It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. In other words, leadership matters. The proof of that is seen in the lack of leadership in our day and time from political leaders, corporate leaders, national media outlets, etc. It is also clearly seen in the lack of personal leadership, in the form of personal responsibility, among ourselves. Many have written about the leadership vacuum that currently exists in our nation, and I think this vacuum presents an opportunity for Christians to fill it by exhibiting Christ-like leadership in our lives, churches, and community ministries. So, here are 10 ways from the book of Ephesians that Christians can step up as leaders:
1. Live from our blessing instead of for a blessing. Ephesians 1:3 says that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” and we live out of that blessing. Since God, through his blessing, has filled our lives with significance and security, we don’t need to live for the blessing of others. This frees us up to lead since we are not held hostage by popular opinion. Instead of seeking a “blessing” from our peers, we seek to bless those around with us with the spiritual blessings God has shared with us.
2. Be thankful. In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul expresses his thankfulness for the Christians in Ephesus and for the work that Christ has done on our behalf. In Christ, we always have something for which to be thankful, and a grateful heart is contagious; thus, the simple act of thanksgiving can change the environment of our homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods.
3. Be merciful. Ephesians 2:4-7 reminds us that God is rich in mercy and that we are saved because of his mercy and grace. Therefore, we should be quick to extend mercy and grace to others.
4. Work for peace. Ephesians 2:11-22 teaches us how Christ makes peace between people of different backgrounds and peace between sinners and a holy God. Peace is at the forefront of Christ’s ministry, so it should also be central to the lives of his followers.
5. Strive for unity. That same passage in Ephesians 2 (along with Ephesians 4) also points out that unity is a key feature of the Kingdom of God. Since we live in a fractured and divided world, Christians have a great opportunity to bring people together by helping them see the things they have in common. Of course, this calls for Christians to demonstrate this type of unity in their own ranks.
6. Be humble. Paul calls himself the “very least of all the saints” in Ephesians 3:8. Instead of making much of himself, he sought to make much of Christ. Humility allows us to see that we are simply serving the greater purposes of God in our lives. Humility helps us be aware of our faults and weaknesses. Humility keeps us focused on our need for a Savior.
7. Be bold. Ephesians 3:12 says that a relationship with Christ produces boldness, and it takes boldness to lead. Boldness is required to take action against injustices, to speak up for the vulnerable, and to exercise self-discipline.
8. Walk the walk. Ephesians 4:17-32 emphasizes walking the Christian walk instead of just talking about it. We lead most through our own actions and examples. We must live out what we say we believe.
9. Live a life of love. As Paul says in Ephesians 5:1-2, Christians should walk in love since Christ loved us. Everything we do ought to be done with a spirit of love.
10. Exhibit right relationships. Ephesians 5:22-6:9 tells us what relationships look like when we have submitted our lives to Christ. In fact, the relationships we have with others is proof of the depth of our submission to Christ. One of the joys of the gospel is that it produces healthy relationships.
At the end of Ephesians 6 Paul talks about standing firm in the “armor of God.” That section of Scripture is all about trusting God’s might and ways to fight our battles for us. These ten leadership tips represent God’s way of living with others and having a positive impact in our communities. And just imagine what might happen in our relationships and various contexts if we were to practice these characteristics of a Christ-centered leader.
This is how Christians can step into the leadership vacuum in our society and lead.
So, who’s ready to be a leader?