As a leader, do you know how to guide through transition? Life is filled with many places and changes that we will encounter in our lifetime, and as the head of a team or a community, we must understand and know how to lead well through the shifting of growth. In fact, Joshua was an exemplary example of what transitional leadership entails, and here is what we can learn from him.
I.Leaders Take the Whole Team (vs. 1-2)
“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them – the children of Israel.”
Joshua 1:1, NKJV
As we lead, we must move in a posture that desires to encompass each and every person. No one gets left behind! In leadership, we may encounter those with the harsh attitude and mindset that if someone doesn’t want to go, we leave them behind. This way of thinking couldn’t be further from the heart of God! We are breathing and living proof that His desire is for everyone to be included. The same measure that He shows us is the same measure we pour out to others; we must do whatever it takes to bring everyone with us! So what do you do when someone doesn’t choose to follow or agree with the direction God is moving in? Simply put, you remember that the free will of their decision is not based on you.
In my earlier days as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, God began leading us in the direction of moving to our current location. Did you know that not everyone wanted or supported the decision of our new building, so not everyone moved with us? As a matter of fact, I had numerous people tell me they wouldn’t shift to the new location because they felt the anointing was on the old building! But I know that God doesn’t anoint buildings; He anoints people. And so, even still, I remembered to treat them with honor, love, and respect in their decision, and, eventually, in their own timing, they joined us where we are now. My challenge to you as a leader is to remember those you lead. And regardless of where God is calling you and those under your leadership, you would have the desire to take everyone with you without prejudice, and you would always listen and heed His command.
II.Leaders Are Submitted to Their Leader (vs. 10-11, 16-17)
“Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, ‘Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, “Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”’
So they answered Joshua, saying, ‘All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the Lord your God be with you, as He was with Moses.’”
Joshua 1:10-11, 16-17, NKJV
Good leaders have an attitude of submission to their leader. It is impossible to have a movement where God can freely flow and function, proving miraculous power, if everyone is leading everyone else in their desired direction. When leaders submit to their superiors, it creates and fosters an atmosphere for one vision, one voice, one direction, one anointing, and one goal. But to operate effectively in this manner, we all must be on the same page. When I first became the pastor of FBCG, one of the first things I did was teach the congregation how to manage their finances. Would you believe that on a Sunday morning, as I was teaching the Biblical vision for tithing, one of the Sunday School teachers was teaching the opposite, saying that tithing wasn’t for today?
Houston, we have a problem.
If you are a leader of your church and you can’t agree with the direction your pastor is going in, you need to find a church where you can follow the head of your congregation. Because the truth is, every leader must be willing to be submitted to their leader! (And their leader should have leaders.) Pastors are the heads of our churches for a reason. They seek God, wrestle with Him, and are convicted by the Lord’s revelation to lead His house and congregation. There is much risk when shepherding a flock: saving souls, putting families back together, and helping God’s people walk in discipleship, to name a few! Leaders, you are anointed for a reason. And your leaders are in the position they are in because God has appointed them there. As you lead God’s flock, you are commissioned to lead through submission to those above you and the Lord.
III.Leader Are Committed to the Vision (vs. 16-18)
“So they answered Joshua, saying, ‘All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the Lord your God be with you, as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage.’”
Joshua 1: 16-18, NKJV
Those in leadership must be committed to the vision. For without it comes fruitlessness. At FBCG, our vision is “developing dynamic disciples through discipleship, discipline, and duplication.” Our mission as a church, and in all that we do, is about helping people find the salvation that Jesus gives and offering development resources so that they can become the person God wants them to be! We are sold and committed to Jesus and this mission. But, can you imagine being so committed to a vision that you were resolute on killing whoever wasn’t on board? Unfortunately, the leaders in Joshua 1 were just that! Now, I’m not encouraging you to take such drastic measures as these, but I am challenging you not to let anyone defer you from your assignment or the direction God is leading your church by way of dedicated leadership. I encourage you to evaluate your life and the work you are doing. If it does not align with the vision of heaven, shut it down. Leaders, we can only do what we are called to do as His church body, and we can only accomplish the things of heaven If we submit to our leaders, God being the head of it all. The church is not a one-man show. It is not about you, and it is not about me. Instead, leadership is about Christ and His kingdom and helping God to carry out the calling of disciplining people. So will you be committed to leading well as God transitions heaven on earth?