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September 2014 - Leadership Lessons from Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation

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Our final look at Leadership Lessons from the New Testament focuses on four books.  Each has much wisdom concerning the Christian faith, but they also present wisdom for leaders.  We will focus on just three lessons.

Leaders make the main thing the main thing. Many organizations falter and businesses fail because leaders don’t have the right focus, or lose focus along the way.  From my many years of teaching I know those students who maintain focus on the goal and prioritize things to keep that focus, excel; those who do not, often stumble and fall.  This is a metaphor for leaders.  Leaders must focus on the main thing. The great motivational speaker and writer Zig Ziglar said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”   Hebrews 12:1-2 says run with endurance and not lose focus; Jude 1:3 tells us to contend for the cause.  They are both saying to keep the main thing the main thing.

Leaders are accountable for listening, words, and deeds.  James emphasized this truth in 1:19-25; 2:14; 3:21. The lesson is straightforward. Leaders must be listeners; leaders must choose their words carefully, and leaders know actions speak louder than words.  For two years after retiring as Provost of the USAF Air University, I served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Communication and Leadership for the university. The military realizes that Communication and Leadership are bound together. As I said in the Winter 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Military Comptrollers, “If you can’t communicate, don’t try to lead.” (pp. 26-29). Communicate by listening, words, and deeds. 

Leaders know it’s not over till it’s over.  That in a nutshell is the message of the prophetic book of Revelation.  Leaders often get discouraged. This can be traced to a lack of focus. But leaders must not get discouraged, for they have a choice: encourage; that is, put courage into others or discourage and take courage out of others.  Often the only difference between failure and success is an understanding that things aren’t over until the final gun sounds.  Most of us can remember times when we saw a team that seemed hopelessly outdistanced instead make a comeback to win the game.  Revelation reminds us that we have not yet seen the end.  This is a great spiritual lesson and a lesson for leaders.

Keep the main thing the main thing; be accountable for your listening, words and deeds; and know that it is not over till it is over—three great lessons for leaders.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

September 2014 - Leadership Lessons from Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation
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