August 18, 2021
Serving leaders are passionate about growth since they understand that their growth unlocks the potential they possess. They also realize that their growth determines the growth of the organizations they lead. They recognize that growing themselves is one of the best ways they can serve those who follow. They reflect deeply on Peter’s challenge to all believers:
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2 Peter 3:18, NIV).
Peter challenges us all to keep growing, the antidote for falling from the “secure position” he mentions in the previous verse. Leaders pay careful attention to their growth and ask themselves often, “How am I growing?”
Serving leaders ask “How am I growing?“ to check balance.
Peter calls leaders to grow in “grace and knowledge…” Knowledge is an area most leaders are aware of their need for growth. They take classes, attend seminars, listen to podcasts, or read books to expand their knowledge. This is excellent. But Peter calls leaders to balance knowledge with grace. Grace is an internal attribute, a character trait, an issue of the heart. Both the head and heart are needed and should be balanced. When growth happens only in the area of knowledge and there is no corresponding development of character, it leads to arrogance. When a leader grows only in character without growth in knowledge, their hearts may be in the right place, but they still lack leadership competencies that are essential.
Serving leaders ask themselves if they are growing in both areas. They ask if their character is stronger and their knowledge greater than it was before. Serving leaders recognize that they need both head knowledge and heart capacity to increase. They seek to balance their growth between the knowledge and skills they need to excel professionally, with the heart issues of integrity, honesty, courage, and humility.
Serving leaders ask “How am I growing?“ to confirm direction.
Serving leaders are not only concerned that they are growing, but they also want to know if they are growing in the right direction. Peter provides the direction for growth, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” He points to Jesus as the greatest example of serving leadership. While they may benefit from many leadership resources that are not explicitly faith based, serving leaders ask themselves a simple question, “Am I living and leading more like Jesus than I was a year ago?” If the answer is “yes”, the correct direction is confirmed.
Serving leaders ask “How am I growing?“ to credit correctly.
Leaders grow for many reasons. Some are seeking a promotion or simply want to grow a larger organization. Some want to impress others with their title or degree. But Peter makes it clear that the motive for serving leaders to grow is not to bring glory to themselves but to Jesus. “To him be glory both now and forever!” Serving leaders are passionate about their growth, but like everything about their leadership, it is not about them, it is about others. Their growth develops the potential they received from their creator and thereby brings glory to Him. Their growth simply allows them to serve more effectively and bring greater levels of flourishing to the organizations they lead.
For further reflection and discussion:
- In what areas do I focus my growth? Is there a healthy balance between my growth in character and knowledge? Do I choose book, seminars and training with this balance in mind?
- Is my growth leading me to live and lead more like Jesus? If not, what do I need to change? If yes, in what way is this evident to those around me?
- Am I growing to impress others? Am I seeking to make myself look good? Am I seeking promotion or a new title which is selfish in nature?
- What do I need in my current growth journey? Do I need mentors? Books? Seminars? Professional training?
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll examine a question serving leaders ask others, “How are you growing?”