When Leaders Lead…
20 years ago today, one of the greatest leaders to ever lace up skates, became a legend by speaking three simple words, “We’ll win tonight.”
Mark Messier, captain of the New York Rangers, made the guarantee to the NY media that his team would win game 6 of the 1994 Easter Conference finals against the New Jersey Devils to force game seven. Messier delivered, scoring a hat-trick and eventually leading his team to win the Stanley Cup.
He remains the only player in NHL history to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup championships. It’s no wonder the Leadership Award is named after him.
The Bible has much to say about leadership. It is full of examples of good, godly leadership as well as tragic demonstrations of poor leadership. (Having just just finished reading the books of 1 & 2 Kings, this fact couldn’t be more obvious!) It also gives practical guidance to those of who lead.
I’ve just moved to Camp ABK and feel again the weight of leadership as another camping season begins. I’d like to share five Bible verses about leadership that I’m letting guide me this summer:
1) Judges 5:2 – That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the Lord
I love the connection here between leaders leading and people willingly following.
2) Prov. 21:31 – The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.
I’m reminded that I have a job to do making the horse ready for the day of battle, but ultimately God gives the victory.
3) 1 Tim. 4:12 – Let know one despise you for your youth, but set the believers and example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
I started leading at a young age, so this verse is very confirming to me. More importantly it challenges me with the importance of the godly character a leader should have.
4) 1Chr. 12:32 -[The] men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do
I want to understand the times I live in so that I can know how to lead in this culture.
5) Mark 10:42-45 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Finally, from the greatest leader, I need this reminder of servant-leadership.
In his book, Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels prays that he would follow the godly examples of leaders in Scripture. These are my prayers too:
God, mold and shape me to my full leadership potential
Make me like David, so I can be a leader who inspires hope.
God, give me Jonathan’s capacity to love.
God, give me Joseph’s personal holiness.
God, give me Joshua’s decisiveness.
Oh God, give me Esther’s courage
Oh God, if you would just grant me a portion of Solomon’s wisdom.
God, give me the emotional authenticity of Jeremiah.
God, may I never forget how important parties are. Like Nehemiah help me remember to celebrate.
How much better if we would all pray for the initiative-taking boldness of Peter.
God give me Paul’s intensity
So, whether you’re the director of a summer camp, the captain of a hockey team, or a leader in your church/community, I hope you let Scripture motivate, challenge, guide and encourage you.
For the record…
If you want to relive Mark Messier’s guarantee and magical game, you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMBqmyi5LRM#t=190
I highly recommend Bill Hybels’ book Courageous Leadership.