This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Video YouTube channel.
Have you ever wondered what gets in the way of leaders leading courageously for Christ? What prevents them from “going for it” for God? One answer is fear. Maybe leaders don’t lead confidently or boldly for God because fear swallows their courage, devours their boldness and keeps God’s best from their lives. There are three fears leaders must face if they want to see God work in a powerful way in and through their life.
The Fear of Failure
I don’t know if any one thing keeps more leaders from winning than the fear of losing. Most leaders have to the ability, skill and heart to lead, but the crippling fear of failure paralyzes from being all that God created them to be.
Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God’s answer to fear is to remind us that he is with us, therefore we can led with strength and courage.
The Fear of Losing Status and Recognition
Sadly, some leaders use ministry to improve their status and recognition in their community. Ministry become a platform to gain attention. Some leaders get worried that if they speak the truth of God’s Word they might lose some of that attention they crave.
Matthew 6:5 When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
Jesus rejects this kind of attention seeking that uses ministry as a platform to seek status and recognition.
John 3:30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
When you understand it’s about Christ and for Christ and it is not about you and your position in the world, you can live boldly for Christ-live courageously for the Lord.
The Fear of Losing Power
When a leader becomes preoccupied with the pursuit of power that leader is not in good shape spiritually. Some signs that a leader has a serious power problem are:
- The fear of losing power severely threatens the leader
- The leader’s unwillingness to share power and empower others
- The leader is in constant power struggles with others
- Church ministry becomes a battleground instead of a training ground
Mark 10:42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.”
Jesus rejects and rebukes leaders who use power to dominate and control people. He goes on to say that the kind of leader he is looking for uses his/her power to be a servant. Jesus is the powerful one, not us. We have no real power on our own. Our job is to be connected to the Holy Spirit-God’s power in us.
1 Peter 5:3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.
The power of a good example is the kind of leader God is looking for. The leader God uses most is the one who realizes only God has life-transforming power and the best thing we can do is be good examples as servant leaders of Christ.
To one extent or another we all struggle with these fears. Yet we must face and confront our deepest fears, so that we can live boldly and confidently for Christ.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Of the three fears listed, which fear grips you the most and why?
- Why do you think the fear of failure is so strong in the lives of God’s leaders?
- What was God trying to communicate in Joshua 1:9?
- In what ways do you think leaders use ministry to get attention?
- Why do you think Jesus was so upset at these attention seeking leaders in Matthew 6:5?
- Read John 3:30 and share what you think this verse is trying to communicate.
- Why do you think the power of a good example is the kind of leader God is looking for?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.