indispensable convictions/principles.
I found two types of legacies recorded in the Old Testament. One is highly desired and the other is one we should disdain. Consider what the Bible says about these two leaders and the legacies they left.
- Moses – died and they mourned for 30 days
- Jehoram – reigned 8 years and died to no one’s regret
As you can see there is a need for bold leadership if we are going to be successful in raising the next generation to follow Christ. Colossians 1:28-29 gives us the purpose that must be behind all we do and what gives us our strength to do it. Everything we do as leaders in the home, school and classroom should be designed to bring our children into maturity in Christ. The task is daunting but we do not have to accomplish it in our own power. It can only be done as we rely on God’s Spirit to work in and through us.
I pray that as the new year begins, we will all be willing to be wartime leaders.