Some know they’re called to leadership. Others are reluctant leaders. Some go after leadership. Others stumble into leadership. Whichever way we begin, there’s something that all leaders have in common – and that’s the desire to make a difference.
I was speaking recently at a special weekend gathering for a church in the North East of England. I arrived not quite knowing what my final message should be on the Sunday night, but as the weekend developed it became pretty clear how I needed to end – on making a difference. Using the example of Jacob who, at the end of his life showed great leadership (see It’s Not Too Late), here’s the gist of how I finished:
It’s not too late for any of you to step up and lead. Whatever’s happened in the past, you’ve not missed it and you’re never too old (or young) to make an impact. Now is the time to make a difference! Now is the time to use your lives and words well to shape the destiny of people, of other leaders and even those who seem much more powerful or influential than you. Like Jacob, you have the capacity to bless. So step up and lead. It’s not too late.
You are called to step up and lead, in your town. God wants this town to be richly blessed by you. For this town to be changed, renewed, impacted and transformed by you. You have the capacity to bring culture change to this town. Through your evangelism: telling people about Jesus Christ, as many come to faith in him. Through your care of people who are poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable. Through your volunteering. In various local organisations and good causes. Through your positive attitude, affirming all that’s good in your schools, local council and civic life.Through your businesses prospering and your good, honest hard work, giving your best in your workplaces. Through your prayers of blessing and encouragement. Through your neighbourliness, service and love of others.
God wants to impact this town. Through you. You might feel weak, small, old – like Jacob. You might see your town as Pharaoh – strong and powerful and having no need of your help. But that’s not true. Your town needs you. Yes they do. This town needs this church!
In the kingdom of God, the weak can bless the strong. In the kingdom of God, the Lord turns things on their head. You can be much more impactful than you realise. Don’t listen to fear. Don’t be fearful of what others might think. Don’t fear not having enough resources. Don’t fear not being good enough. Don’t fear not having the ability. Don’t fear looking foolish. Instead, be strong and courageous.
So step up and lead. Realise your true calling. Realise your mission. Go! Go! Go!
The blogger and writer Seth Godin sometimes speaks to those who are fearful or uncertain about leadership. In his book ‘Tribes’ he says this: ‘you already have all the skills you need to make a huge difference… You don’t (even) need to wait until you’ve got exactly the right job or built the right organisation or moved up three rungs on the corporate ladder. You can start right now.’
Leaders want to make a difference, and Godin is right. We all can make a difference. So start – right now.