Locations of visitors to this page
Look Who's Following You
Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6;
Track 12 of 15 in the Paul: Grace & Strength Mixed Together series
Running time: 1 hour, 07 minutes, 56 seconds.
I dont know what it is but there are some people who are just born leaders, it is in their nature to lead people. There are people who by nature want to follow and dont want any responsibility to lead. There are a lot of definitions for leadership, I like the simple one, look behind you and if someone is following, you are a leader. If this definition is true and I think it is, then sometime in our lives, everyone ends up leading someone.

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Look Who’s Following You!

I don’t know what it is but there are some people who are just born leaders, it is in their nature to lead people. There are people who by nature want to follow and don’t want any responsibility to lead. There are a lot of definitions for leadership, I like the simple one, look behind you and if someone is following, you are a leader. If this definition is true and I think it is, then sometime in our lives, everyone ends up leading someone.

“He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.”

Our country has so many great leaders in our history. They range from business leaders to military leaders, political leaders to religious leaders. Leadership happens all the time and is all around us and some of the most important acts of leadership take place in the quiet moments in the home; teaching our children how to pray, how to love God, how to love other people and how to show respect to everyone our kids meet. There is no greater calling as a leader than to be mom and dad or grandma and grandpa to our kids.

There are all kinds of leadership styles. Each person has his or her own way of leadership. Some are powerful, some work behind the scenes. Some lead from being out in front leading the charge while others lead by helping others step up and lead on their own. Whatever your leadership style is, it isn’t the style that matters that much but where you lead or take the ones who follow you.

Which is it?
Is leadership is a position of office or authority? Or, is leadership an ability in the sense that he is a leader because he leads?

Are you like The Pied Piper of Hamelin who when hired to lure the rats from the city with his pipe, turned on the city and lured their children away never to be found because the city refused to pay him his wages? Or are you a leader who knows what the right direction is and leads his or her followers to the correct destination?

A requirement for leadership is personal vision - the ability to visualize your goal as an accomplished fact; a thing already achieved.

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." Theodore M. Hesburgh

What is your general vision in life? How do you become a leader with a purpose?

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Discussion: We often hear of some leaders are task-oriented or goal-oriented and others are people-oriented. As a leader, if you have to choose between people or purpose, what will you choose?

There is no question that the Apostle Paul was probably one of the greatest leaders of all times next to Jesus. There are so many examples of his leadership style found in his letters to the churches. Today’s lesson will look at his style found in 1 Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-6 (NIV) You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you,

Before I get into some of the more detailed qualities of Paul and his leadership, according to this passage, describe for me the general feel of his leadership and the response from the Christians in Thessalonica? The Christians there knew Paul’s ministry well. He was not a distant leader, he was someone who walked with them, suffered with them and worked alongside them. He knew them intimately and allowed others to see him up close and personal.

• He didn’t offer them leadership ideals – he appealed to their intimate knowledge of him
• Paul wasn’t a leader who was aloof nor did he work in secret – they knew his address and they knew they would talk with him anytime. Paul had nothing to prove.

What was the secret to his success? In spite of all the opposition, Paul kept moving on. “He dared to preach the Gospel”

How are you when you face opposition or even failure? How many times do you allow yourself to fail before you quit? How strong does the opposition have to get before you give up and quit pursuing your dream?

According to Paul and his leadership style, what are the 4 things a good leader never does?

• He is not deceptive: Integrity is an absolute must

• Good leaders are not people pleasers: What does it say about a leader who seeks to please everyone? What are the dangers when leading and not pleasing people and their desires?

• Spiritual leaders are not greedy. Don’t take advantage of the people you are leading for your own personal gain.

• Spiritual leaders are not self-serving.

What did it take to qualify to be an Apostle? Had to be an eye witness to the risen Christ, Performed miracles and founded churches, had supernatural wisdom and discernment. They were the Lord’s chosen men. What was one of the greatest temptations an Apostle had to fight against? Not to seek glory from men.

Paul did not take advantage of his followers by asserting his authority over them as an Apostle. Instead, he chose to lead by example and as a way for others to imitate. The only authority Paul had was by the example he was to show through the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, when it came to defending scriptural truth, Paul had authority to set the truth straight but he never lorded it over them, he chose to show them through his example as he was faithful to his calling in Christ.

According to Paul’s leadership style, what are the things a leader should do?

• Sensitive to the needs of others. Paul compared his leadership as that of motherhood. This gift is best described as the spiritual fruit of gentleness.

• Good leaders have affection for people. Looking at Paul in scripture, I think this falls under small and yet frequent acts of kindness and written words of appreciation.

Are you the type of person who likes to write notes of encouragement and appreciation? Are you spontaneous in showing kindness to others…do something unexpected and maybe a little wild for others?

I found a little poem that I think speaks to this:

Life is mostly froth and bubble.
Two things stand in stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble.
Courage in your own.

What does this mean and is it true? Is it true in your own life?

• Good leaders are authentic: A leader must walk and live what he preaches. He or she must live what he professes he believes in.

• Good leaders are enthusiastically affirming. Do you lead through force or do you lead through affirmation, enticing your followers to grow and standup.

How many of you have every sat in the stands during a sporting event and watched your kids or someone you know compete? Are you animated and totally involved, yelling to them during the game or are you quietly watching wishing the loud dad would sit down and shut up?

I see the loud dad as an example of leading through affirmation. Some see it as annoying, the dad sees it as helping their child through the experience. Some take it too far but how wonderful it is that the child has a dad out there every game rooting them on? A leader does not miss the opportunity to root their followers on.

Where did Paul learn how to lead like this? As Saul he didn’t have these traits. As Paul he did. Did God just drop these qualities into his head and heart? What role does the Holy Spirit have in this? How does this work? I believe Paul advanced as a great leader on his knees.