I have learnt a lot from other people and I’m sure you can relate to me. You can especially learn a whole lot when you start asking questions. Questions can tend to open up your mind to a different dimension. It’s with this in mind, I’ve decided to do a Q&A blog, to learn myself and share it with you.
I usually write on different topics on the Christian faith. This time, I thought of doing something different. One of the topics of great interest to me is Leadership. Not just in the secular world, but also the Christian point of view (Kindom Leadership). I do not have the expertise nor experience to give a detailed insight into the topic. Wouldn’t it be great if we could hear from someone that’s been there, done that and still doing it?
Well, in this blog, I had the absolute privilege to interview Dr James Chacko, who is also a friend of the family and my distant uncle. Dr James is a full-time minister who has over 30 years of experience. He currently serves as the President and Lead Pastor of LifeBridge Ministries, Chandigarh and the field director of Global Advance for South Asia.
I had a set of questions to ask on leadership. You will find both practical and insights from God’s Word. Here is his response…
Q&A with Dr James…
[Start of interview]
What does leadership mean to you?
There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to define it. Within the academic world, there are over 850 definitions of leadership. I believe that leadership in the Christian sense of the word, is one’s ability to influence God’s people towards fulfilling their God-given purpose. A Christian leader shares many of the same attributes as a secular leader. That being said, there are tremendous differences as well. A spiritual leader is concerned about finding God‘s will and moving people towards it. He searches for God‘s will in his life and in those he leads. Christian leadership captures the critical component of motivating others towards a Christ-centred goal. Raising awareness of a different set of values, looking beyond our own self-interests, encouraging others to do more than they are required to do are at the heart of being a Christian leader.
Without a doubt, the Scriptures teach that Jesus was a servant (Mark 10:45). As a result, the highest goal of leadership is learning to follow Christ ultimately. In doing so, one becomes a leader by obeying God. A yielded leader embodies our Lord, the true leader of the Church.
How do you balance your role between being a leader of a community and leading yourself?
I believe that a leader must lead himself first before he/she can lead a community. It is to this end, Jesus before giving them the mandate to go and conquer the world, said, “come follow me.” And so, before we respond to the call to “go”, we must respond to the call to “come”. If leadership is all about moving people to fulfil God’s agenda, then the leader must follow the example of Jesus’ absolute obedience to the Father’s will.
“Leadership is not found in methods but finding where God is and joining Him in His plan for our lives.”
Once we understand the plan and purpose of God in our own life, we are then positioned by God to believe Him to do what He says, be able to do and understand His plan and move His people to it. Leading oneself in this context would then absolutely dependent on that personal relationship with Christ and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in how God wants you to lead a community. I agree with what John Maxwell calls “the Law of the Lid.” At its essence, that law says the community you lead is only as good as your own ability to lead yourself first.
To lead myself well, I make every effort to learn from my own mistakes and mistakes of others. These life lessons are priceless, and no university books can ever teach us as more. I also invest time to get ongoing coaching and mentoring from high impact godly leaders. I submit myself to their authority to ask tough questions and they help me understand where I am failing in my personal life. If not for my such personal mentors I would have fallen victim to my inability to lead myself in my early 40’s. I thank God for those who have helped me open my eyes to my own blind spots and get me back on my track to lead my own life better first.
“Daily personal time with God is an integral part of leading oneself.”
The day we cannot lead our own life in the will of God, we must retreat to retrospect and be restored before leading others. A leader who cannot lead oneself will grow complacent, dull, set in his own ways and do not achieve his full potential in God.
Talk to us about discipline and the steps you take to make yourself a better leader…
I believe that our sonship in Christ is like a coin with two sides, one side I call delight and the other discipline. We all like delight but by nature we detest discipline. As the Principal of a leading theological Seminary several years ago, I told my students at the beginning of the year that the “rule book” can be your best friend if you take delight in obeying it. Similarly, I have found that over the years, when I am willing to do the right things as a leader, I need not worry about being disciplined as a leader.
One of the biggest diseases today among leaders is called AIDS – Acquired Integrity Deficiency Syndrome. To stay clear of this disease, I have to stay away from temptations and desires of the flesh. As Paul says, one must deny the flesh its desires. I have learned that through this personal discipline we can have a new and improved value that can have a profound life-changing effect on how we think, behave, work and live differently. It is this difference that draws others to follow you, make you a better leader. Being accountable to my wife and my spiritual mentors is an important discipline for me. Another important discipline I felt necessary is to keep my spiritual passion at boiling point. This is achievable by maintaining a personal relationship with Christ on a daily basis through prayer and reading the Word.
In order to improve my leadership skills, I am always looking to improve my work ethic and the level of excellence in which I do things for God.
Greatest Challenge you face as a leader today?
I think the greatest challenge I face today is from within and myself more than external factors. The devil is out there to steal, kill and destroy what God wants to do through us for His glory. Maintaining integrity, ensuring to be a good father, a good husband and remain consistently as a role model to others are challenges as one grows to a position of power and influence. I am constantly aware of the people that look up to me and trust me for spiritual guidance and nurture. Keeping myself charged fully at all times and being available to people and their needs is a constant challenge. It is also a challenge to make sacrifices to personal comforts, privacy, and personal space to self.
What would you say to Young Leaders Today?
I would say to you today that you are the last lap runners for the Lord and His Kingdom on earth. You are positioned by God for such a time as this to finish the purposes of God on this earth. You are given unprecedented opportunities, gifts, talents and resources that only a handful of people in the past were given. You are positioned by God for such a time as this for the crisis and famine that our nations experience today! I would encourage you to make the best of these young days to glean, learn and grow as the leader he is positioning you on purpose.
As prophet Habakkuk responded to the crisis of His day, “take your post; position yourself and keep watch to see what the Lord will say to you” (Hab. 2:1).
If ever there was a time in human history where there was a need for godly Christian leadership be in government, politics, entertainment, business, family, media, spirituality, I believe that time is now. We are given a clear mandate from Genesis 1 to subdue the earth. This dominion mandate to steward all things for God’s glory is still in effect and it applies to your role in the above said seven mountains of the society through your leadership influence. In Matthew 28:18 – 20, we are also commanded to make disciples of all nations.
Let me close my words echoing the words of A.W. Tozer, “It is not WHAT a man does but WHY he does it that makes his work secular or sacred.”
[End of interview]
I hope you’ve been blessed by the insights shared here. I want to thank Dr James for giving me his time. He is passionate for God’s kingdom and believes in the next generation. My greatest desire is that we would advance to all that God has for us in this generation. If you are a young person/leader reading this, I pray that you would be encouraged to lead and steward what God has for you at such a time as this.
Feel free to share this with friends and family. Don’t forget to leave a comment below. Do read my other posts on the PivotPost blog page.
– Sam D. Mathews