I’ve been studying a lot about leadership lately. What works. What doesn’t. What the Bible highlights as important for leaders to know.
And it’s not just helping me in my ministry leadership role.
The leadership lessons I’m learning are helping me in every role. Because honestly, most of us have influence in some sphere of our life. When we influence, we lead. And when we lead, we have a great responsibility to grow.
We can’t lead others further than where we’ve grown ourselves.
Stunt our growth, and we stunt our leadership.
So, I’m setting aside intentional time to learn and grow as a leader.
One of my favorite leaders to study in the Bible is Paul. Yesterday, I was reading the letters Paul wrote to a young man he was leading named Timothy. And I came across a section in 2 Timothy chapter two entitled, “A workman approved by God.”
I thought, this is going to be a great leadership section! Whatever Paul is about to write here is going to be pure gold. I want to know how Paul defined a workman approved by God.
Paul could have focused on many things for this section. If I was writing this section of the Bible, I would have said a good leader should be:
* A servant leader.
* Calm under pressure.
* A good decision maker.
* Able to recruit other good leaders.
And lots of other things as well.
But as I kept reading, I was surprised by the main topic discussed under this section entitled “A workman approved by God.”
It was on avoiding… godless chatter. Arguing. Quarrels. Foolish and stupid arguments that lead to resentment.
In other words, we must watch our words. And not just watch them, control them. Wrangle them. Boss them around. Set them straight.
Leaders must, must, must recognize what can happen when we use words the wrong way OR when we allow an environment to develop where words are used the wrong way.
The progression of warnings in this section is haltingly strong:
verse 14: “Quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.”
verse 16: “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”
verse 17: “Their (those that participate in godless chatter and the mishandling of words) teaching will spread like gangrene.”
The warnings continue all the way to the ultimate warning in verse 26 where we learn that it is crucial for those who are stirring up all this junk, to repent in hopes that “they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
The devil has a will. And he can take us captive to do his will.
The words we speak matter.
And so do the words we think. Sometimes we can be smiling on the outside while screaming on the inside… and we think that’s more Christian. Gosh, I’m guilty of this sometimes.
But both external godless chatter and internal godless chatter can lead to dangerous places. Can corrupt our organizations. Can eat us alive from the inside out.
I think it’s worth thinking about today.
I think it’s worth talking about with those we lead. Whether it’s with our families, our circle of friends, or our staff members, …take time. Make time. To talk about how we must watch our words.