If there is one reality we can count on, it is change! The past year has stretched all of us greatly. Because of the invasive COVID-19 virus, we have learned to shop differently, work differently, go to school differently, experience our passages of life events such as weddings, graduations and funerals differently, and worship differently. 

At this time last year, we had a need for leaders. Leaders who would step up and take our schools online within a 24-hour period. Pastors who could live stream their services to their congregations as their sanctuary doors had to be closed. We needed leaders who could conduct virtual events of all types as well.

This has happened because we have wonderful leadership throughout our territory who could implement the changes necessary to keep schools going and members worshiping together in a new way. And we should realize that, for the most part, it was our younger generations who led the charge for us. We have talented and dedicated young leadership in our church who have helped us greatly through this pandemic.

When it comes to leadership, we ought not to be afraid at all of young people stepping up. As we have been reminded many times, our denomination was started by a group of young adults who responded to a call and enabling of our Lord.

Age has never been the real issue for leadership. That is not to say experience doesn’t matter because it does. I believe, however, if you maintain godly, biblical principles in your leadership journey, the Lord will be with you and bless your efforts.

What does godly, biblical leadership look like? There is a theory of leadership called Authentic Leadership (AL) which I believe grew out of Scripture in both its proverbs and narratives. AL has four basic tenants: self awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing, and an internalized moral perspective. 

How does this play out in real life? Here are ways in which this kind of leadership works in everyday situations:

  1. The authentic leader has the ability to assess his/her own strengths and weaknesses without bias, being true to themselves first before they lead others.
  2. The AL is all in for the team he/she is leading. There is nothing half-hearted about their effort and they are in it for the long haul. 
  3. The AL leader has integrity. I can’t stress this one enough. Without integrity, a leader can do much more harm than good in leading a team or organization.
  4. The AL is someone who is transparent about both the good and the bad that comes along. There will always be both. You can almost always deal with the hard issues if you are open and honest about the challenge before you. Without that transparency, you are not able to understand or address the challenges that inevitably will arise.
  5. The AL is a good listener, someone who can take advice, and is collaborative. 
  6. The AL is consistent in the way they lead. They are the same person with the same internal values no matter who they are working with. They are also inclusive and integrate people from all backgrounds and walks of life into their organization.
  7. Finally, they love to share the credit. They are quick to give kudos to their team and to those who have worked hard for the success that has been achieved. 

Have you noticed these traits in leaders around you? I certainly have. The truth is, almost everyone reading this has been or is a leader of something, whether it’s Sabbath school, Pathfinders, a Bible study group, an evangelistic team, a deaconess, chorister, and I could go on. Whatever your role, I encourage you to follow the most authentic leader of all—Christ Himself. 

And let’s support the authentic leaders around us, including our teachers and pastors. Most of all, let’s cheer on and pray for our young leaders growing up right before us who reflect Christ in the way they go about their work.