What occurred to me most strongly, was the fact that all of the people who have influenced my life positively, have done so through their imperfections, and not in spite of their imperfections. It was their imperfection that showed me that being a Christian was not a surface matter, it was something I would need to work at and grow in, every day of my life. They used their imperfections to help me understand grace. They were open and honest with me about their sinfulness and their deep need for Jesus every day - some of them shared that in words, and some through their lives and actions. None of them were or are perfect. They all have their own faults, flaws, insecurities and problems. But that never stopped them from helping me to grow in Christ. Rather it pushed me to grow in Christ.
Nothing speaks to me as loudly as a person who is BRUTALLY HONEST - not with their words..But with their lives. You know the kind of person - the type who will happily show you their flaws because they know it highlights Gods grace, mercy and goodness! And never have I looked at a person like that and thought...'yeah, they're messed up, I don't want them leading me in my walk with God' - On the contrary - it makes me want to be around them more...it makes me want to learn to be as transparent with my inadequacies. To be able to meet with a person and know that they have struggles just like you do, that they fail often - just like you do...and to know as well that they keep persevering, always striving to grow and change in Him. To be invited into such a persons life is a privilege and honour. And I feel so blessed as I can think of 8 wonderful Godly women who over the course of my life, have opened the hearts and homes to me, and shared their messy lives, and their love with me, in an attempt to help me in my walk.
Thinking on all these imperfect people who influenced me positively made me less worried about whether I was cut out to lead/mentor younger girls. I have realised that God uses us WITH our imperfections, not IN SPITE of our imperfections. So having my worry of that out the way, I then set out to find out what a leader should look like biblically, (by leader, I mean anyone wishing to shine Jesus into the lives of others, and help them grow in their relationship with Him.) I found this:
Firstly, God specifically used the obviously imperfect to lead.... Gideon, Moses, David, Jonah......Samson... well, the list goes on... Paul/Saul, Peter.... Actually, is there anyone that God used that didn't have some obvious shortfall? Whether it be anger, lust, physical disability or fear? Did their shortfalls prevent them from pointing others to Jesus...NO!
So what made these people good leaders? OBEDIENCE, (even reluctantly in some cases!)
Secondly, Jesus is the ultimate example... and He did not fit the bill when it came to the Pharisees and religious leaders - in fact He angered them because He was so opposite to them...He shattered all their theories of what a leader was. They wore the right clothes, spoke to only 'worthy' people, they judged on outward appearance, and they were legalistic in their 'relationship' with God! - But Jesus, He was different. He didn't dress well, He spoke to prostitutes, the demon possessed, murderers and frauds. He didnt judge people by their outward appearance, but instead looked to their heart attitudes. And he was anything but legalistic, He healed on the Sabbath and touched the unclean - rather than leading by legalism, he led with an attitude of grace and mercy.
So what makes us good leaders? BEING CHRISTLIKE!
Philippians 2:1-8: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Thirdly, I read several passages on leading, and most seemed to simply come down to two things. LOVE and LIVING BY EXAMPLE. I firmly believe the 'living by example' thing often gets taken to the extreme where people think it means that we should appear to be perfect in front of others. Well, I don't know about you, but people who appear to be perfect don't help me to grow, they intimidate me. Real people help me to grow, and I think living by example is simply showing others that you are striving to be Christlike. Aiming to live a life that glorifies Him, and not being ashamed when you mess up, but instead openly using that to show how merciful He is!
Lastly.. PASSION. Nothing shines like a person ON FIRE! Is your passion contagious. Does is rub off on the people you are mentoring, leading, discipling? I mean the kind of passion that says 'For me to live is Christ, to die is gain' Phil 1:21, - Will you spend and be spent, as said in 2 Cor 12:15? - I think this is one outstanding thing I noticed about the people who led me in my walk - they all are so excited about God. They are excited about growing and changing and are passionated and on fire for Him.
So are we unfit to lead? If we have OBEDIENCE, if we are striving to be CHRISTLIKE, if we have LOVE toward the people we hope to help grow, if we can LIVE BY EXAMPLE (by showing that we are trying to grow and change daily), and if we have a PASSION for Christ, and we want to see others develop a passion too.... Then, we have all that it takes to be an encouragement to other young Christians. Never underestimate the impact you can have when you are living out a raw, open and honest, walk with God.
God is not limited by our imperfections.