One facet of leadership is the ability to empower people to get things done.
The Bible is filled with stories about those who have demonstrated leadership competencies. Courageous, competent leadership was clearly evident in the life of Paul in Acts 27.
Following two years of imprisonment in Caesarea, Paul sailed for Rome to be tried. He began his journey as a prisoner, but before it was completed, through skillful leadership, he had taken charge of the boat. Leadership has nothing to do with position. Rather, it is all about the gifts of leadership within the person. Paul’s experiences en route to Rome reveal that a competent leader...
...will be trusted
Julius was the centurion in charge of transporting the prisoners on board the ship. Death was the penalty for losing a prisoner. After being on the ship with Paul just one day, however, Julius trusted Paul enough to give him permission to visit his friends and refresh himself (27:3).
...will take action
Because of the coming winter, Paul admonished his captors that it was time to sail for Rome (27:9). Rather than wait for someone else to make the decision, Paul took the initiative. The competent leader will always identify the need, present the solution, delegate responsi-bility and mobilize people.
...will make good decisions
Paul recognized that a crisis could soon occur because “the harbor was unsuitable to winter in” (27:12, NIV). Because of Paul’s leadership skills, the people turned to him for advice during an impending crisis. Titles and positions mean little during crisis experiences. People listen to and follow the one who uses wise judgment and makes good decisions in the time of storm.
...will speak authoritatively
Paul was neither nervous nor anxious. He spoke with authority when he reminded the Romans of his previous advice. With authority, Paul said, “I urge you to keep up your courage” (27:21,22). One is unable to speak with authority if he or she is fearful or does not possess correct information regarding the subject. Leaders inspire confidence when they speak authoritatively.
...will inspire others
Although the circumstances had not changed, Paul’s inspiring words changed the attitudes of those on board. Paul said, “So keep up your courage, men...it will happen just as he told me” (27:25). The competent leader who overflows with enthusiasm and optimism fans the flame of expectancy in others.
...will never compromise character
Possessing a commitment to conviction that was undebatable, Paul said to the centurion, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved” (27:31). “So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away” (27:32). The competent leader’s convictions are not bartered on the altar of expediency. Simply stated, his or her character is not for sale.
...will set a proper example
When Paul took bread and began to eat, he “gave thanks to God in front of them all” (27:35). Those who observed Paul followed his example. “They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves” (27:36). Followers desire to do as the leader has done.
As a result, a competent leader will be cared for by those he or she leads.
The soldiers had been counseled to “kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escap-ing” (27:42). Nevertheless, the centurion would not allow the prisoners to be killed. Paul’s life was spared, and the prisoners were released.
Oswald Sanders wrote, “The man of leadership caliber will work while others waste time, study while others sleep and pray while others play. There is no place for loose or slovenly habits in his word or thought, deed or dress. He will observe a soldierly discipline in diet and deportment so that he may wage a good warfare. He will, without reluctance, undertake the unpleasant task which others avoid or the hidden duty which others evade because it evokes no applause and wins little appreciation.”
The world waits to follow the competent leader.
J. Don George is a member of the AGTS Board
of Directors and the Executive Presbytery of the General
Council of the AG. He pastors the 7,000-member
Calvary Church AG in Irving, Texas.