God's Order for Leadership
Leaders and Overseers: Timothy 3:1 This [is] a true saying, Whoever desires the office of an overseer, desires a good work
Leaders and Elders: Titus 1:5 For this cause I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you:
What is a Leader?
For many years I had an earnest desire to be a leader, especially in the Kingdom of God. Having had the call of God upon me from a very young age and being very zealous for the Lord, wanting to go out and conquer the world for the Lord and to fulfil the ministry that He had given me. I realized to be successful in it I needed to be a leader. If God had called me to the kind of position that had seen in the Spirit it would require somebody who is a leader in the church and in the Kingdom of God. I just had one problem. Nobody wanted to follow me!
Now what is a leader without a following? You are not a leader at all. So I read all the books. I bought all the books that told you what spiritual leadership was, to see if I could somehow find out what I needed to do to become a leader and get people to follow me. There are some lovely books out there. They told me how a leader acts. They told me what a leader looks like. They told me everything I needed to know about a leader, except how to become one.
I knew what a leader looked like though. I didn't need to learn that. I wanted to know how can I move from where I am, not being a leader, to becoming a leader? How do I change? How do I go about it? I wanted to know how do I accomplish it, because if I don't I am not going to be able to fulfill my ministry?
So I looked to the Lord and looked in His Word and read the books. There are three things that I always used to learn everything I know. I read the books, I read the Word and then I lived it, and if what the book said and what the Word said and what I experienced lined up together, I formed a doctrine. In everything that I preach and teach, the chances are I have read the books, I have read the Word and I have proved it in my experience. If I haven't I cannot preach it. That is why you don't hear me quoting other preachers all the time, because I must speak from my own experience.
I can give honor to whom it is due by saying, "I read so-and-so's book and he gave this beautiful illustration, and I share it with you." That is wonderful. But for me to stand up and say, "Watchman Nee says, Matthew Henry says," is not good enough. I need to be able to speak from my own heart and my own experience. I don't need to use other people's quotable quotes. I know people who just use quotable quotes all the time. Every time you speak to them you hear, "Yeah, so-and-so said this. Yes, so-and-so said that. I heard this saying," and they are always quoting other people's sayings.
Well, I want to come to the place where I hear people saying, "Les Crause says," because it came from me. It didn't come from somebody else. I want it to be original. It must come from my own heart and my own experience, and until I do that leadership is not there is it? I cannot lead you into something that I have not experienced myself, and I cannot expect you to perform in a way that I have not done myself. It is very important.
A Leader is Not What You Do
I discovered in learning this way that being a leader is not something you do. Being a leader is something you are. Barking does not make me a dog, but if I am a dog it is my nature to bark. Acting like a leader does not make you a leader. You might fool a lot of people and you might even get some of them to follow you. You may imitate somebody else who is a leader and try and get the same kind of response from people that they are getting because they act that way. But you know there is something about leadership that just communicates without any action at all. A leader can just stand in total silence and be in control. There is an aura about him. It seems to shine forth. Why? Because he is a leader. It is part of his very nature. It is part of his very character. It is inside of him and it shines out automatically.
A leader is somebody who has a following, because when he steps out people follow. He doesn't stand there saying, "So aren't you going to follow me?" I do not have to pull it out of you. You are either getting it or you are not. You are either following me or you are not, and if you are not following me I am not leading you. Now how do you come to that place of being this frail little person trying to be a leader to becoming the confident leader that God intends you to be? I have shared some of it already and we will be looking at it more in other places. Leaders People Follow
Before we look at that though I just want to look at some of the qualities of a leader that makes people follow them. Why do people follow a leader? Why do they flock after somebody who has a big name and who could be considered a leader in the visible church? If you were to sit down and make a list of who are the leaders in the Body of Christ, whose names would you put down? It would be the people that everybody is following, I would say. It shows.
Why do people follow that big leader? Why do people like to hang around with and keep close on the heels of somebody who is a true leader? For one very simple reason, because they are not leaders and they want to be leaders. They want to get close enough to him to try and suck it out of him somehow and get it to rub off, maybe.
The Cannibal Instinct
It is called the cannibal instinct. Do you know what the cannibal instinct is? For those of you who do not understand it, cannibals do not eat people because they like the meat. A cannibal only eats certain kinds of people. He eats people that have qualities that he wants, and if you are weak and frail and mad and insane and useless the cannibal doesn't want to eat you. It is bad meat! A cannibal believes that if I eat you I will gain the qualities that you have. And so, if you were an intelligent person, if I eat you I will gain your intelligence. I will gain all the strengths that you had. It is a known fact that if the cannibals caught you, you just acted like you were mad and they wouldn't eat you.
People have this cannibal instinct. They want to latch onto you and eat some of you. What they are trying to say is, "I wish I had what you have. I want some of what you have. I'm going to stick behind you and follow you and be associated with you so that somehow I will pick up some of what you have."
That is why people name-drop. You say, "Well you know, I've been hanging around with so-and-so. We go way back you know." Somehow they are trying to pick up some of that person's fame, some of their reputation to build themselves up and to attain what they know they haven't got. Somehow they feel that if they can be associated with somebody who is a somebody, then somehow they will no longer be a nobody. If you have that drive it is a sure sign that you don't have leadership qualities. A true leader does not need that. He has that quality in him already. He just leads out and people will follow him.
People love to gravitate to success don't they? It doesn't matter what kind of ministry you have and how powerful it is, if you are in the public eye and you are famous and you have a following, people will follow. And do you know, it has been proved that the media can take somebody who is a total nobody, build them up through advertising and create an image and an impression to make people think that the person is a somebody, and everybody starts to follow him. As people start to follow him other people say, "Well everybody is following him. This must be something worth doing," and they jump in on the bandwagon. Before you know you have a crowd drawing a crowd.
"You know we had so many thousand people at our Conference."
"Oh, I wish I was there. It must have been awesome."
"Well, only about twenty three people came to ours."
"Shame, you poor thing!"
Changing Your Mindset
Isn't that the way people think? Get your mind off that. Get your mind off the idea of trying to suck that leadership from somebody else and get the Lord to put it inside of you, so that you can rise up and become that leader. If there is anything we want to impress on you that you will take away with you, it is that. When I step out of here I am not going to go and find another church to join that has a good pastor. God might lead you to do that. I am not saying it is wrong.
I want you to think, "I have a ministry. God's called me to do something. He has called me to lead out, to take charge, to take the bull by the horns. To put it together and lead on," and people will follow you. You have to be confident in what God has put in you and become that kind of leader, and your ministry will flourish and take off. Before you know it suddenly you will not have to think anymore about whether you are a leader or not. It has just become part of your nature. It is automatic.
I shared in one of the earlier meetings at the Conference how the Lord said to me once, "Stop aspiring to get money. See yourself as a millionaire. Don't try and get the millions. Become a millionaire first - inside! Think like one."
Don't aspire to become a leader. Become one on the inside. Even before you ever have a following and before anybody ever comes to you and says, "You inspire me. I want to follow you. I will follow your lead and your example," let it get built on the inside.
My leadership began when the Lord called me to leave my church and give up my job and sit at home and talk to Him all day. So I became a leader, but who was following me? Nobody was. Actually people thought I was mad. I was the last person they wanted to follow. But as I came in the Spirit in the presence of the Lord He began to show me what He wanted me to be. He began to paint a picture inside me of what I was to become in Him.
And that first night when He said to me, "I want you out there," and He called me to the apostolic function, I knew I could not do it. I knew that in the natural it was impossible for me to rise up to that kind of leadership capability. But He said, "I'll be going out there with you. Don't worry about it. I will make you into that kind of leader. All I want you to do is to be available to me. I will do the rest."
I look back on what God has done in my own life and I look back on what I was when He called me. I was the kind of person who wouldn't close in prayer because I was too shy. God wrought in me what He wanted me to be. Sure it didn't happen overnight and sure it involved a lot of death and a lot of preparation and training. Leadership Training Begins in His Presence
God will make you into the leader and He will make you into the leader, where? On the backside of the desert. That is where He started making Moses into the leader. At the Brook Cherith is where He began to make Elijah into a leader, alone in His presence.
Do you notice the kind of leader that Jesus was? Walking into the Synagogue on His very first day in ministry, standing up there reading the scroll and boldly proclaiming, "I'm the Messiah you've all been waiting for." Where did He get it from? He did not get it from His dad. He was just a carpenter, and by that time he was dead. He didn't get it from His brothers and sisters, because they thought He was nuts. Where did He get it from? Where did He get that kind of leadership capability that He could stand up so boldly and look them in the face? Where did He get it from?
Did He go to the right kind of training school to teach Him how to be a leader, to practise elocution correctly, to put on the right kind of clothing and stand with His feet just in the right place? Get the body posture and body language right. Where did He learn it? In the presence of His Father. That is where He learned it. He watched in the Spirit and He saw what the Father did.
The Father said, "Now you go out and do what you see me doing."
Jesus then just acted out what the Father inside Him was doing. That is all He did. That is how He became the kind of leader that He did, that He could stand up and speak and they would say, "Never a man spoke as this man."
Where is your leadership going to come from? Will it come by you learning to be around people, by you learning to take charge of groups of people? No, it is going to come in the presence of the Lord. It is going to come when you come into close communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with the Holy Ghost, and with the Father.
It will happen by coming into their presence, standing and looking and saying, "Lord, give me a picture. Let me see how you do it," and watching what kind of leader He is. Then saying, "Okay Lord, let's go and do this one." Let Him go in you and let Him be in you and through you. That is where your leadership comes from. It comes from inside of you by the Spirit of God that is living in you. God’s Chooses Unlikely Leaders
People are strange creatures. God sent them a deliverer in the form of Moses. The Scripture tells us that Moses was the meekest man in the earth. When Moses was confronted by the great leaders of the day, the intelligencia and nobility - Korah and his crowd - these were the guys who came from the high strata of society. These were the men who had the education, the money, the position and the reputation and moved in the right circles. They were the kinds of people you would expect to be the leaders of the entire nation. God chose though some meek, humble little shepherd who had been living in the desert to come and lead His people to the Promised Land.
Do you know that the people had more respect for Pharaoh than they did for Moses? They really did. They kept crying to go back to Pharaoh. We have the impression that the Israelites were being held in stocks and chains and being forced to go out there chained together to go and work for Pharaoh and to make their bricks. Actually they could have left any time they liked. They lived in their own homes and they were free to come and go as they chose.
How do we know that? When Moses came to return to Egypt the Lord sent his brother Aaron out to come and meet him halfway. So how did Aaron escape the guards? There were no guards. He was free to go any time he liked. The Children of Israel were free to leave Egypt any time they liked. Nobody was making them stay there. So why did they stay? Because they had their needs provided. Because somebody who was stronger than them was making them do it, was controlling their lives. None of them had the courage to rise up and become the leader that God intended, so they remained under Pharaoh's bondage.
Even as Moses took them out and they were wandering around in the Wilderness they kept wailing and groaning and moaning and saying, "I wish we could go back to Egypt. At least we had meat there!"
"What about Pharaoh?"
"Oh, we can handle Pharaoh. Hey, he was a nasty old character, but he fed us, you know."