There’s a leadership principle that I’m being reminded of a lot these days. It’s not deep; it’s not something brand new or flashy. But it’s incredibly important, more than most leaders even think. The funny thing is that, initially, it makes absolutely no sense. What I’m talking about is the concept of leaders learning how to lead LESS. Most leaders feel like they’ve got to always be out front, leading every single thing within their church or organization. We feel the pressure that we’ve got to be the best at everything and always have the answers. We’ve got to lead more meetings, more teams, more missions experiences.
But the truth that I’m constantly being reminded of is that godly leaders don’t always have to be in the front, they don’t always have to be in the mix, and their decisions aren’t always best. Godly leaders work hard to lead less, equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). They set out to position people in such a way that will lift them out of the all-too-comfortable realm of “having potential,” and into an active role of learning how to lead well (2 Timothy 2:2). Godly leaders who lead less are satisfied to let their names fade from the spotlight for the benefit of the Kingdom. They understand that raising up leaders means allowing someone to lead even though they could do it a little better themselves. Leading less means investing in the next generation; it means lifting up the team over self. It means when you leave this world, you left the people here better off than you found them – having equipped them to move closer and closer to the heart of God.
I want to be a leader like that. Far too often (even these days), I’m confessing in my prayers, “Lord, I’m sorry that I’m trying to take the reigns myself instead of empowering others to have the PRIVILEGE of making You known!” We naturally want control, individual praise, and results based on what we think is best. This can’t be the kind of leaders we become – it’s self-servicing; you’re building your own empire…and, AT BEST, it will only be an EARTHLY empire.
The potential that is in leading less results in building an ETERNAL empire and sharing the privilege of serving the King TOGETHER. It means letting people in your life to see the victories the Lord has given you, the sin barriers that hold you back, and everything in between. It means that you have the mindset of giving away your ministry.
The moment you become a leader, the core of your job description is multiplying yourself in others. It’s so ironic that the key to your success as a leader is actually leading less. To spend your time empowering rather than executing, not due to laziness, but for the exact opposite reason – you want to be busy with the BEST things God has equipped you to do. It is a leader’s responsibility to lead well – to cast solid vision based on God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s prompting, to be passionate about your calling and have clear communication and direction for those you get to lead. But it’s also a godly leader’s responsibility to replace themselves, raising up more and more leaders who catch the vision of reaching all people with the gospel of Christ (Matthew 28:19). If you want to be a BETTER leader, one of the best places to start is by leading LESS.