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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

03 Oct '13

Leaders and their relationships

Posted by T.J. Addington in leaders, relationships
In many ways, the quality of our relationships is the acid test of God’s transformative work in our lives. As the Apostle John wrote, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). The same Apostle in His Gospel records Jesus as saying, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me” (John 17:22-23). In other words, people will know we are Christians by our extraordinary and unselfish love for one another.


Transformation of our hearts is directly connected to the transformation of our relationships. It is a full understanding of God’s grace in our lives which becomes the ground for us to extend that grace to others on a regular basis and it is grace that allows us to love and it is love that transforms relationships. When I fully grasp how Christ loved me when I was unlovable, forgave me when I did not deserve forgiveness, is patient with me when I don’t deserve his patience, continues to forgive me when I blow it – when I fully grasp the unconditional love of Christ to me – it is then that I can extend that same love to others. My ability to extend grace to others is directly connected to my understanding of the grace God has extended to me.

Transformed relationships are about treating people as God treats us, seeing them as God sees us – as individuals made in His image and of infinite worth, wanting for them what God would want for them – to reach their full potential - and extending the same value and honor to others that God does to us. While the culture of the world is to use others for our benefit, Christ followers see relationships as an extension of our relationship with Him which always wants the best for others.

This is an especially critical issue for leaders who have authority over others and whose words, actions and decisions impact others. Because leaders have an agenda – and all leaders do and must - and because leaders are result oriented – and good leaders are, there is always the temptation to use people to achieve that agenda rather than to develop a common mission and together get there through serving people and helping them flourish in the role they play.

This is always a balancing act because leadership means that we must achieve results, resources are always in short supply and getting the right people in the right seat on the bus is part of leadership. Relational stewardship in leadership is all about finding the right gifting for positions, building healthy teams and then developing people into the best they can be. Rather than using people, this is all about developing people and helping them become the person God designed them to be.

Leadership is all about relational equity. We regularly make deposits and withdrawals to that equity: Withdrawals when we disempower or in some way break trust and deposits when we treat people well and empower them. Thus transformation of our relationships is a key component not only to the love we are called to live out but to our leadership and the influence we have with others. Without healthy relationships, influence is deeply compromised.