You are a leader if there is anyone in your life who’s decisions are impacted by your decisions. Most people are leaders to some degree.
Assume you are a leader. Assume that there are people in your life who watch you, follow you, and take cues from you in their decision-making. The question is not, “Am I a leader?” The question is, “What sort of leader am I?”
I suggest, along with Henri Nouwen, that leaders need not offer solutions for those who follow them. Rather, a good leader will “be completely irrelevant and stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.”
I don’t want to be the sort of leader who people come to because they believe I will have the solutions to their problems. I want to be the sort of leader people come to because they know that in my presence they will experience the presence of Jesus. They know that I will hear them, pray for them, and walk alongside them as they rejoice or as they weep.
There is one main difference between a leader who is being led by Jesus, and a leader who is not. The difference is the presence of the living God. This is what will make an impact. Not strategy (although strategy is important), not your experience (although experience helps), not even your gifts or talents (although leaders should lead from their strengths). The biggest impact you will have as a leader is the presence of Jesus, and the availability of yourself to those you lead.
This does not necessarily mean spending lots of time with any single person. It just means that you will be fully present in the moments you have with each person you lead. They need to know that you are with them, listening, praying, caring and supporting them.
If we are to make a real impact, and offer the true gospel to those in our communities, the most important gift we can give them is not solutions to their problems, but the presence of self and of Jesus.