Phil Beuckler, someone worth knowing, commenting on the well known axiom that ‘leadership is influence’ begs to differ suggesting, rather, that leadership is example – leading to the art of authentic imitation. This isn’t to discount influence, he stresses, but it does make ‘example’ of prime importance. I concur, especially as it relates to Christian leadership.
In our roles as followers of Jesus and leaders we are asked to both teach the scriptures, and be an example of our teaching. It’s as simple, as profound and as demanding as that – little more, nothing less.
But this assumes two things. Actually, it demands them.
The first is that we read, we digest, we inhale and exhale, delight in and remain addicted to the Word of God. This means we have something to say, something we believe in, something to communicate. It means we are getting our own ‘message,’ appropriate insights and encouragement for those we are responsible for, and not borrowing, plagiarising, late on Saturday evening cramming, the messages of others.
You have something you need to say, provided you have it to say.
Teaching alone, however and no matter how revelatory, doesn’t cut it.
Something else is required, a necessary corollary of teaching. This is the second demand. We are to live what we teach.
If we are to be an example we need to be seen. Your life can’t be hidden nor distant to those you teach. Your faith, your patience, your love for family and spouse, your integrity, your lifestyle are to be observable and transparent – an example.
You just can’t do this if you are never in community, in connection, nor can you if you are professional leader who sees Sunday as ‘the’ event. The message we speak is more than the ‘event’ we speak it at. It is seen in the life we life as well. In other words – you have to be seen otherwise your message is not your message, because your message is you, which is what you do as much as what you say.
Incarnation of truth is the only way people can imitate truth. We do what we see and not merely what we hear.
Be your message, be seen being your message – for example.