Excerpts from a Lecture delivered by Femi Adelegan at the Men’s Forum Meeting of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Abuja, Nigeria in 2015.
It is to be noted that only a thin line distinguishes leadership from governance. Leadership is a calling — An endowment. That is the reason why Personality A could exhibit better leadership traits than Personality B. Leadership is found in all classes of any society, irrespective of age, the young and the old; male and female inclusive. As defined by R. K. Greenleaf: “Leadership facilitates goal accomplishment by giving its team members what they need in order to be productive.” That explains why certain decisions are formulated in the overall interest of all, by a few people recognized to play the difficult task of leading others. It follows, therefore, that to be able to be regarded a leader, certain virtues like honesty, inherent capabilities, forthrightness, commitment and dedication to a defined cause, in addition to an excellent spirit, must be exhibited by the chosen or elected leader. For a leader to be able to lead successfully, responsibility must be balanced with authority. You don’t just assign responsibilities at all levels without adequate backing that would aid accomplishment of results. That is the essence of power and its application by leaders.
It is often said that the type of leaders a nation has determines its direction, purpose, vision, and mission that are combined factors that drive the development of the society. A leader must have the capacity to change his home for the better, change the environment for good, influence children and followers, and proffer solutions to problems in a manner that would appeal to his/her children or followers, with the attendant effect of motivating them to assist in providing solutions to problems. One time Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Prof. Adebayo Adedeji (may his sould rest in peace) has asserted that “The difference between a leader and a follower is that the former leads a group, a nation, or a region of the earth, through crisis situations to triumph, and prosperity; while the latter simply follows the trends…. A leader, particularly, a political leader without a vision, is a fraud on society, and a country that is unfortunate to be afflicted with that kind of leadership is doomed to move from one crisis to another.’’ Men, as leaders and governors of family units are on a continuous programme of learning the art of managing human resources for better attainments. Mothers are Deputy Governors. We, therefore, have a great deal of work to do in order to transform our homes, people and societies.
Now, what are the responsibilities of believers in leadership and governance of their homes? How do you manage your home? Do you pay particular attention to grooming your children for future leadership roles? How do you behave at work? Do you lead by example? How is your prayer life? Does your behaviour encourage people to regard you as a role model? If leaders and governors of family units, (as I have labelled them in this presentation) are to achieve their salient objectives, the recipe lies in adopting the increasingly popular ‘’Transformational Leadership.’’ The term: ‘’visionary leaders’’ refers to decision makers with sound character and tested integrity. Leaders work towards improvements and transformation. Leadership expert and presidential biographer, James McGregor Burns has described transformational leadership as when “leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation. ‘’Through the strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders are able to inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions, and motivations to work towards common goals. An important feature of transformational leadership is that it has the capacity to inspire positive changes in followers. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well.
At impressionable ages, children could mimic their parents. We must never forget that children who are the leaders of tomorrow are constantly watching their parents and would, therefore, attempt to imitate and emulate their parents, even if such actions are ungodly. The story of Susanne, the mother of the John and Charles Wesley is recommendatory. She laboured hard on the upbringing of her children who became successful because of the quality time she spent in praying and attending to the growth of her young ones. John Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church rode over 250,000 miles by horseback – a distance comparable to circling the world ten times. He preached more than forty thousand sermons and published more than five thousand sermons, pamphlets, and books of all kinds. At the time of his death, Wesley had 79,000 followers. Today in England alone, there are 800,000 members of the Methodist Church, while Worldwide, there are 70 million members. The foregoing clearly implies that motivation is required to gain the confidence of followers to be able to help them achieve their common goals. Our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ – was able to achieve much, because HE was a motivator and transformational leader. And if Christ is our role model, all leaders and governors, must allow the teachings of Christ to reflect in their actions and utterances.
Transformational leaders seek to promote the urge to serve as a role model for followers. Jesus Christ did, on several occasions while leading His disciples. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate this individual and internalize his or her ideals. Jesus Christ is the shining example here. So, what and what did he do while on earth? The summary of Christ’s deeds is that He cared for the poor. In our churches, it is important for the leadership and governors, as described in this compilation, to pray fervently to God at all times. It is better to covet and receive the seven-fold Spirit of God that would assist believers in achieving their set-goals and objectives. One important factor that most Christian leaders fail to realize is the need to be constantly established in the Lord as decreed in Deuteronomy 28. Leaders who succeed must tread with caution and hold on tightly to God and do His will; so that they don’t fall cheaply. Therefore, leaders must realize that there are responsibilities attached to positions of leadership, and these responsibilities increase as you record greater successes.
A leader must be determined to succeed so that his followers too would succeed. It is for this reason that Bishop David Oyedepo asserts that “The will to succeed is what drives people to go in search of the things that bring about success. You need to pay the price in order to get the prize! When the choice to succeed is made, the grace and strength for accomplishments are imparted.” Nothing comes easy. You must plan, pray and be resolute to be able to receive from God. Not even armed robbery because you need to plan very well to be able to rob successfully. Leaders and governors who are believers, form the light wherever they work, and so should be shining examples. (Ephesians 4:17) Believers in positions of authority are reminded by Bishop Francis Wale Oke that “All a believer needs to succeed in life is the presence of the Lord” adding that “when the Lord is there with you, all other things you need must show up.” Of all the commandments of God, love tops the list of the fruits and that shows the importance. As a leader or governor, remember to be humble, because God gives the humble grace (Proverbs 3:34) refreshes the humble (Isaiah 57:17) rewards and blesses the humble (Proverbs 22:4) and also leads and teaches the humble (Psalm 25:9)
MAKING YOUR VISION HAPPEN
As believers, and in whatever positions we may find ourselves, we must realize the supremacy of God and the fact that Jesus is our role model. Satan’s plan is to destroy the leader, the governor, the governed, the family, and indeed humanity. We must, therefore, constantly bind the strongman with strong intercessions which are our weapons of warfare. When leaders and governors who are Christians fail, it gives room to unbelievers to blaspheme the name of God. The place to start the building of a successful and prosperous society or nation is our different homes. The family is ordained of God to experience pleasure. Disharmony in a Christian home is bound to hinder prayers and affect the future of the children and the society. Leaders and governors also need to be totally committed to the agenda of God. Let us all open our hearts to the dealings of the Holy Spirit and acquire leadership skills needed for greatness. As we dig into the Scriptures, God will sharpen our leadership skills, connect us with people who will make our visions happen, and strengthen us for the task of leading our homes, society and even the world. Whatever God says or directs us to do, we must not hesitate for a single second in obeying.
To men, I say encourage your wives to be able to support you maximally for the good of the family and ostensibly that of our society. I have always held the belief that any man who raises his hands to assault his wife physically is a ‘’beast’’ that should be taken to a mental home. For instance, do men consider what women go through during childbirth? How many people appreciate the psychological effect of what women go through running our homes, as pivots of family units? Wives, know it properly today, that you are the spiritual anchors of your families, and must accordingly labour hard in prayers. Wives of our great servants of God are usually in their prayer closets interceding for their husbands whenever they go for ministrations. If anybody accuses me of loving women exceptionally, I will quickly concur; after all my mother was a woman and my wife too is a woman. I saw our dad manage our mother responsibly, with both of them too fond of themselves such that they were at table same time, wore same clothes, went out together, and did almost everything together. And I never saw them engage in physical combats for the entire duration of their terrestrial journeys. But our mum was an exceptionally gentle and submissive woman who could never hurt a fly. That must have shaped my perception of marital unions and how men should relate with women; not their wives alone. And the fact that God directs the woman to be submissive is not enough for any man to be a bully at home.
Jesus Christ was sent into this world by God Almighty to bring salvation to all mankind from sin and all the works of the devil. He came, lived a sinless life, preached the good news of salvation and eternal life and healed the sick, set free all that were bound by the devil, raised the dead and went about doing good. At the fullness of time, Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died on the cross after crying out that “it is finished”; affirming that He had concluded the task the Father sent Him to do. On resurrecting from the dead, Jesus Christ caused His disciples to receive the power of the Holy Spirit so they could speak boldly about Jesus and their words started to be confirmed with signs and wonders following. What next? To enjoy the unqualified privileges, mercy and grace of the Creator. The first requirement is for those who are yet to do so to surrender to Jesus Christ. Go to the nearest Bible believing church and ask to be led to Christ. Confess ypur sins and forsake your sins and become a new creature, Thereafter, join the End Time Army of Christ and peach the Gospel as ordered by our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us all examine our lives periodically. You may need to be re cleansed. Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s testimony is worth recalling here: ‘’In 1995, while still in the first auditorium, a renowned missionary and elder who has now gone to glory preached a sermon during our convention and made an altar call. As at that time, I had already been the General Overseer of RCCG for some years but had been battling with my flesh. I knew if I lost that battle and fell, many people will go down with me; so I wanted to be free. ’’When this elder made the altar call for those who wanted to be free, I was the first to come to the altar. ‘’Many pastors were surprised that I answered that altar call but I thank God I did. ‘’The victory the Lord gave me that day is so overwhelming that the sun of righteousness has been shinning brighter through me ever since. Some people out of shyness lose great opportunities to be free. ‘’If you know the joy of being free, you will not lose it for any reason including shyness”.
In closing, I pray that God Almighty may give us all the grace, strength, and courage to perform our roles satisfactorily, so that we could ultimately make heaven, that is the last point of our journeys. It shall be well with all of us in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.