Monday, June 11, 2012

Big cheese or Barnabas leadership?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 11:19-30

TO CHEW ON: "When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord." Acts 11:23

In a guest blog post on Michael Hyatt's blog, Jeremie Kubicek (author of Leadership is Dead: How Influence is Reviving It) says, "To be a true influencer in the lives of those you lead, you must understand a simple but powerful question. It is one your followers are asking. It goes like this: 'Are you for me, against me, or for yourself?'"

The early Christians who started a church in Antioch with Gentile members (Hellenists) would have said Barnabas was for them. For when the Jerusalem elders found out about this unheard-of thing (Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus in great numbers) and sent Barnabas to check it out he "was glad" and "encouraged them."

In fact after spending some time with this vital and growing body, he had an idea.  He fetched the relatively new Christian Saul (Paul) to help, and in this way encouraged the launch of another apostolic career.

The writer of Acts — Luke — was so impressed with Barnabas, he interjected his own author aside: "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith" - Acts 11:24. His short description of Barnabas is a good standard for other-centered Christian leadership of all kinds. This noteworthy leader was:

- a good man.
I read this and think — man with a clear conscience, without obvious personality flaws, someone who, after you spent time with, you would feel better, cleaner, nobler than before. His goodness ruled out jealousy, envy, personal ambition allowing him to embody the quality of love that prefers others above oneself.

- full of the Holy Spirit.
The observable difference the Holy Spirit brought to the lives of the early Christians included authority, power, and a certain nonchalance when it came to being intimidated by lesser authorities. Barnabas's life must have had that sense of moving to the beat of a different drummer.

- full of faith.
Barnabas was a "yes" man. He believed in God and others. Full-of-faith people are positive, optimistic, aware that with God things are possible that could never happen without Him.

I ask myself, how would my followers respond to Mr. Kubicek's question about my leadership. What would your followers say about yours? If they would say that we are first and foremost for ourselves or worse, against them, perhaps Barnabas and his leadership model have something to teach us.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Barnabas's example of good leadership. Please give me insights into the way I lead others. Help me to be for them. Amen.

MORE: Feast of St. Barnabas
Today the church celebrates the Feast of St. Barnabas. The liturgy for today begins with this collect:
"Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well­being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(From the archives)

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