by Rebecca Kocsis
I liken the beginning of a new school year to the start of a horse race. After months of planning, organizing, and meeting with new homeschoolers, August (or September) arrives and off we go–executing our many well-laid plans. I often told families in my group that trying to take part in everything we had to offer would be hazardous to their homeschool health. We tried to have something for everybody, but nobody should try to do everything. God forbid. There would be no time for school.
Of course, this was pre-Covid-19 era. None of us were really prepared for the past 18 months, and none of us really know what’s going to happen as we move into this school year. One thing is certain, though, whether our events are live or virtual, leaders, out of necessity, must be in the middle of everything.
Before we get too far out of the starting blocks, let’s take a few moments for some quiet reflection. It doesn’t matter how hard and fast we run serving the Lord, if our heart attitudes are wrong, our efforts will profit us nothing. Let’s be honest. We all need a thorough “heart examination” once in a while. What better time than now?
The Lord, and the Apostles Peter and Paul have made pointed exhortations for those in Christian leadership. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on Peter’s exhortation in 1 Peter 5:2-4 (NKJV).
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
Nor as being overlords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
Our motive should not be for dishonest gain. That thought may seem laughable to those who end up footing the bill for their homeschool groups’ expenses. Though there’s little financial gain to be had, we may secretly relish the esteem that comes from being a leader. Is pride lurking in the recesses of your heart? Perhaps you’ve come to enjoy the authority that you have in leading your group. Take care. The Lord left us with strict orders that we should not lord over those we lead. Rather we are to be among them as those who serve.
We are to serve as overseers willingly. Do you feel like leading your group is something that you get to do or that you have to do? If you’ve been in this leadership role for several years, it is possible to serve out of habit rather than with passion and love. It’s also possible to become resentful because of the many bumps and bruises we incur as a result of being on the front lines.
We are also to lead by example. Are you willing to be an example to your group members? I realize that may seem an overwhelming thought–to be an example. There are two sides to that coin. One side leaves us with a tall order, striving to set an example worth following. The other side can be humbling. Being an example means we must be visible and others may see our flaws. That requires an element of transparency and willingness to acknowledge our shortcomings or mistakes. Remember, God gives grace to the humble.
Are we following the Chief Shepherd’s example? We are to have the same mind, or attitude, as Jesus Who willingly humbled Himself and took the form of a servant. Ask yourself – Do I remember that I am to be a humble servant?
Aspiring to leadership is honorable, provided our motives and actions are aligned with sound biblical principles. Leading is hard; at times even painful, yet is accompanied with the promise of eternal rewards that will not fade away.
Leadership Skills & Abilities
Feeling brave? Prayerfully go over the list below to see which area(s) the Lord would have you develop or correct as you embark on the new school year.
- Have you broken a bad habit?
- How well do you retain control when things go wrong?
- Do you think independently, or do you let others think for you?
- Do you handle criticism objectively?
- Can you use disappointments creatively?
- Are you able to readily secure cooperation?
- Have you won the respect and confidence of others?
- Can you secure discipline without a show of authority?
- Are you a peacekeeper?
- How well do you handle difficult or delicate situations?
- Can you induce others to happily do something they would otherwise not wish to do?
- Do you accept opposition and not be offended by it?
- Do you easily make and keep friends?
- Do you hold a steady course in the face of disapproval?
- Are you at ease in the presence of strangers?
- Do subordinates appear at ease in your presence?
- Are you interested in people?
- Do you show respect of persons? (Do you show favoritism?)
- Do you possess tact?
- Do you possess a strong and steady will?
- Do you nurse resentments or forgive easily?
- Are you passionate about your ministry?
- Do you welcome responsibility?
Attitudes Toward People
- Do other people’s failures annoy you or challenge you?
- Do you use people or cultivate people?
- Do you direct people or develop people?
- Do you criticize or encourage others?
- Do you seek out or shun the problem person?
(Adapted from Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders)
This is not a pass or fail test. However, if you come back to it from time to time, it can prove to be an excellent means of measuring your growth in leadership and setting future goals for growth. I have been going over this list since 1996 and haven’t passed it with flying colors once, but I can honestly tell you that I am improving.