The Leader First, the Mission Always


Before we can lead others, we have to lead ourselves.

Which of these images best communicates the essence of leadership, a window or a mirror? 

Many would choose the window. Leadership, they would say, is about vision, helping people to see what God desires for the church. Some would add that it includes pointing people in that direction.

At some point, leadership becomes both. But perhaps we could say that the beginning of leadership is best symbolized by a mirror because it begins with you examining yourself. Eventually, the mirror morphs into a window, through which you point people to Christ and His vision for your organization. But it doesn’t start there.

Before God opens for you a window to see where He is leading, He hands you a mirror to see yourself and what kind of leader you are. I don’t think I am far off base by saying that the person you will have the most difficulty leading is yourself. Before we can lead others, we have to lead ourselves.

When I look into that mirror, it forces me to clarify my motivations. Why do I want to lead? Am l attempting to lead for my own gain or is my focus on others and their benefit? How does Christ fit into that picture? Is my ultimate goal to please Him?

Now, don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t begin AND end with you. The end is the mission of your organization and ultimately the purpose for which every person is born, to bring honor and glory to God and His Son. Every particular of this created universe exists to point all attention and focus to the Creator, for whom and by whom all things were made (Colossians 1:6)

The mission must begin with the person. Here’s one way to say it: “You first, but the mission always.”

Written by Brett Selby

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