One Quality That Sets a Leader Apart

I look around the conference room in a San Francisco church.

The round tables are filled with high capacity young leaders.  Some have brought with them the early career fatigue of balancing family and ministry and finances, and communities resistant to innovation.  There are too few minorities in the room.  And too few women.  We all know more than we do.  We all wrestle to be authentic and not just tell our “success stories”.  Instead, to talk about our doubts and hopes and fears.

As I sit with these leaders for the day there’s something I notice that sets them apart.  They come with the posture of learners.  They have strength and resolve, but also humility. They ask good questions.  They listen.

They live into the belief that anyone anywhere is a potential mentor, whether younger or older, blue collar or white collar, mom or migrant worker.

We often hear the refrain, “Leaders are learners.” and it’s true.  But it’s important to say more than that.  The posture of a learner comes from a place of humility that is rooted in the unshakable confidence that our worth is from our true identity in Christ.

We need to be hearing every day from Jesus that we are His beloved child and nothing can change that.  If we are living out of this true self, titles and achievements and the opinion of others will not control us.

If we are living out of our true self, we will have nothing to prove and nothing to lose.

But the world sings us a different song.

Ann Voskamp writes, the “love song [God] is singing, it is the antithesis of life’s theme song, that refrain of rejection I know so well.”

The lyrics of God’s serenade can replace the chorus of the world that gets stuck in our heads on repeat.  The world bellows a fight song while God gently sings His love ballad.

C.S. Lewis writes that the most important thing is not what we think of God, but rather what He thinks of us.

God rejoices over us with singing.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

“I have called you by name, you are Mine.” 

The Siren tune of the world threatens to drown out God’s love song, so lean in close. Take the time apart to listen to His words that reassure you that truly, you are secure in Him.

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