4 vital leadership lessons from Paul's charge to Timothy

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Paul's charge to Timothy in his epistles written to the young pastor is arguably one of the richest literary pieces on leadership ever. It teaches an inexperienced but gifted leader to conduct life, work and relationships, and consequently gives the same charge to us.

Here are four of the richest leadership lessons that we can learn from what Paul taught Timothy.

Live with consistent integrity

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober- minded, self- controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. 

1 Timothy 3:1

Contemporary leadership teaches us that leadership is about building expertise in our work or vocation. Paul teaches Timothy, however, that leadership is not just about being excellent at our jobs, but in every area of our life -- family, relationships and even personal integrity.

Integrity calls that we act, believe and behave with the same excitement, passion and excellence in our homes, in the gym and in the grocery store as we do at work.

Not everyone will agree with you

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.

1 Timothy 4:1

Leadership is not about getting everyone on your boat, but effectively guiding, growing and directing those who are. The same way that Paul taught Timothy that not everyone would agree with him, nothing has changed today.

When one is given a mantle of leadership, there will be opposition, but that isn't reason enough to be disheartened, especially when we must understand that it's normal to face disagreement and friction.

Chase influence, not position

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

Humans have a very ungodly inclination to judge leadership skills based on outward appearance or position. Leadership is not much about titles or position, but about the the grace of God, the character of your heart and the example we set.

We are great leaders not because of the title we hold, but because of the God-given gifts and calling that God sets in us that will translate to speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.

Charge those who are next in line

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

Leaders fail as leaders when they let the buck stop with them. That's why Paul taught Timothy the importance of training the next generation of leaders. The day we work ourselves out of a job is the day we establish our positions as leaders.