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28 July, 2017

The simplest way to identify the person in charge is by looking at a team structure. You go to the very top and see whose name is put above the rest. The one with the title: Boss, Coordinator, Director, Chief, Team Leader, and so on. You know what I mean. I knew that to the world, a good leader has vision, charisma, good management skills, and all that. But I used to think that for the most part, being in one of those positions mean that you assign jobs for other people and you help direct them do what they need to do. Or in other words, a leader is someone who tells you what to do.

I was dead wrong.

I have a dominant personality and I was raised brave and strong. And I love that. I love the fact that my parents taught me to have guts to do things, to be independent. This is one of the reasons why I’m often put in charge since I was small. In school project groups, in sporting activities and all that. Sometimes I wasn’t even named as the leader, but I automatically start to lead. Eventually, this is also evident in my ministries. You know how in ministry groups, there are people who are always in charge of certain departments? It’s like they have “worship”, “design”, “game master” and all that plastered on their heads.

For me, that label was “coordinator”.

From weekly youth services, to bible studies, to worship nights and youth conferences. Been there, done them all. And I have to say, I can see why people (and myself too) agree that this job fits me so well. But having coordinated so often, for many years now, has made me realized that my understanding of what a leader is was wrong all along. The assigning, directing and telling people what-what-not to do are such a small part of the process. A leader, I think, is someone who is willing to enlarge their capacity, to a point where they could support, encourage, mentor and serve their team members, so that everyone is put in the places that maximize their capacities, and together as a team move to achieve a common goal.

And I’m not just talking about capacities in terms of skills. But I’m talking about capacity in terms of generosity, wisdom, energy, effort, focus and so much more. I’m talking about capacities in patience that allows a true leader to not panic and be straight-up angry, when a team member comes up to tell them that they have miscalculated the food order, and now there’s not enough food. I’m talking about capacities of effort, where a true leader would put probably the most time to prepare for an event, and not worrying about being recognized for it. I’m talking about capacities of compassion and attentiveness, where a true leader would care a lot to the well-being of their team members. 

An enlarge of capacity, where the higher we go on the ladder, the more people we need to support, encourage, mentor and serve. The higher we go, the bigger the capacity. And big capacities mean more moulding, more pruning, more growing in all aspects of our character.

I think this is what it means to lead. And I think for all of us who are living a purposeful life, we are all called to be leaders in wherever we are put. This is why our capacities matter, and that we must always, constantly be willing to grow into better versions of ourselves.

Matthew 20: 25-26
But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.


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Written by
Levina Kusumadjaja

Levina Kusumadjaja is a writer, poet and teacher. She is passionate about Jesus, the youth and Engli . . . .

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