Leading With Little Authority

Anthony Spencer – Ahwatukee Campus Producer

I often find myself in leadership positions, but I don’t always feel like a leader.

If I can be honest, sometimes I feel as if my leadership doesn’t carry weight. Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been in a position of leadership but felt like your impact is smaller than you’d hope? Call me a typical millennial but, I want to make an impact!

This is exactly how so many of us feel! Some of us are afraid of blending in and not making a difference; we don’t want to be a replaceable cog in a dull machine. Many leaders want to have the authority to direct large portions of their organization, and I don’t blame them because authority is attractive!

Unfortunately, leadership isn’t about having authority. Very few people are ever completely in charge of anything. In fact, far more people are not in charge than are in charge. Isn’t that crazy? In case you haven’t caught on, let me be blunt. Very few of us in leadership will ever have all the authority we think we’ll need to make a difference.

So then, why do we aspire to lead? If the odds of ever being the one calling the shots is so small, how will we have any impact? This is where I think so many leaders stumble. God calls us to be leaders for Him, not ourselves. Leadership isn’t about flexing our personal authority but rather leveraging our Godly influence, and that is how we will make an impact.

I believe there are 3 key steps to leveraging our Godly influence:

  1. Grow closer to God – God is the perfect leader. Think about it: let’s pretend that faith is an organization and God is the CEO. We can learn so much from how Christ has delegated responsibilities, made hard decisions, empowered his followers, and so much more! If we want to have an impact like a CEO we should seek wisdom from the best CEO there is, and all we need to do is ask. James writes…

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

  1. Grow closer to others – If you’re going to be a leader worth following, people want to know that you care about them, not just what they can get done for you. This means investing your time, energy, and resources into others. Asking yourself, “Am I worth following?” is an incredibly humbling question. Paul writes…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

  1. Stay positive – I understand life isn’t all rainbows and roses. In fact, I’m sure that most of us have learned this the hard way. What we do when we face adversity is one thing that defines our character. Those who lead us can feel our response, and so can those who follow us. Our response to adversity can shine a light to others or drag them down.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

I believe that God made us to make a difference. However, it is far too easy to get caught up in the authority part of making change. Personally, it’s a struggle to focus on doing what only I can do given my position. I frequently look for the next big thing, but God placed me where I am for a reason. I know the same is true for you.

One day we’ll all have to answer to Christ and give an account for all we’ve done. For those of us who God created to lead, we can’t wait around to be the boss. Our leadership starts with what we’ve been given, so when it comes to leadership, let’s always strive to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Leading With Little Authority

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About The Author
- I am the programming coordinator at Central Christian Church AZ. I also moderate the Central Teaching Blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!