Leadership Lessons from Abraham

As most pastors, I am constantly thinking about leadership. I want to be a better leader. I need to learn to be a better leader. The Bible is a great resource for leadership.

Abraham’s story begins in Genesis 12. As I have often said about his call, God told him to “Get up and go,” and Abraham got up and went. Though Abraham is a great example to us about following, he struggled sometimes to follow. He faced challenges to his call. By the end of Abraham’s life, we see a completed picture of his faith.

From Abraham’s life, I note at least these four leadership lessons.

1. If you are going to lead, you must first learn faith.

Leading is hard. As is often remarked, if you want to make everyone happy, go sell ice-cream. If you want to lead, expect to have some hard days where few people are happy with you. For these hard days, you need faith in God.

2. If you are going to lead, you must first lead yourself.

The hardest person to lead may be staring at you in the mirror. However, you will never lead people if you cannot learn to lead yourself.

3. If you are going to lead, you must first lead small groups of people. Sometimes that small group is your family.

This sounds so simple doesn’t it? When Abraham left to go to the land that God was showing him, his family had to go. John Maxwell says it like this: “If you are a leader, every once in a while, you need to turn around and see if anyone is actually following. If no one is following, you are not really leading. You are just taking a walk by yourself.”

4. If you are going to lead, you must accept the consequences of your leadership, both good and bad.

Sometimes Abraham led poorly. He lied about his wife when they went to Egypt. He led terribly when Sarah convinced him to have a child through Hagar. Leaders have to accept that their leadership bears consequences for those whom they are leading.

What can you do today to be a better leader?