President’s Post: Actions Every Leader Should Take

What is your leadership style? Don’t tell me that you’re not a leader or that you don’t plan to be one.

Here’s why. 

First, you don’t know what God intends for your life. Both the Bible and history books record endless numbers of people who never planned on being thrust into a position of leadership – but circumstances changed and these same people stepped up and led the way as only God knew they could do. Others found courage and followed suit: an army, a family, a friend, a co-worker, a business and a church. That’s leadership. 

Second, leaders are both born and made. We all have skills, talent and aspects of our personality that come to us simply as a gift from the Lord — we were born with them. But God also shapes and develops us by means of our parents, teachers, trials, education and our daily  lives. When we dedicate our lives to Him and seek to live for Jesus and the glory of God, then the development of our skills move hand in hand with our growth in godliness. Our sanctification and our skills work as friends, not enemies.

After pastoring churches for 47 years, I retired a few years ago from a church I served at in Alaska since I was a young man. I humbly accept that I still don’t know everything I’d like to know even after my years of service as a pastor, including building a large Christian school in Anchorage. But God takes us as we are and uses us where we are at. Leaders lead. They don’t make excuses. 

So, if a leader won’t ever know everything up front, then how do they proceed? To answer that question, let me suggest two actions every leader should take: 

First, seek counsel. Get the right people in the room and ask them the right questions.

My approach is to ask for the pros and cons from the most knowledgeable and insightful people, people for it and against it, before making a decision. I know that all true wisdom comes from God almighty, so I’m not shy about listening for His voice, as well.

The book of Proverbs says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice,” and “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 12:15 and 11:14). 

Why does he say “many advisers”? Because a leader is not afraid to have a team of colleagues engage in spirited discussion and debate on an issue – privately and with respect for one another – to come to a conclusion that has considered all the options. 

Second, take action. After prayer and hearing the counsel of others, it’s time to make a decision and proceed forth in response. If you feel anxiety or worry about the burden of those decisions, that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you’re not a leader; it means you are a human and need God every step of the way.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Prevo is the President of Liberty University.

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