3rd Nov, 2008

Leading is to Listen and Obey

*A few new synchrobloggers were added to the list late below – they are all at the end of the list.

Several bloggers are participating together to write about leadership. I am following their lead. I think leadership is what we, as representatives of Jesus Christ, must be about. We must lead others to the Father, diligently working on the ministry of reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ. But this begs the questions – what does this type of leadership look like and what does it not look like?

First, what does leadership not look like? It doesn’t look like a definition, a word, or an explanation. It doesn’t look like Barack Obama or John McCain. It doesn’t look like Tony Romo or Brett Favre. It doesn’t even look like Michael Jordan. It doesn’t look like Paul Newman or Nicole Kidman. It doesn’t look like Jack Welch or Dan Rather. It doesn’t look like management and it doesn’t look like a boss. It doesn’t look like telling others what to do.

Leadership definitely is something one can witness. In fact, it is more easy to see it than it is to define it. I think leadership is understanding authority.

What does that mean? Well, when one reads Exodus you will see something repeated throughout: “Then the Lord said to Moses.” This is followed by Moses doing whatever the Lord said. And, by doing this, Moses led the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised land. He exhibited leadership by following. He exhibited leadership by sacrificing his own desires and thoughts and following God’s desires and thoughts wholeheartedly. He served the Israelites by giving up his own dreams and allowing God’s dreams to become his own.

When David led the Israelites you see him consistently “inquir[ing] of the Lord.” And when God speaks, David listens. He obeys. When he does so, David leads excellently.

This pattern is repeated throughout the bible. It culminates perfectly in our Lord Jesus Christ, Who says of Himself:

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. . . . The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work. . . . If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

John 14:9-10, 23-24.

Do you want to lead well? Listen well. Listen well to the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18. Follow His lead. Listen to the Father. He is speaking to you through His Spirit. John 14:25-26. As you do, obey fully and you will be the greatest of leaders, all by sacrificing your own desires to take on the desires of your Heavenly Father. You will become a servant to the One worthy of service and serve others as He directs.

Here are some other blogposts by great writers on “Leadership.”

Jonathan Brink – Letter To The President

Adam Gonnerman – Aspiring to the Episcopate

Kai – Leadership – Is Servant Leadership a Broken Model?

Sally Coleman – In the world but not of it- servant leadership for the 21st Century Church

Alan Knox – Submission is given not taken

Joe Miller – Elders Lead a Healthy Family: The Future

Cobus van Wyngaard – Empowering leadership

Steve Hayes – Servant leadership

Geoff Matheson – Leadership

Bethany Stedman – A Leadership Mosaic

Matt Stone – Converting Leadership

John Smulo – Australian Leadership Lessons

Helen Mildenhall – Leadership

Tyler Savage – Moral Leadership – Is it what we need?

Bryan Riley – Leading is to Listen and Obey

Susan Barnes – Give someone else a turn!

Liz Dyer – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Polls…

Lionel Woods – Why Diverse Leadership is Good for America

Julie Clawson – Leadership Expectations

Ellen Haroutunian – A New Kind Of Leadership

Beth Patterson – Leadership: Being the River

Bill Ellis- Spiritual Leadership and the Re-Humanizing of the World

Tara McKinney Hull – Leadership and Being a Single Mom

Kathy Escobar – I’m Pretty Sure This Leadership Book Won’t Make It On the Bestseller List


[…] Bryan Riley – Leading is to Listen and Obey […]


Thanks for pointing out that leaders are followers first. Unfortunately, I think many leaders today are more interested in who is following them than in who they are following.


Alan Knox’s last blog post..Submission is given not taken

Thanks for putting the focus back on the Father and following His leadership.

J. R. Miller’s last blog post..Elders Lead A Healthy Family: The Future

J.R., I’m glad you added to the conversation here and were encouraged by the focus of the post.

bryan, thanks for your thoughts here. i do agree that real leadership is something seen, tasted, experienced not necessarily defined…

kathyescobar’s last blog post..i’m pretty sure this leadership book won’t make it on the bestseller list

great point, leaders must be followers first, or we will all be lost.

Sally’s last blog post..A prayer for President elect Obama

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