How do you lead those whom God has entrusted you? The answer to this question matters because your followers imitate you. Paul set his leadership as an example for Timothy to follow (2 Timothy 3:10–12). But what shapes leadership? One leader rightly said, “Every leader’s style is a function of personality, training, experience, situation, culture, follower preference, and many other factors.” Leadership does not happen in vacuum. When Christlikeness shapes the life of a leader, it normally turns out to be, at its core, servant-leadership. It aims to invest knowledge, experience, skills, abilities, authority, and certainly character to help others to become more like Christ. The servant-leader’s goal is to serve, not to be served. Warren Wiersbe puts it this way, “Christian leadership is the overflow of a life dedicated to pleasing God and serving others so that we can together accomplish the purposes for which the Lord called us together” (Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Leader for God, p. 18). Timothy was no exception.
Timothy was a servant-leader. He served because deep down in him he desired to serve. His motivation was driven by his love for Christ. Paul wrote this to the Philippian Church about Timothy, “But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:22). Timothy loved Christ and the gospel, and he lived for what he loved. His zeal for ministering to people was remarkable. Paul expressed this in the following words, “for I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for you welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:20-21). What a testimony about Timothy! A servant-leader cares for souls, not for self-accomplishments. He loves Christ and His Church more than anything else, even his own life. Remember that Christ, the Good Shepherd, died for the sheep he loved.
Timothy had some fears. His younger age and the flood of false teaching and teachers probably were the main cause of his fears. For this reason, Paul wrote 2 Timothy to encourage him to stand strong in the faith and do what is right. He exhorted Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:8). He asked him to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1). A servant-leader is commanded to actively cooperate with God, depending on Him, to accomplish the tasks given to him. When a Christian leader experiences fear, he should run to His Rock, Jesus, and find in Him refuge and strength. God allows fears in the leader’s life so that he would draw his boldness from the captain of faith, Jesus. Fear paralyzes but looking at Christ energizes. If God entrusted you people to lead, then lead them well for the glory of God. And as you lead them pray every day to finish well. Press on!
Cherif Arif is originally from Cairo, Egypt. He has a passion for teaching and preaching the Bible. He is involved in equipping pastors and leaders in the Middle East.