This week at WNW we began a two-week discussion on leadership. We have 14 new 7th graders moving into youth next month! I want to take a couple of weeks to challenge our students in leading them, as well as each other, and those they are around all day each day of school. We began with a random discussion question. I asked the students if they could choose a cartoon character to be president of the United States, who would it be and why? There were some great answers including "Woody from Toy Story because he is wise" and "Olaf from Frozen because he is awesome" among a few others. We then discussed what are the qualities of a good leader and we came up with the following list: knows when to stop leading and begin to follow, humble, listens, sacrifices, responsible, truthful, confident without begin arrogant, respects others, thinks through their decisions, wise, knows how to handle stress. We discussed each of these and why they are necessary qualities in good leadership. I shared that all of us are leaders whether or not we want to be. People are always watching and we have an influence on others constantly. The main question is not whether or not you will be a leader, but instead is what type of leader will you be? We looked at the following two kings of Judah and compared how they led their people.
1) King Jehoram - 2 Chronicles 21:12-15
We know that Jehoram was the son of Jehosophat and grandson of Asa who were both known to be godly kings. However Jehoram was quite the opposite. He led like most of Israel's kings and led the nation to idolatry. He murdered many including his family. A leader like this had a major negative influence on his people. Judah followed in idol worship among other things. Verse 13 of this passage says that Jehoram's actions "have caused Judah" to follow suit. He lived an ungodly life and influenced his followers to live ungodly lives as well.
2) King Josiah - 2 Chronicles 34:31-33
We know that after many generations that Josiah was a king that had his eyes set on following God. He did many great things, including the reestablishment of celebrating the Passover. He made a covenant to follow God and made the people do the same. However it was his daily lifestyle that influence the people to follow God as well. He led Judah to a period of time where the people were seeking God because he lived a life of godly influence.
We then discussed the ways we can be leaders to the new students, as well as each other. The students shared about how they can make the new students feel welcome, but develop a relationship with them over time. We also discussed that being real is necessary. The students can't see one version of us at church and then see another version elsewhere. It is important to live godly at all times because they are watching whether it is at church, school, home, events, social media, etc. We closed with a time of prayer to commit to being a godly leader and asking God to lead us closer to Him first. I told the students that they can't lead anywhere to where they are not already at. While we have not reached perfection in our relationship with Christ, we are to continue to grow closer to Him in order to be able to lead others closer to Him.