Leadership is an act of faith. Leaders envision a future that is not yet visible to others. Leaders believe in their God-given dreams while others see nightmares. Leaders launch out into unpaved territory, leaving a path for others to follow. Leaders speak up for causes, not always certain of the consequences, but fueled by the fire of their conviction. Leaders dare to move others forward, often into the unknown, when the status quo would prefer to stay put in the zone of comfort and familiarity.
Whether rallying a team behind a ministry program, inspiring a congregation in a desired direction, or moving a ministry department toward goals and objectives, leaders must demonstrate a complete trust and reliance upon God’s Word to achieve desired outcomes only known by God.
It goes without saying that the ability to trust God is critical to church leadership. Yet it bears repeating because doubt, fear, worry, and control are all enemies of healthy Christian leadership. Not only do these things hinder our walk with Christ but they also hinder our ability to work together with and lead other believers. Spiritual leadership is invigorated by a belief in God that enables the leader to walk victoriously, and face new challenges with optimism empowered by the Holy Spirit and a firm expectation that God will work all things together for our god (Romans 8:28).
Here are 4 Tips for building your faith:
1. Acknowledge/affirm your faith. As the old song said, “You may not have a lot but use what you got!” Acknowledge and affirm what you do have. Remind yourself of the things God has done for you before. Trusting the Lord through those situations was your faith in action. You have more than you realize.
2. Read, study, meditate on and confess the Word of God. As scripture teaches us, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). In scripture we are given promises that we can stand on. The Word sensitizes us to the character of God and gives us firm foundation onto which to anchor our hope for living and leading.
3. Pray. It always strikes me that we are taught in the book of Jude to build up ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit (vs. 20). If faith is the bridge between heaven and earth, then prayer is the vehicle that helps us cross that bridge.
4. Fight the good fight of faith. You build up your faith “muscles” every time you use your faith (1 Timothy 6:12). As leaders we cannot afford to get out of shape physically by not exercising our faith. Each day we are given opportunities to choose to trust God or to rely on something or someone other than the Lord for things that only the Lord can truly provide.
Yes, faith-fueled leaders demonstrate the ability to trust God in leadership situations and to remain hopeful even in negative circumstances. Faith stirs the ability for leaders to trust God and not to be over-reactive, over-controlling, or over-functioning. Indeed, leadership may indeed be one of the ultimate leaps of faith.
Note: Faith is just one of eight key indicators of the leader’s spiritual walk. In Chapter 11 of Building a Church Full of Leaders, we’ve included the Spiritual Walk Inventory™ for Ministry Leaders. This 40 item inventory gives you the opportunity to reflectively assess your own spiritual walk on eight dimensions and then prayerfully develop practices to strengthen your spiritual walk.