(This blog post was written by the outrageously brilliant Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa will actually be coming to speak at The Most Excellent Way to Lead Conference to talk more about leadership by love on March 3rd, here at NewSpring Church in Anderson!! You can find out more info about that event right HERE. This post from Lysa about leadership and gossip is FIRE! Check it out...)
I’ve been studying a lot about leadership lately. What works. What doesn’t. What the Bible highlights as important for leaders to know.
And it’s not just helping me in my ministry leadership role.
It’s helping me in every role. Because honestly, most of us have influence in some sphere of our life. When we influence, we lead. And when we lead, we have a great responsibility to grow.
We can’t lead others further than we’ve grown ourselves.
Stunt our growth, and we stunt our leadership.
One of my favorite leaders to study in the Bible is Paul. Recently, I was reading the letters Paul wrote to a young man he was leading named Timothy. And I came across a section in 2 Timothy chapter two entitled, “A workman approved by God.”
I thought, this is going to be a great leadership section! Whatever Paul is about to write here is going to be pure gold. I want to know how Paul defined a workman approved by God.
Paul could have focused on many things for this section. If I was writing this section of the Bible, I would have said a good leader should be:
But that’s not what Paul said.
As I kept reading, I was surprised by the main topic discussed under this section.
It was on one thing we must avoid as leaders… godless chatter. Quarrels. Foolish arguments that lead to resentment. Gossip.
In other words, we must watch our words. And not just watch them, control them.
We honor God when we honor each other.
Leaders must recognize what can happen when we misuse words OR allow an environment to develop where words are used the wrong way.
The progression of warnings in this section is haltingly strong:
verse 14: “Quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.”
verse 16: “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”
verse 17: “Their (those that participate in godless chatter and the mishandling of words) teaching will spread like gangrene.”
The warnings continue all the way to verse 26 where we learn that it is crucial for those who are stirring up all this junk, to repent in hopes that “they will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
The devil has a will. And he looking to recruit and ensnare people to participate in his will who refuse to stop joining in with the godless chatter.
The words we speak and think matter. Sometimes we’re smiling on the outside while screaming on the inside… and think that’s more Christian.
But both external godless chatter and internal godless chatter are dangerous. It will corrupt our organizations. Our families. Our friendships. And eat us alive from the inside out.
So, what should be the foundation of the words of a leader?
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal," (1 Corinthians 13).
That's why I'm so thankful Perry has written an entire book to help us speak, influence, and lead from a foundation of love.
There is no greater accomplishment that I can think of as I lead than to have those I influence say, "She led with love." And in that we not only honor Jesus but we will be more effective in leading others to Him.