To be an effective servant leader, you need more than a dream. The apostle Paul wrote to a young servant leader named Timothy and he said these words:
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” 2 Timothy 2:1-7 NIV
I see six characteristics here of an effective servant leader.
- Be grace-oriented (v.1). Ministry is not about earning anything; it’s about receiving everything from God by faith. You don’t need to prove anything because everything is by grace through faith.
- Be a multiplier (v.2). Don’t think in terms of what you can do alone but how you can multiply yourself. Grow leaders. Don’t be so engrossed in having a successful ministry. Develop others to be successful.
- Be focused (vv.3-4). Don’t let yourself be sidetracked by other concerns. Devote yourself to what God wants you to do.
- Be disciplined (v.5). The best way to accomplish what God has called you to do is to practice self-control. Watch your habits! That’s how you build character.
- Be motivated (v.6). You will be the first one to rejoice in seeing the fruits of your labor, so persevere. Don’t give up in the face of difficulties. Strengthen your resolve.
- Be a constant learner (v.7). As a leader you must continually learn. Don’t be lazy. Keep learning what you need to learn to be an effective leader.
In summary, effective leaders are doers, not mere dreamers.