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  • Writer's pictureMark Alan Williams

How Reluctant Leaders Become Confident Achievers For God

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Our culture in the USA honors bold, confident, even brash leaders. But God doesn’t always work through leaders like that. He often uses the reluctant, quiet, humble people. I for one am glad of that, since I haven’t always fit the cultural ideal for a leader. Perhaps you can relate.

The stories of some of the greatest leaders in the Bible are almost comical in their lack of confidence. God called Moses by name in a burning bush. He promised a land flowing with milk and honey and clearly commissioned him (Exodus 3:10).

What was Moses’ response? “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 GW)

God asserted His authority and identity by saying, “I AM that I AM.” (Exodus 3:14) But Moses wasn’t satisfied.

When God validated His message to Moses by miracles, Moses thought up yet another excuse: “Please Lord, I’m not a good speaker; I speak slowly, and I become tongue-tied easily.” (Exodus 4:10 GW)

Wow! Reminds me of me—I told at least one friend I would not go into full-time ministry because I couldn’t imagine being a speaker. God has sure changed that.

Gideon was another reluctant leader. When the Lord told him that he would rescue Israel, he replied, “Excuse me, sir! How can I rescue Israel? Look at my whole family. It’s the weakest one in Manasseh. And me? I’m the least important member of my family.” (Judges 6:15 GW)

Then he demanded a sign which the Lord graciously granted. Later he again asked for another sign: a wet then a dry fleece test. (See Judges 6)

The Apostle Paul was not the team leader at first when he and Barnabas left Antioch, witnessed by Barnabas’ name being first. It took time for his leadership to manifest (see Acts 13). 

By contrast, the Apostle John mentioned someone overly eager to lead, named Diotrephes“who loves to be in charge” and was causing problems in the church (see 3 John 9, 10).

Are you a reluctant leader? You’re in great company. Be encouraged. God loves to turn the meek into the mighty. 

Here are some action steps you can take to enable God to change you from meek to mighty—how reluctant leaders become confident achievers:

01. Reject notions of perfection

A big inhibitor to serving God is our past sins and indiscretions. We think we can’t serve God because we haven’t been good enough.

But do you realize that God delights in using flawed, imperfect people?

Two of the examples above whom God used immensely were actually murderers: Moses and the Apostle Paul! 

Sin doesn’t get much worse than murdering—yet major portions of Scripture were written by three murderers: Moses, the Apostle Paul and King David.

Remember the words of Paul, “Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 GW)

02. Lean into God’s Power

Remember it’s not about your abilities but God’s empowering

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

You are not in it alone—God has sent his Holy Spirit to guide, empower, teach and strengthen you.

It’s not about you—ministry success comes from God’s power in us. 

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV)

When we start to think it is about us, we need to back away. Yes, we must work diligently… but in the final analysis, we trust the Lord.

Unless the Lord builds the house,

    those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city,

    the watchman stays awake in vain.”

(Psalm 127:1 ESV)

I shudder to think where I would be without the empowering of God. Not only would I not be a Christian leader, I believe I would probably do some terrible things. I’m serious—check out one small example HERE.

In fact, if we think we are “good enough” we should probably reconsider our call. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)

03. Don’t fight it, pray and accept God’s call

How do reluctant leaders become confident achievers? They respond to God’s call despite their feelings.

What do you feel inclined to do for God?:

  • Teach a class?

  • Start a ministry?

  • Go on a missionary trip?

  • Build an online ministry?

  • Begin a community action ministry?

  • Go into full-time ministry?

  • Plant a church?

Whatever you feel your heart tugging to do, instead of sloughing it off, move in the direction of the call.

The old saying is so true: “God can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving.”

Stop fighting the call and start moving.

Isaiah is another who felt totally inadequate. He wrote: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5 ESV)

But feeling inadequate didn’t stop Isaiah from moving ahead for God. A few moments later he moved ahead despite his feelings of inadequacy and reluctance, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 ESV)

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