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May 2014 - Leadership Lessons from Paul

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The New Testament abounds with leadership lessons we can learn from Paul. While not one of the twelve disciples, Paul was the most influential apostle. Here are three lessons we can learn—all found in the book of Acts.

Leaders demonstrate discernment/discretion while staying true to the mission. Discernment is accurately judging what is best; discretion is following through with it. Paul understood how to appeal to audiences without compromising the mission; for example, Acts chapters 13 and 22 relate how Paul identified and appealed to the Jews, but he stayed true to the Gospel. Acts 17:16-34 tells how Paul appealed to the philosophers and worshippers of the “unknown God.” He did not berate them for worshipping many gods, knowing that this would be a “turn off.” Instead he reached out to them in a way in which they would listen, knowing that if they would investigate the one true God, they would focus on Him. Here and elsewhere we can see how Paul demonstrated both discernment and discretion while staying true to the mission.

Leaders must have heart to connect thought and action. —The motto of Troy University since its inception in 1887 has been “Educate the mind to think, the heart to feel, the body to act.” The mind thinks, the body acts, but the heart connects them. Paul demonstrated a consistent heart (Acts 20:18), a courageous heart (Acts 20: 19-20), and a committed heart (Acts 20:21-24). The words from a song declare “You gotta have heart, all you really need is heart.” Certainly leaders must use their minds and they must take action, but leaders must have a heart and passion for the mission.

Leaders must seek to positively influence and transform others. I have written this statement before, and I will write it again. Without the positive transformation of others the mission will fail. The last half of the book of Acts and the epistles Paul wrote demonstrate Paul’s influence and his ability to transform others.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

May 2014 - Leadership Lessons from Paul
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