Am I Qualified to Lead

What comes to mind when you think of a good leader? Take a minute, make a list. What made the list? Maybe you thought of a military leader, or a businessman or CEO, maybe a pastor—probably a mega-church leader. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t feel like you measure up… and I was a church leader for 18 years!

Let’s shift gears a little. What comes to mind when you think of an effective influencer? Who do you think of? Someone from TikTok or YouTube with millions of followers and who has managed to make a living from the monetization of their channel? Again, you probably don’t feel like you belong in that crowd.

Comparison is a trap that can cripple us, and may even trespass into sin. It’s a form of idolatry that never builds you up. In fact, it can only hinder and cripple you in your growth and development, in the deepening of your faith and obedience. Don’t look at others—even what God is doing in other of his own people—and judge yourself. God seldom does the same thing the same way twice. We tend to jump on patterns and trends, modeling ourselves after people we deem successful, but then we only wind up accomplishing what we can do apart from the Spirit of God. Like Jesus said to Peter after he compared his future to his perception of John’s, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22). Each of us must follow Jesus ourselves and neither compare ourselves to, nor pattern ourselves after, anyone else.

What does it mean to be successful? In church circles, we have metrics we use to measure success. Your ministry is considered successful if you have increased attendance, a growing budget, improved facilities, and sometimes if the numbers show a growing ratio of attendees participating in other programs outside of Sunday morning. It’s not hard to manufacture that, however. I would suggest a new standard for success: faithfulness.

If we are faithful to the vision and mission God sets before us, if we are faithful to use our gifting—our talents and abilities—for the glory and honor of God, if we are faithful to point others to Jesus through what we say and how we live then we are successful.

Are you qualified to lead? Let me ask you another question first: Are you following Jesus? Following Jesus is different that believing in Jesus. It’s not the same as attending a church service each week. Are you faithful to the character, nature, call, and purpose of Jesus in your everyday life? When you fall or fail, do you confess and repent (do you respond to God’s conviction and learn, grow, and change)? Do you seek God in the good times and in those difficult and heavy seasons of life? If you are following Jesus, you are qualified to lead. Look at the men Jesus called to follow him! These men were far from perfect, and they wouldn’t have made anyone’s list of potential leaders when starting a new movement. As the apostle Paul said, “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). Speaking of his own inadequacies, Paul said, “when I am weak, then I am strong!” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

What you believe are reasons you can’t lead… or shouldn’t lead, are opportunities for Jesus to be revealed and glorified through you. At AJM, we have a resolution: We would rather risk sending someone out too early, trusting them to the leadership and influence of the Holy Spirit, than hold them back too long and risk forming in them the idea that they will never be ready. One thing I realized about attending church leader conferences, is that they (unintentionally) do a very good job of making you feel unqualified. There are always “essential” resources you don’t have. There is always a system you don’t have in place. There is always some training you lack. There is always technology you haven’t employed. If we followed those trends in place of the the Holy Spirit, lives would never be transformed by power of Jesus because we’d always be preparing and never be “ready.”

It’s been said many times, “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” It’s quippy, but there’s truth to that. Jesus would send his disciples into service to teach them, train them, and make them ready. He didn’t send them out because they were ready. There’s value in the journey, things to learn and experience that you can never get from a book, or from hearing about it from someone else.

Here’s one last question to determine if you’re qualified to lead. The first was, “Are you following Jesus?” The next one is, “Is anyone following you?” Are there people who like being around you because they feel encouraged or inspired? Does anybody bring you their questions and musings trying to glean from your wisdom? Are there people in your life who just seem to feel safe sharing their struggles, difficulties and needs with you? Have you noticed if anyone in your sphere of influence has emulated your habits or behaviors? It’s very possible that you haven’t picked up on that. Humility doesn’t look for those signs and keep a roster, but if you suspect there’s a “yes” to any of these, then you’re likely leading people already; you’re already an influencer.

Living on mission with Jesus requires intention, so if you want to get intentional about it, reach out to us. A Jesus Mission is a missionary care organization, and we want to be sure to make the most of every opportunity to encourage, equip, and empower as many as possible to live on mission with Jesus. Leadership can be a lonely place if we walk by the wisdom of the world, but it was never meant to be within the Kingdom of God. Let’s do this together!