Everybody's a leader these days. On social media, where "leadership gurus" abound, you simply say you're a leader—you don't have to actually ever lead anyone. It's safe to say the world views leadership differently than the Christian. I hope the Christian views leadership differently than the world.
In this post, I want to cover what we call in our Manhood Journey guides, The "3 P's of Leadership":
1. Power (what it is and how to use it)
2. Proverbs (how to use this Book of the Bible to make wise decisions)
These three things are the building blocks of leadership. I think true influence may never take place if we're not careful how we handle power, the Bible and prayer.
If you want to intentionally disciple your son, you need to understand the three "P's" of leadership. Let's get at it!
The position of President of the United States is one of the most powerful roles in the world. President Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
The First "P" of Leadership: Power
The world tends to define power as telling others what to do, being in a position of authority, or trying to get people to do what you want.
What does the Bible say about power? Power in Scripture is not one dimensional. Power can come from our words and by gaining wisdom.
Words are power > Godly husbands and fathers understand the power of words. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” You have an effect on your family with words of love, hate, tearing down or building up. Just try saying the right thing with the wrong tone in your house and demonstrate the importance of words! : )
Wisdom is power > Ecclesiastes 7:19 says, “Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” Basically, wisdom can give you more power than a king.
Power is not simply one-dimensional. It means many different things. One way to be a leader is to be an expert in an area. I'm not super sure what the formula for wisdom is, but I know it has something to do with education, actual experience and humility in a subject matter.
Think about it:
- Who are the best doctors? (The ones who know the most about their field of medicine, surgery, etc, and have practiced for years)
- Who are the best policemen? (The ones who know the most about the law, self-defense, firearms, etc.; the ones who have studied and excelled in all areas of police work; plus they have learned from experience.)
- Who are the best teachers? (People who know their subjects well and who know how to teach.)
The best of the above examples, if asked, will tell you they are constantly learning—because they don't know everything! How can you be an expert at biblical leadership? By knowing what the Bible says, and doing what it says. There's an implied activity and consistency.
Protip: Ask your son who his favorite teacher is and then talk about why in light of the above section.
The Second "P" of Leadership: Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs is one of the most practical books in the Bible on how to apply God’s wisdom in our lives. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
This isn't a painless experience, gentlemen. Iron sharpens iron through friction. There's a scraping away of metal. There's heat involved. There's banging the metal into a blade.
Men can sharpen each other by challenging one another, holding each other accountable and pointing out sin. Biblical fatherhood understands while this isn't painless, sharpening a man makes him more mature, gives him a closer relationship with God, and can keep him from stumbling.
Protip: Dads, take an evening this week and read through one chapter of Proverbs with your son. Stop at times to discuss some of the verses. Write down a favorite verse or two and be prepared to share them.
The Third "P" of Leadership: Prayer
In addition to reading the Bible, prayer is a major way to stay in tune with God about decisions as a leader. Jesus taught us how to pray. I know this because Matthew 6:9-13 says, “This, then, is how you should pray...":
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Here’s the cliff notes version of the above passage:
1. Worship – Tell God how great He is. Thank God for who He is and what He’s done for you.
2. Intercession – Interceding for others simply means asking God to exercise His power in the lives of other people.
3. Petition – Since God is our Father, He is our provider. He cares about all our needs, whatever they might be.
4. Repentance – Ask for forgiveness for your sins by admitting them and purposing in your heart (and with God’s help) not to continue committing them.
5. Guidance – Ask God to guide our steps and decisions going forward.
Protip: Pray with your son using the above steps.
Think this information is helpful? We cover this and way more in our Leading Lessons Guide.
You can walk your son or a group of dads and sons through these leadership topics:
- Why leaders make rules
- Leaders follow first
- Power > Leaders learn the art of being humbly influential
- Proverbs > Leaders are continually sharpened by wisdom
- Prayer > Leaders discover the mind of God
- Who wants to lead? Leaders must be shepherds
Ryan Sanders is the Director of Outreach at Manhood Journey. Ryan is married to Tonia and they have two daughters and one son. He lives in Reston, Virginia, serves at McLean Bible Church and is a diehard Washington Redskins fan. Learn more about Ryan here and find him on Twitter @RyanSanders.