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Leadership Essentials from James

Servant Leadership is positively influencing others to
accomplish a shared vision by following The Jesus Way.

The book of James offers a wealth of insight for those who desire to be effective leaders. Here are a few selected passages from this powerfully practical letter, written by one of Jesus’ brothers – a leader of the church in Jerusalem. Take a few minutes to read over the verses and reflect on the essentials. For each one…

  • Ask yourself: “How am I doing in this area?
  • Ask GOD: “How do I need to grow in this area?

James 1:2-5
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

  • Stay positive… keep a good attitude… GOD tests to strengthen
  • Mature through hardship… view difficulty as exercise
  • Ask GOD for wisdom… seek divine insight (GOD’s perspective)

James 1:22
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

  • You only really believe what you liveact on your convictions
  • Lead by example… demonstrate your faith by what you do

James 1:26-2:1
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.”

  • Watch what you say… your words matter (they can hurt or heal)
  • Take care of the less fortunate… defend those who are mistreated
  • Treat everyone well… notice and be nice to everybody

James 3:1
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

  • Leaders are easy targets… don’t be afraid of criticism
  • Embrace accountability… be willing to be held to a higher standard

James 4:1-3
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

  • Beware of using your influence for selfish motives… think “serve”
  • It’s tempting to build your own kingdom… don’t make it all about you

James 4:6-7
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

  • Resist pride… recognize the danger of power, recognition and success
  • Embrace humility… be respectful, grateful and modest

James 5:16
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

  • Embrace transparency… be real with people; let them see you fail
  • Confess appropriately… be quick to own your mistakes and apologize
  • Pray often… depend on GOD all the time

Remember
“Authority” is about control. “Leadership” is about influence.

Things fall into disrepair if they’re not faithfully tended to.

Leadership is hard work, but good leaders make a difference in people’s lives.

When dealing with difficult people and situations, leaders are empowered to challenge and help correct.

Leadership in the church involves helping people overcome a “consumer mindset” and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own spiritual health.