by Tom Harper
“I’ve been a follower long enough – I want to be a leader!”
This was how I felt for many of my early working years. I remember as an advertising sales rep always striving to perform so I could become a manager. I proudly let my colleagues know the trajectory I was on.
Have you always aspired to lead, too?
Ambition is not necessarily a bad thing unless it stems from pride and ego. When a “call” emanates in our hearts without an affirmation from the Lord, it’s simply a personal aspiration. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Pr. 19:21).
Our plans are futile without him. It took me a while to fully realize this truth. Slowly, through painful circumstances over more than a decade, the Lord broke me and molded me into someone a little more useful to him.
A few years later I finally understood what a disciple was. I had been humbled and held back from a new level of leadership until I was spiritually ready – and I thank God for that delay! Dreams and aspirations can be dangerous things.
I had learned that a disciple is first a follower who at times must step up and lead. This requires bold action, wise humility, and patient faith. When one of these legs of the stool – boldness, humility or faith – is weaker than the others, we get off balance and our leadership falters.
For the past 15 or so years a desire to learn and teach biblical leadership has grown in me. During that time I’ve worked with pastors, church consultants, seminary professors and denominational leaders on projects centering on ministry leadership.
I helped build ChurchCentral.com, cofounded the Society for Church Consulting, and read a ton of church leadership books. I also wrote Career Crossover: Leaving the Marketplace for Ministry and Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H).
These books, experiences and many hard lessons have brought me to a new place in my career.
My personal vision
These days I feel passionate about bringing biblical principles into all areas of leadership, not just to the church. Biblical concepts work just as well in business, education, non-profit, sports and government – anywhere there are leaders.
The problem I see, however, is biblical principles are severely lacking in all these places, including the church.
So what to do about it?
I feel God has been prompting me to spread the Word. Most people look at the Bible as a source of spiritual truths, but they fail to realize how practical it is for wise living in the everyday world. They look elsewhere for more “practical” leadership guidance, missing the treasure trove right in front of them.
The Bible has much to say about leadership. If you read it through this lens, you’ll encounter exciting concepts, truisms and promises that could revolutionize your life.
Wherever we lead – whether as a parent, teacher, manager or coach – we’re missing our true potential if we don’t incorporate these rich leadership teachings.
This website is all about applying God’s Word to our leadership so we can boldly accomplish his will in the world.
BiblicalLeadership.com is a work in progress, just like I am, just like you are. I need regular reminders from Scripture on how to deal with people – how to manage conflict, protect from folly, what to say in challenging situations.
I’ve read through the Bible a few times looking only for leadership verses. Once, over a four-year period, I tweeted just about every verse I found (see @leadershipverse).
Habitually reading the Bible has changed my life. I know it will change yours, too!
Will you join me and thousands of other leaders in this personal transformation? It is a process, a journey, an endless adventure.
It’s not easy.
But it promises great reward, true success, and a life well-lived.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Tom Harper is publisher of BiblicalLeadership.com and CEO of
Networld Media Group, based in Louisville, Ky. He is married with
three children and attends Southeast Christian Church.
He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and as a contributor on this site.