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Making of a Leader


Christian Writing MInistryI recently read the book 12 Ordinary Men and I especially liked the chapter on Peter. From the life of Peter, we can learn what God looks for and how He creates leaders. In this chapter I learned some things about myself.


These are things that God has put in you in your mother’s womb. You cannot get these things from training.

1) Inquisitiveness: Someone who asks a lot of questions. Curiosity is crucial to leadership. People who are content with what they don’t know, happy to remain ignorant about what they don’t understand, complacent about what they haven’t analyzed and comfortable living with problems they haven’t solved – such people cannot lead.

2) Initiative: Drive, ambition and energy, someone who makes things happen. This person is a starter. It is hard to try to motivate someone who is always passive and hesitant. It is much easier to tone down a fanatic than to resurrect a corpse. Some people have to be dragged tediously in any forward direction. Not Peter. He always wanted to move ahead, to understand what he didn’t understand. I think of this as someone who is self-motivated.

3) Involvement: True leaders are always in the middle of the action. A true leader goes through life with a cloud of dust around him. These leaders go where the action is, they are not content to sit on the sidelines and tell everyone else what to do.


By life experiences Christ refines us into leaders. True leaders are made, not just born. Experience can be a hard teacher. The Lord dragged Peter through three years of tests and difficulties that gave him a lifetime of the kind of experiences every true leader must endure. These experiences, even the difficult ones were all necessary to shape Peter into the man he needed to become.

Some of the lessons that Peter learned were: crushing defeat and deep humiliation often follow hard on the heels of our greatest victories. (Peter got commended by Jesus for his great confession of “You are the Christ the Son of God”, right after that – Peter got rebuked by Jesus “Get behind me Satan…”) Peter had just learned that God would reveal truth to him and guide his speech as he submitted his mind to the truth. He wasn’t dependent upon a human message. The message he was to proclaim was given to him by God. He would also be given the keys to the kingdom-meaning that his life and message would be the unlocking of the kingdom of God for the salvation of many. Peter fell victim to Satan the night he denied Jesus 3 times. Satan was sifting him as wheat and Peter was learning just how much chaff and how little substance he had in him. He learned how watchful and careful he must be to rely on only the Lord’s strength. He learned that in spite of his own sinful tendencies and spiritual weaknesses, the Lord wanted to use him and would sustain him and preserve him no matter what.
I’ve learned much, but do I apply it? Peter learned the first time he was presented with the issue, he learned in 3 years—I took 30.

Character is what makes leadership possible. In spiritual leadership the great goal and objective is to bring people to Christ-likeness. The leader himself must manifest Christ-like character. God’s been working with me on this one.

Leaders must be in submission to God and to any higher earthly authority placed above them.
Jesus modeled this by paying temple taxes when he really didn’t need to because he was the son of the God worshipped in the temple. Just as the king’s sons didn’t pay regular taxes.

Self-control, discipline, moderation and reserve don’t necessarily come naturally to someone who lives life at the head of the pack. We need to learn these and also to curb anger and out of control passions.

People in leadership tend to think more highly of themselves than they ought. Stay out of pride. A true leader loves and serves those he leads. Leaders tend to see people as a means to their end. Leaders are usually task oriented rather than people oriented. They often use people or plow over them in order to achieve their goals or their agenda, plan for the day, week, year or life.

With compassion we are equipped to strengthen the brethren. Leaders tend to be short on compassion, lousy comforters and impatient with others. They don’t stop very long to care for the wounded as they pursue their goals. After being sifted by Satan, Peter was well equipped to empathize with others’ weaknesses. He could strengthen others in their ordeals.

Not the impetuous false kind of courage that caused him to swing his sword so wildly to cut off the man’s ear in the garden, but the kind of courage that is mature, settled, intrepid willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake. Lies are set against the truth. Satan is set against God. And demons are set against the holy purposes of Christ. Peter would face difficulty wherever he went.

Peter was not perfect, long after he learned these lessons and was “the rock” of the church, preaching, leading and bringing people the message of salvation with courage and insight, he still goofed up. Paul had to correct him in the presence of everybody when Peter left the Gentiles to eat with the false teachers. (Galatians 2:11-14) BUT…to Peter’s credit, he responded to Paul’s correction. When the error of the Judaizers was finally confronted at the full council of church leaders and apostles in Jerusalem, it was Peter who spoke up first in defense of the gospel of divine grace. He introduced the argument that won the day.

Reading through these I realize how far I have to go. But, I also realize how many of these traits I have; I just have to keep focused and allow God to mold, shape and grow things in me.  It’s a life long journey. None of us will be perfected until we reach heaven.

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