Encouragement For Leaders (2)
By Janice S Ramkissoon
05th April 2012
The Courageous Leader
In part one we established the importance of being a courageous leader, understanding that courage helps us to move forward into the greatness God has called us and move away from conformity. It is easy to allow fear to dictate our actions. So how do we move away from conformity and embrace the lifestyle of a courageous leader?
I have experienced the leadership of some very courageous church and community leaders who refused to conform to ‘the norm’ and because of their effective leadership, I had a temporary platform from which to leap. However, due to the lack of parental leadership in my life, I have struggled with my confidence. The fear of not being an effective leader have found me running or remaining stagnant in various ministries within my current fellowship and community. I decided that the only way forward was to totally submit my will to the will of God in order to move forward. In this season, I find that I am indeed allowing the Holy Spirit to do the teaching. As I learn and share, I pray others will be led to dig deeper into the Scriptures to find answers and help those around them to grow. I believe that many of those leaders I admired as a young Christian used Joshua as a platform from which to leap. And I am about to follow in their footsteps and take a leap of faith in presenting to you what I have learned from studying Joshua to this point.
“My original name was Hosea, but Moses decided another name would fit me better: Joshua. The name Joshua means “God saves.” So that’s been my name ever since… I served Moses as his right-hand man. I was Moses’ military commander, and the Lord graciously used me to lead our people in a surprising victory over the Amalekites at Sinai… Later, I was sent into the Promised Land to spy out its resources, fortress, enemy strength, layout of land and other information we would need when it was time to invade. Of the twelve spies Moses sent, only Caleb and I came back with a good report. We agreed with our brothers that the land was good…inhabited by a strong, fierce people, but we knew they would be no match for our God. Our brothers made the people’s hearts melt in fear, however, and they rebelled against the Lord and against Moses. They refused to enter the land—so the Lord sentenced the whole nation to wander in the desert for forty years (one year for every day we spied out the land), until everyone of that generation had died. Only Caleb and I were allowed to enter the land and take it.
After Moses’ death, I lead the people into Canaan and directed our military efforts, following God’s leadership in every detail. Since God gave them to us, our strategy and tactics worked well. I’m gratified to say that they’re still studied by younger soldiers today."
There is much we can learn from Joshua’s biography. One thing that stood out for me was the difference of opinion in the feedback. The majority, though wrong in their opinion, decided the future of the people. Fear had caused them to choose to conform and so the entire nation suffered as a consequence. It is important, as a leader, to listen to both versions and exercise wisdom in implementing any plans. However, like Moses experienced, there are times when, despite your best efforts to effectively lead the people, the majority (even when wrong) can overrule the leader, thereby producing disastrous consequences. This can result in the leader feeling demoralised and feeling like a failure.
Another point is that although the majority allowed fear to dictate the choice they made, Joshua and Caleb stood strong and declared their faith in God. Although they had to suffer in the wilderness along with the others their faith did not weaken and God allowed for them to enter the promised land with Joshua as the leader. Therefore, it is very important to be obedient to the voice of God and not allow the negativities of those around you to influence you.
Encouragement for our leaders:
I remember as a youth, singing with our praise team the following song:
“There are days I know,
When you get so discouraged,
And it seems like all hope is gone.
But there is One, only One,
Who can give you the courage,
And the strength to carry on.
Never give up! Jesus is coming,
It may be the darkest just before dawn;
Never give up! Jesus is coming,
Never give up! Keep holding on."
I did not understand the meaning of the words we sung to the congregation. I now understand why we sung it so regular. It was one of the ways God chose to encourage our leaders. I was a youth who enjoyed going to youth meetings and being part of the team. We had fun rehearsing songs for the youth Sundays, playing games, being part of the debating or bible quiz team, practising for the Sunday school exams, going on trips to the beach, going to youth camps and much more. It was all fun for us. We did not think about the hard work that went into providing such fun. It was hard work for the youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, Deacons and other officers who would help in that process. They had to work tirelessly; giving of their time and finances to ensure our happiness. Much of this would go without a verbal or written note of thanks. Neither could we afford to bring gifts to show our appreciation. We probably did not even think about showing appreciation. We were brought up seeing this in action and so we grew up expecting this treatment. We weren’t mature enough to think that way, we were in training. But our obedience was all that was needed at the time.
Having gone through the book of Joshua and having experienced some dark days on my journey as a leader in various ministries, I know the importance of leaders being encouraged. This journey I am on started as a form of self-encouragement and is now here to help others on their journey towards greatness.
Live the lifestyle of a courageous leader. Such a leader is always successful in their ministry or ministries. So go ahead! Dare to be a courageous leader; one who understands God’s will for his/her life and is obedient to God’s instructions.
“Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. Study this book of the law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. I command you—Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go"
Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV).