When he closed his prayer, Joe immediately spoke up, “What we want them (church congregation) to do, we must first lead by example. They must see, hear, and know that each one of us is already actively involved in building relationships with unchurched people. Training and equipping them is one thing, but the practical demonstration is a whole new dimension.”

Leading by example is not a new concept. It has been around for centuries. It was certainly a major concept of Jesus’ ministry and His leadership. Before he asked His Disciples to conduct any type of ministry, Jesus, Himself had demonstrated it in front of His Disciples, usually more than once. Before He set them free to lead the New Testament Church, He spent 3 ½ years demonstrating before their very eyes, the leadership needed. His daily walk was an equipping exercise in leadership for His Disciples. Jesus is our Supreme model for leading by example.

In the church and in the corporate business world, however, we oftentimes fall short. We may lead by example in certain areas of responsibility. But those portions we are uncomfortable with or that we feel we do not have time for, are often dropped. And in most of those areas, we do not realize that we are not leading as we should. We are in fact, leading in those areas. Though we are not leading appropriately. We are not leading as we should. The example we are demonstrating is certainly not what it should be.

What gets emphasized gets recognized, and what gets recognized gets emphasized. You can talk about what people should be doing until you are blue in the face (as the old saying goes), but if it is not recognizable in your life, others will not apply it in their lives. On the other hand, if some particular trait is evidenced in the way you live, it will be recognized because your actions continually emphasize what is important to you.

Pastor, if you want people to build relationships outside the church, with unchurched people, that trait needs to be recognized in your life, as an ongoing trait lived out by you regularly. Bottom line, if we want others to do or act a particular way, we must be willing to get right down in the trenches (as muddy as they may be) with our team, our congregation, not pushing, but leading them by our own example, leading the change.

The first paragraph of this article was taken from chapter 12 of Turnaround Journey.

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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