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Dec 11

Becoming a Leader

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

At times some have asked how to become an established leader in a volunteer organization. My short answer is that you become an effective leader by becoming an effective follower.  Spiritually, we should know this is accurate. Unless you obediently follow the precepts in scripture, you cannot be an effective leader in the church. Jesus said, “But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” (Luke 22:6, NIV) 


If you want to explore leadership options, begin by identifying why you want to move into leadership and for which organization. This starts with prayer and asking the Lord to impress on your heart where He wants you to serve. When the Lord stirs a passion in your heart about a specific organization, start by attending meetings.

Then, accept simple tasks. I was attending a church that was meeting in a school and every week they needed help to set up chairs and platform for the service.  Then, they needed help taking everything down to store in a trailer. By simply staying for a few minutes after the service and pitching in, I started identifying myself as someone who was willing to help while most people headed for the exits.

In another instance after joining a new church after a move, the pastor needed volunteers to form a committee to present a plan to the church board for a building renovation. While the project wasn’t especially exciting for me, I volunteered. Besides, I had business experience in renovating office locations and believed I could bring some financial analysis to the project. By serving on the committee I was able to establish myself as someone who was willing to help.

Most people don’t want to exercise leadership because they don’t want the responsibility. There’s an old phrase, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Some people look at it differently saying “nothing ventured, nothing lost.”

Jesus said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” (Mathew 5: 41, NIV) When we go the extra mile by serving where we want to become a leader, we demonstrate commitment to the organization. Keep in mind very few people do this, which is why this is an opportunity. Find that opportunity in your church or organization and you begin to stand out quickly.

Every organization needs volunteers which they cannot afford to pay, but can immediately put to work. You will catch the eye of any good leader when you are an effective follower. It will open up opportunities for leadership. As you gain leadership experience as a volunteer, you can also apply these lessons to your work.  

I checked out one organization that needed a lot of help.  The current president had been asked to serve after attending only one meeting. Not wanting to sound arrogant, I knew that if I volunteered for one or two small tasks; I could have easily moved into the top leadership. However, I backed off because I believed the Lord did not want me to invest my time with the organization. It was, however, an outstanding opportunity for somebody to develop leadership skills.

If you want to become a leader, focus on becoming a faithful follower first. Leadership opportunities in a volunteer organization may help you exercise your calling in ways you didn’t expect.   


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