We have a leadership shortage in this world. We have plenty of people in charge, plenty of people with opinions, and plenty of people bent on abusing power—but we have a shortage of godly leaders committed to serving other people and helping them become who God has called them to be.
God wants you and me to be a part of the solution, just as Paul writes to Timothy: “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT).
In Part 1 of this article, I shared with you two principles you can put into practice to help you bring out the best in others: Accept their uniqueness and affirm their value constantly.
Here are three more ways you can bring out the best in the people in your life and ministry.
- Trust them with increasing responsibility.
You can find a million books and resources on how to become a leader. They may be able to help you grow, but they can’t help you become a leader. You only become a leader when you lead.
That’s why you’ll have to give people responsibility if you want to see them become leaders. Nothing brings out the best in you or anyone else faster than having someone believe in you. A responsible person is someone who is able to respond. You can’t become responsible if you’re never given the opportunity to respond.
In Luke 16:10-12, Jesus gives us three ways to help people become responsible:
- Trust them with small things. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10 NLT). Start giving future leaders small responsibilities, like clean-up and greeting. If they’re faithful in little, God says they’ll be faithful in much.
- Trust them with possessions and money. “And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:11 NLT). Money is a test to see if a leader really understands their role as a steward.
- Trust them with things that don’t belong to them. “And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?” (Luke 16:12 NLT). Before they start leading their own ministry, it’s a good idea for them to serve in someone else’s ministry.
It’s all about responsibility. If you want future leaders to become responsible, you must give them the opportunity to do it wrong. Don’t toss them out of ministry if they make a mistake. Only do that if they make the same mistake week after week.
- Correct without condemning.
You’ll never have a team member who is perfect. The Bible tells us that everyone sins. That means we all need correction from time to time.
But we correct out of love—not punishment, just like God does with us. “For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12 NLT).
Punishment looks at the past. Discipline is correction for the future.
How do you put that into practice?
- Never correct in anger. If you’re angry, you need to wait and cool down a bit. When you correct a team member in anger, you’re simply getting even. You’ll damage your relationship, and it likely won’t change any behaviors.
- Choose your words carefully. Whenever you’re correcting someone, you should be as precise as possible. Think through what you’ll say before you speak. Harmful words become hurtful memories. We must aim to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Too many leaders have crumbled because their mentors crushed their spirits by correcting them in ungodly ways.
- Love them fiercely and unconditionally.
When your team understands you love them and want the best for them, you’ll unleash their potential.
Here are a few practical ways you can do that:
- Forgive them. Leading others and helping them become all God has made them to be will get messy. Expect to get hurt and disappointed if you’re really investing in others. The Bible tells us we find the power to forgive in God’s response to us. “Be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” (Ephesians 4:32 CEV).
The Bible doesn’t tell us to half-heartedly forgive those who hurt us. We’re told to forgive completely, instantly, and freely.
- Never give up on them. If you’re really investing in the growth of the people on your team, you’ll be tempted to give up. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll be hurt and disappointed in those you lead. You can count on that. But biblical love never gives up. Paul writes this plainly in the most famous chapter on love in the Bible: “Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up” (1 Corinthians 13:7 GW).
Again, God’s love is the model for this kind of love. God loves us with a fierce, unfailing love. He’s given you second, third, and fourth chances more times than you can count. That’s God’s grace.
Don’t wait to model God’s leadership methods with your team; start today!
Our Heavenly Father is always the greatest model of leadership and discipleship in our lives.