“Do you think it is possible to have a good leader, someone who will do something besides line their own pockets, expect to be served and not questioned, and control others in the search for more and more power?” This question was recently posed to Jane, a friend and colleague, while on recent trip to West Africa.
How would you answer this question? Do you believe it is possible to have leaders who are righteous and have integrity? Who are servants? Who invite discussion? Who release people into their potential rather than try to control them? Who give away power rather than collect it?
Jane responded to this question by saying, “It is possible, but it would probably have to be a follower of Jesus who has the character and integrity to withstand the pressures of corruption long enough to make a lasting change.”
The African leaders were silent for a while, and then engaged in a conversation where they asked difficult questions. How would each of them respond if given lots of power? Could they withstand the temptations that come with power? Would they be any different than the leaders they had now?
The question these African leaders asked goes to the core of the issue. At the heart of leadership is influence – in fact the primary function of a Christian leader is to influence a group of people to accomplish God’s purposes for that group.
Influence is the application of power. There are many ways to influence. Some are godly – some are not.
Think about your leadership. How do you apply power? How do you try to influence others? Does your use of influence and power reflect Jesus and Kingdom values?
To further explore the issue of influence and power in leadership, read this post: Danger Power at Work.
Author: Karl Mueller, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).