Publication: One-to-One, Autumn 2013
I was flying home from a ministry trip recently and was seated next to a young African-American man. I had noticed him with an older man prior to boarding the plane. He was exceptionally respectful, polite, and attentive. Because he seemed like such a fine person, I asked him what he did.
“Hmm, a Kingdom boxer?”
I thought. “Amazing!”
Because I had done some boxing in college, we were able to connect on both levels—the kingdom of God and boxing. I realized that his coach must be a Kingdom man also and had brought the kingdom of God into this young man’s life, as no one else had.
Then I thought about our churches who have lost so many of our young people. Are we raising up Kingdom leaders who can reign in life in every area in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit? (See Romans 5:17-21; Romans 14:17.)
Many years ago I became impressed with Isaiah 32, “A king will reign in righteousness and princes will rule with justice. A man will be a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” The chapter goes on to describe the blessings of righteous leadership. The previously mentioned coach is one example that we can see today.
The king raises up princes who would rule. The Lord is not content to be the only leader. His desire is to impart, prepare, and put others in paces of leadership so that they can reflect His government in what would otherwise be darkness. Jesus is the epitome of this truth in that His primary focus was upon raising up disciples who would later bring righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit to nations.
I do not equate Church leadership with Kingdom leadership. Church leadership is confined to the Church. Kingdom leadership is expanded to every realm of life—even boxing. To do its job, the Church, which is Christ’s Body, must produce leaders who can influence beyond the Church.
Moses was a pastor and had a mega church—“The Church in the Wilderness.” But he was much more. He was an administrator, economist, a legal expert, an agriculturalist, and gifted to reign in every facet of national life. And he raised up other leaders that handled a broad array of community life—leaders like Joshua and the elders.
The Lord told Moses, “I will raise up a prophet like you from among the brethren and will put my words in his mouth” (see Deuteronomy 18:18). Peter quotes this and refers to Jesus as that person (see Acts 3:22) Jesus was and is the fulfillment of God’s Word to Moses. Therefore, while Jesus is the “Chief Pastor”, He is so much more. He is the consummate leader in every field of life. He has brought righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit—not only to church life—but to business, economics, agriculture, and every realm through leaders who see Him as their King.
The Lord desires that we raise up “princes.” The Lord gives gifted leaders to the church who in turn equip leaders to influence the world. Moses did that; David did that; Jesus and the apostles did that.
RAISING UP LEADERS
Real kingdom leaders reproduce. Jesus produced enduring leaders who withstood the most rigorous persecution and even gave their lives. He not only motivated, He imparted. In order to be effective in our world, the Church must return to its origins. The longer we delay, the greater will be our loss of influence in the world.
Too often we send our youth off to some school to be shaped by others who do not share our faith and Kingdom values. What is often produced is some politically correct mindset that lacks the substance to effect the larger world. They are often blinded spiritually and unable to deal with the realities of our time.
What are some of the traits that the King wants to instill in those who can affect the world? Here is a partial list of traits that we must “coach” into those who will enter the battle for hearts and minds….
CHARACTER: That word comes from “engraved.” Originally, numbers and letters were called “characters”. They were engraved upon some hard surface such as stone. Character is what has been engraved in us by the chisel of teaching and circumstance. That chisel in God’s hands produces Kingdom character—like Jesus.
PRINCIPLES: These are the fundamental rules or laws that guide conduct. Jesus was a teacher of principles such as faithfulness brings increase and sowing determines reaping. He based outcomes on principles. The character of a leader is determined by the principles that he or she consistently regard and observe.
COURAGE: Courage comes from the French word for heart. It is the ability to face difficulty and danger without fear. Leading requires moving toward a purpose and goals that will always incur op- position. Again, we can learn from Moses and most certainly, Jesus.
VISION: Vision is not predicting the future; it is seeing it. Vision is the goal that calls us beyond all else and is seen in the light of God’s presence. Vision is a gift from God that requires one to pay the price to move toward it, whatever the price may be. Kingdom visions are a part of God’s overall purpose in the earth and will test our character, principles, and courage.
PERSUASIVE: This is the ability to clearly articulate the vision with a passion that catches on fire the hearts of hearers. Character, principles, courage, and vision attract those who innately know that they were born for a cause. The cause of God’s Kingdom moves leaders to become as persuasive in life, speech, and power, as possible.
ENDURING: The vision of God’s Kingdom on earth is the most enduring of all visions. It was what was lost in the Garden of Eden and regained in Christ. It is the prophet’s promise and the Messiah’s mission. Other “visions” do not endure. The fire that Moses saw at the burning bush kept burning, and still burns.
TRUSTWORTHY: All of the above traits evoke the trust of others. Consistent leaders make a daily deposit in the “Bank of Trust”. Inconsistency is a withdrawal from the leader’s account. Leaders that fail to keep their promises go bankrupt in their influence. All prosperous societies are built upon morality and trust.
STRATEGIC: Biblical leaders were able to plan but they got their plans from the Holy Spirit. The Lord Who knows the end from the beginning will give us the next step that leads to His eternal purpose. Success must not be based upon “a good idea,” but it must come through sound strategies (see Noah, Moses, and David). We are in a spiritual war that requires divine strategy.
LISTENERS: Kingdom leaders listen to their followers, not for guidance, but to gain strategic wisdom (see 1 Chronicles 13:1; Acts 15). Listening provides the intelligence that is needed for sound strategy. Listening is not poll taking, it is pulse taking.
Jesus made it clear that influence built upon “sand” would fall. Sand is anything other than the Word of God (see Matthew 7:24-29). The Word of God stands forever, and those who stand upon it will be proven in the storm.
There are many false foundations. Our culture is obsessed with image, popularity, celebrity, and wealth, but all these will melt like snow on a hot day. Experiencing “fifteen minutes of fame” is not leadership. Leadership is what people who come along later realize, and contemporaries often fail to see.
Popularity can be seductive and often is. My dad used to say that some people were not really leaders, they just “jumped in front of a parade.” When those leaders fail to meet their followers’ expectations, the “parade” becomes a trampling mob. True leaders follow Jesus and allow Him to determine who follows them. We must produce these kinds of leaders. How?
Jesus shows us how to produce Kingdom leaders. We will not get that from our culture. It was His priority. He had a laser-like focus on those God gave Him (see John cha 14-17). He did not spend all o time at meetings. He had co passion on the multitudes and motivated Him to be a disciple maker. Those disciples affect the multitudes.
We can all play a role in developing Kingdom leaders. Parents, husbands, wives, pastors, teachers, coaches, business people, and political leaders, and leaders in every field can play a constructive role in imparting the character principles of Jesus the King, and raise up “princes” who are desperately needed.
One coach said, “My goal is not the championship; it is to produce champions.” That is how he won championships. We will not win by wanting our culture to better. We will win by producing better leaders!
Ask yourself a few questions: Who am I leading or influencing? What am I imparting? Am I showing them how to reign in life both spiritually and practically? What does the Great Commission mean to me on personal level?
Our communities, churches, professions, businesses, and trades need leadership that can bring righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That is the kingdom of God. We may not be Moses, but we can be like Moses to someone!
Scripture Reference: Romans 5:17-21, Romans 14:17, Isaiah 32, Deuteronomy 18:18, Acts 3:22, 1 Chronicles13:1, Acts 15, Matthew 7:24-29, John 14-17
Charles Simpson is an internationally-known author, Bible teacher, and pastor, serving in ministry since 1955. He is also Editor-in-Chief of One-to-One Magazine and ministers extensively throughout the United States and the nations.