This week marks the launch of our fall semester at William Jessup. Our campus bubbles with nervous energy and anticipation for new classes, relationships, opportunities and challenges. I’ve long believed that beginnings and endings hold high importance.
What impressions will I leave with my new students? Will I motivate them to hunger for learning and knowing God’s voice?
Steven Covey, in his classic leadership book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, urges leaders to “begin with the end in mind.”
Jesus affirms this notion in Luke’s gospel, saying:
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30, NIV)
I ultimately aim to see students transformed by the Spirit of Christ, that they might redeem the world by His power.
A recent sermon from 1 Timothy impressed on my heart three key biblical tenets Christian leaders (or teachers) should employ when facing new beginnings. The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to avoid false doctrines – those seeking to win arguments (vs. people) – those seeking to know the unknowable. Rather, he urged his protégé to teach with the motive of love, “which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:5). Let’s look at these closely.
- Leading from a pure heart – perhaps the pursuit of character is the foremost objective of the leader. It supersedes charisma, formulas, and politics.
- Leading from a clear conscience – leaders must ask whether they are presenting themselves honestly, pursuing self-knowledge, and leading out of obedience.
- Leading from sincere faith – in whom does the leader place his/her trust? Is it in credentials or position? It is God who ultimately “qualifies” us to lead or teach.
Chances are, something new is blooming in your world. How might you apply one of Paul’s exhortations in order to lead well today?
Daniel Gluck serves as Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies at Jessup, and Lead Faculty for the B.A. in Christian Leadership program.