Leading forward in humility

I n July, I had the privilege of leading a group of 128 pastors and their wives to Israel. I must admit, it was one of the highlights of my ministry.

One day while visiting Bethlehem, we stopped at a gift shop. While our group was shopping, the owner of the tour company we went with asked me to find a small gift to take back for my office. As I perused the store, I really wanted to choose something that exemplified my calling. I really wanted one of David killing a lion with his bare hands, but that’s not what I do. I then found one of Jesus carrying a sheep on his shoulders—a picture of the Shepherd carrying His sheep. I loved it, but that is not what I do (that is a more accurate picture of a pastor). 

After searching for a while, I found the one that best represents my calling. It is a beautiful carving of Jesus on his knees washing the feet of Peter. This was it. This exemplifies what I live for—to serve with humility. 

If there is anything I have learned about leadership, it’s this: success makes you a more confident leader, failure makes you a more cautious leader, but humility makes you a better leader. Serving in any leadership capacity can be challenging. The stress and anxiety of day-to-day decisions often weigh heavy on the hearts and minds of leaders. The ever-changing culture adds to the complexities of leading. However, with the right mindset and posture of heart, leaders can excel in advancing the mission. 

I want to suggest two principles to live by in leading with humility: 

"When you lead with humility, you desire to honor those in your life. Paul challenges the church in Rome not only to honor others but to outdo each other in showing honor."

Realize our position

It is easy as you progress in your calling to become more self-confident and less self-aware. Oftentimes, success brings great things into your life: expanded influence, job promotions, salary raises, and a lot of affirmation. These are all good things. However, if we are not careful, it also brings pride, arrogance, a lack of concern for others, and a loss of gratitude. 

We must remember what 1 Peter 5:6 says: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” As we lead forward, it is imperative to realize our position. Humility comes from a heart that is postured in submission to God. It comes from people who know they are nothing apart from the hand of God on their lives.

Honor others

One of my favorite verses is found in the second part of Romans 12:10: “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Leaders excel in this principle when they are secure in who they are in Christ. When you lead with humility, you desire to honor those in your life. Paul challenges the church in Rome not only to honor others but to outdo each other in showing honor. What a principle to live and lead by! As you lead forward in humility, find ways to honor the people God brings into your life. 

Leading is challenging, but doing so with humility is fulfilling. I encourage you as you lead to position your mind and heart to do so with humility. It will change your life and allow you to serve with joy and gratefulness. I love you and am humbled to serve you!

Executive Director
Nathan Lorick
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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