I am excited to be communicating with those who will be future leaders in ministry. Texas Bible College was where I had my first opportunity to serve in leadership. My experiences as student body president, and as editor of the school newspaper, provided invaluable preparation for other roles of leadership that I would serve in over the subsequent years.
To be in ministry is to be in leadership; the two are inseparable. Just to name a few ways that ministry is about leadership:
While the Scriptures are replete with examples of leaders, there is no greater example of effective leadership than Jesus Christ. In three years, he took twelve ordinary men and replicated himself in them. He prepared them to lead the effort to turn their world upside down.
Some leadership concepts have application in both the secular and spiritual realms. That being said, those who will serve in ministry must have an understanding that goes beyond mere secular leadership concepts. The pinnacle of our leadership pyramid is not a mere man, but God himself. We must always remember that his ways are higher than our ways, and the way of faith often does not follow secular principles. This is not a detriment. When you consider the Gifts of the Spirit that he gives - many times specifically to leaders - you can see that we have a real advantage. We are informed, empowered, and inspired in a supernatural manner. Such divine assistance offers a decided advantage over mere human wisdom.
We should not just recognize the advantage that his Spirit gives us – but we must also recognize the obligation to follow the Spirit even when it seems to fly in the face of conventional leadership concepts. In the secular arena, the norm is to map out a planned path to a successful career. To be successful spiritual leaders, we must remember we are not our own. We are bought with a price. We are subject to his direction, and his plan, for our life.
As this blog is directed toward those who are attending Bible College, or those who are considering doing so, I want to talk to you about where you should be focused in relation to the development of your leadership potential.
Each step successfully achieved in your leadership development becomes the foundation of success at the next level. In brief: You start out leading yourself, then you lead others, and ultimately you lead the institution. You literally end up “owning” the mission and purpose of the institution (the “institution” might be a local church, a particular ministry, or the church organization).
As a young person starting in ministry your focus should be on the development of personal leadership or the leading of yourself. Until you learn to lead yourself, you have no right, nor the moral authority to lead others. Those who are destined for leadership success should be intensely focused on mastering skills relative to leading themselves.
At the personal level of leadership you should be focused on excelling at:
It is in accomplishing these core abilities that you develop the foundation of your ability to successfully lead others. You will notice that all of these skills to be mastered at the personal level are not just grasping the theory of leadership. You must demonstrate your mastery in a practical way by actually “doing” these things. Your time in Bible College will have an intense focus on learning doctrine, as it should. It also presents a tremendous opportunity for you to learn and personally demonstrate leadership concepts you will need to possess to be a successful spiritual leader.
Successfully leading yourself calls for the development of character. The possession of character is a make-it or break-it aspect of the leadership paradigm. This is especially true in ministry. Talent is not enough.
Personal leadership is primary and basic. It is not flashy, but without it your future leadership success will be limited. Get it right. First.
-Rev. Kevin L. Prince
Texas District Superintendent
TBC Alumnus (Class of 1983)