The Leadership Personal Accountability Report:
Let us pause and reflect on our lives for a moment…
Who are you?
What defines you?
If our job or title was taken away would we still be significant?
Does our salary define our significance or do we measure significance by the lives we touch?
If no one recognizes nor appreciates what we do; will we carry on or quit?
My friends God has made us unique. He has a special purpose for each one of his children.
If we believe that we cannot make a difference or that we don’t have what it takes then we need to spend more time reading His word instead of listening to the voice of doubt.
We must first trust God and not man:
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”Proverbs 3:5-6
Lean not on OUR understanding! That means when things don’t make sense, when others hurt us, when the world doesn’t appreciate our efforts we focus on God and not the noise of negative naysayers.
We must then study His word:
God has left us His word that lists example after example of inadequate, ill-equipped, and fearful individuals who produced miraculous & extraordinary results through God’s power.
The Bible lists name after name of those who trusted in God and did great things. And my friends our names are being written in another book as we speak.
Consider those who have gone before us:
Moses was not a good speaker yet God worked through him to speak to the most powerful man in history at that time to free the Israelites. We can read about his story in Exodus.
David was the smallest of his brothers but was a “man after God’s own heart”. Yet he committed adultery and murder. And he became one of the greatest kings who ever lived. Why? Because he was broken and contrite & repented wholeheartedly. We can read about David in 1rst & 2nd Samuel. We can hear the emotions of his heart through the Book of Psalms.
Paul was the greatest persecutor of the Christian faith and became the greatest evangelist for the Christian faith. Paul met Christ on the way to persecute Christians. Yet, Paul is responsible for writing most of the New Testament and planting many churches. We can read about Paul in Acts and read his letters throughout the New Testament: Corinthians 1&2, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
But after reading about all these ill equipped, fearful, sinning individuals that God worked miracles through for some reason we still doubt?
Didn’t we go through training to become a firefighter? So we begin to see harsh experiences in our lives as a form of training…
“God has shaped you to serve through your experiences, educations, gifts, personality, passions and relationships. God has people and situations that you are divinely prepared to touch.” (Dave Earley)
The process of becoming a leader started when we were born. Every moment of our life has uniquely prepared us for the circumstances of our future.
Our testimony, trials, and tribulations are not just painful memories but “hard life lessons” that have made us stronger.
These life lessons will enable us to lift up others around us that are struggling. These difficult experiences, if we will draw from them rather than let them destroy us, can be the reason we are calmer, stronger, and decisive in the face of adversity.
Now we understand that everything we have been through has a purpose even if we could not see it at the time:
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”(Romans 8:28).
And now we trust in God and we study His word because we know:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We trust, We are equipped by His word, and now we must learn how we shall lead those He has entrusted to us.
So how then shall we lead?
Its been my experience that fire service leadership is a servant based leadership style.
A leader in the fire service shows the way, models the life to live, and remains faithful to their beliefs through good times and bad.
This is to “Lead by Example.” This phrase is often stated but not fully explained:
Leading by example is the consistent application of our values, work ethic, and our dedication to our faith, our family, and our fire department family is one way that will set us apart.
This goes deeper than education. Leaders must truly have a burden in their heart for the people that they are entrusted with. They have a deep desire to care for others when no one else will.
The mystery of God is that He can allow His infinite Son Jesus to live in the finite area of our sinful heart. We are limited but He is not. Through His power and love God will pour out His mercies and grace through us. He takes us from merely knowing Biblical facts to performing Biblical Acts!
The world sees this as passion. Passion will always out perform intelligence. Passion that is fueled by God and a love for His people will never die.
Intellect and education is an important part of being a leader but our followers will not commit to us unless they know that we care.
How will they know that we truly care?
Have you ever noticed that some of the best leaders were the ones that people seemed to naturally gather around?
What attracts people to follow someone?
“Good leaders know how to bring the best out of people. They are encouragers and motivators. They see the target ahead and pursue it.” (Charles Specht).
These individuals are genuine, sincere, and have integrity. They are not afraid to admit their mistakes and most importantly they haven’t forgotten where they came from.
The most effective and important leaders in the Bible had little awareness of the impact their lives had on others. They were too busy obeying God to keep track of their successes.
Why were they so effective?
Their focus was not on themselves! They were focused on the bigger picture: God’s plan for his people.
These leaders were humble and obedient to God’s plan so they could lead others.
So, do we base our leadership skills by the certificates on our wall or in the profound desire to positively change others in our sphere of influence?
When we leave this earth we will not be able to take any trophies or diplomas with us. However, we will be judged by the impact we had on others and whether or not we cared enough to make a difference. This is accountability on the highest level.
The certificates of a changed life are framed in heaven and are delivered by God with these words “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
May your journey be filled with the reminder that leadership is about submitting to a higher power in order to bless others. As leaders, we are servants that show the way for the next generation.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries