Partnership and team workNow that we have established that the Marketplace is not just business, but where people work (in fact, where they spend most of their waking hours); and…

Now that we have established that ministry is more than a religious profession, but affectionate service to others;

We will wrap up this Back to Basics series by exploring the meaning of “leader”.

In so doing, we will continue with our underlying theme – that a limited perspective limits God’s grace, and our impact for His kingdom. I pray that you will be encouraged, and be an encouragement to others, to fully assume your role as His Marketplace Ministry Leader.

God’s Perspective

When we hear the word leader, our minds go to the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Whatever the marketplace field, we think of the man or woman at the top: CEO, Principal, Governor, etc. Once again, this is not wrong; it’s just limited.

First of all, the kingdom of God is not a hierarchical structure; though we have worked hard to make it that way. The kingdom is a body, an organism. There is only one head – Jesus Christ.

Secondly, God’s perspective on the remaining members of that body is that no one is greater than another (2Corinthians 12:12-26). Granted, it is hard to live that way in this fallen world. Those that climb to the highest levels tend to get the most recognition and are given the most authority and influence. However, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must recognize that the ways of the world are generally contrary to the ways of God. In many cases, we must fight against the prevailing perspective to enjoy the grace God has lavished upon us.

Furthermore, we must be persistent in maintaining an eternal perspective. All worldly authority is transitory, subject to the God that establishes all authority (Romans 13:1). He can raise up leaders, and put them down, in a moment. Considering Saul and David, we recognize that the one anointed to lead – even a nation – is not always the one holding the position.

So you see, God has a much broader view of “leader” than most of us have considered. It is not simply the top of the hierarchy, and it is not necessarily bound by a title or position. I hope your paradigm about “leader” is starting to soften. Let’s dig a little deeper for the understanding of this empowering truth.

God’s Perspective on Positional Authority

Positional authority and influence are important to God simply because He is a god of order. He establishes leaders, both good and evil, for His purposes. However, too many times in the church we look to the top of the pyramid as the sole entry point for God’s revelation and grace. Consequently, we fail to experience the authority and influence we have been given.

Yes, CEOs have authority and influence over entire companies; but their direct impact exists with very few individuals – perhaps six, and very rarely more than a dozen. Influence is profoundly affected by contact and communication with people (i.e., relationship). A CEOs influence is regressively affected by levels in the organizational hierarchy and geographic distance. The manager in a satellite plant has more influence with more people than the CEO. Could it be that the line manager has even more influence than the plant manager? Which one has the greatest potential for kingdom impact?

God has a way of accomplishing His purposes outside of – even contrary to – the ways of man. This “influence inversion” (yes, I made that up) is just one way He reveals His higher than thoughts and ways. My favorite example of this is in the field of education.

Ask any School Superintendent how many people they influence directly? They will likely list their direct reports – maybe six, or eight people. Now, consider the influence a class room teacher has with the 25+ students they are responsible, five days a week for ten months. Add to that the 50+ parents of those students. What might God do with a “bottom-of-the-totem-pole” teacher that has determined to be God’s instrument of righteousness in their sphere of influence?

Kingdom (or Spiritual) Authority

As we consider God’s way for influencing the world around us, it is good to recognize that we are talking about kingdom influence, derived from kingdom authority. Sometimes that lines up with the world’s hierarchies; most times it does not. God positioned Pharaoh for his purposes (Exodus 9:16), but we all know that Moses was “THE MAN” in Egypt when God determined to set His people free.

This principle is true in the Marketplace today. I heard someone say it like this, “The highest positioned Christian in the boardroom is the person with the greatest authority for the company.” If you are one of those He has so position, how you use your authority and influence will be an important consideration. You must have a heart to glorify God in all you do, and to do all things as unto Christ. In this humble state, you will find the faith and courage to do the will of your Father in heaven.

Before I move on to our last consideration, let me reemphasize that the Marketplace is more than business. Don’t be deceived. The authority and influence God invests in His children is not limited by the boundaries of this world. Be careful before you say, “My situation is different.”

God is Not Time Bound

When God called Moses to be the deliverer of His people, he knew that Moses would need forty years of preparation on the back side of the desert. When He had Samuel anoint David as the next king, God knew David would face a giant, and live on the run for several years, before sitting on the throne. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him before He made him a part of His inner circle. The future destiny of every leader is as real as the present to God; and He is preparing many leaders that are not yet operating in the full investment of God’s grace.

For the sake of a descriptive title, let’s call this “potential authority and influence”. Recognizing that some would disagree, my conviction is that every child of God has potential authority and influence; for the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him (2Chronicles 16:9). He is working in you to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13); and He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask or think, according to the power that works in you (Ephesians 3:20).

Surrender your heart to Him, and you may discover a strong desire to be God’s leader in the Marketplace; affectionately serving those in your sphere of influence.

Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

 

Humbly yours and forever His,

P.S. To learn more of God’s perspective on Marketplace Ministry Leaders, check out What is the Marketplace? and “Ministry” in the Marketplace.